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Welding together: Marano Iron Works a family affair
By: CARL ROTENBERG, Times Herald StaffOriginally Published April 16, 2003
NORRISTOWN - Two brothers of Italian heritage have made a steel fabrication shop into a local success.
Ferruccio and Ralph Marano have been running Marano Iron Works since Ferruccio Marano purchased the Norristown-based Philip Welding in 1976. The latter, the older of the brothers, learned welding and iron work at the Center for Technical Studies in Plymouth.




The first shop, then called Marano Welding, was initially located at 648 E. Airy St. It then moved to 652 E. Airy St. in the late 1970s, and to 220 Mill St., off Main Street, in 2000.
The 25-foot-by-75-foot shop is filled with raw steel stock, painted black steel railings for outdoor stairways and arc welding equipment.
"The quality of our work is what keeps us in business," said Ralph Marano. "We don't do any advertising or soliciting."
In 1981, the company built two sets of steel gates for the filming of the movie "Taps," which used the grounds of the Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne. Marano also installed a steel bar below a truck bumper in order to break a fire hydrant in a scene for the action movie, which starred George C. Scott, Tom Cruise and Timothy Hutton.
The fabrication shop specializes in steel railings, steel stairs and signposts, and also performs general work. Commercial construction projects and steel railings for homes provide the bread-and-butter contracts for the business.
Three years ago, the Marano brothers made the steel beams, columns and steel stairs for the Bridgeport Borough Hall addition and renovation. The contract totaled $35,000.
At the beginning of this year, the shop made the steel beams, columns and steel roof joists for a 40-foot-by-60-foot addition at the Stroehmann Bakers Inc. facility in Plymouth. That contract totaled $30,000.
The four-person company also recently completed a $70,000 project for the structural steel, metal roof joists and metal roof decking for an SDS Tire store in East Norriton.
The Marano brothers emigrated from Montella, Italy, in 1962 with their parents, Alberto and Clelia Marano, and two older brothers, Italo and Franco. The family settled on the 500 block of East Main Street.
Alberto Marano, an arborist and laborer in Italy, found work at Kaiser Aluminum in Plymouth in the 1960s and 1970s.

Ferruccio Marano graduated from Norristown Area High School in 1974.
Ralph Marano also graduated from the high school, in 1975,

and earned an accounting degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1979. He worked at Shared Medical Systems as an accounting assistant and product specialist for five years before joining Ferruccio in the family business in 1985.

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