Reliable Plating Works Turns 90 Years Old

Julian Maliszewski bought into Reliable Plating Works in 1929 as a 25-year-old accountant, and the five-employee plant did everything by hand, and also did multiple finishes.


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Reliable Plating Works in Milwaukee is turning 90 years old this year, and has been owned by the Maliszewski family since 1929.

From Reliable Plating Works:

Julian Maliszewski bought into Reliable Plating Works (RPW) in 1929 as a 25-year-old accountant.  The five-employee plant did everything by hand, and also did multiple finishes. As the plant grew (doing everything from nickel and chrome to cadmium, copper and zinc), Julian gained more and more shares of the company. 

In the early 1950s, his son, John, started working at the age of 12, and learned all aspects of the company. In 1967, Julian and John fought constantly about getting automation into the plant. John, being young, wanted all the new items. Julian, coming from the Depression, felt you did not buy anything with credit, you bought with cash. 

Finally, Julian became so fed up with John’s constant arguing that he said, “Fine, if you pay for the machine, I will build the building for it.” John had already worked out a deal with the machine manufacturer to finance the machine, but needed a way to pay for it. So he had one more request from his father. The shop was doing everything by hand and was only managing about 80-100 racks per day, so he asked his dad if he could get $.10 per rack produced on the new machine, to cover the cost of the machine. Julian figured the kid couldn’tpossibly afford the machine on $10 per day, so he agreed. John quickly said, “Great, you have six months to build the building as the machine will be here in sevenmonths.” 

What Julian did not know wasthat the machine would do 80 racks per hour and that his son, (whowas getting paid $1.75 per hour), was now going to be getting an additional $8 per hour to pay for his machine. John took full ownership of RPW in 1977 after his father’s death.

John’s three sons joined the business in similar fashion, all starting work at the age of 12 to learn all aspects of the company. In 1998, the sons (Jack, Jaime, and Jeff) bought the company from John, and in September of 2001 (right about the time of 9/11) they started Elite Finishing LLC. This is why we say, “Our family might not be the smartest, but we sure are durable and can take a punch.” Just as Julian made it through the depression, the grandsons made it through the recession after 9/11 and again in 2012. 

By continuing to stay up-to-date with the most automated ways of processing parts, theylike to think theylook really good for a 90-year-old company.  They have a fourth-generation family working in the business, and they plan on being around for another 90 years. RPW says they owe it all to theircustomers, employees and suppliers. They have a customer that has been with themsince 1929, a supplier that is still with themsince 1949, and several employees who have been with themfor more than 40 years.

Visit rpwinc.net

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