Foundry Symbols and Trademarks

by Kurt Laughlin

It has been said that "amateur soldiers talk strategy while professionals talk logistics". In maintaining a truly global army such as that fielded by the United States during World War II (and today), it is essential that every supply item be tracked, coded, and cataloged. To do this, every item is assigned a "part number" that is used as the primary identifier of that item in lieu of a name. On parts of any size, these part numbers are stamped or formed into the piece itself allowing more or less permanent identification of that item, even after assembly into a airplane, tank, or ship. These numbers are very useful in determining whether two similar but not identical pieces are different designs or merely the normal variations between different manufacturers.

Armor steel castings receive a further level of identification. To perform properly, they must not only be of the correct size and shape but also of the correct chemical composition and processing sequence. This information is included along with the part number. Even today, the military specification governing armor steel castings states "To provide positive traceability and identification, the individual castings shall be marked with the following:

(a) Foundry's name or trademark
(b) MIL-C-24707
(c) Pattern or part number
(d) Heat number [identifies what batch of steel is used]
(e) Final heat treat lot number or equivalent traceable code" [identifies what sort of processing was done]
The foundry marks that appear on Sherman parts have long been a mystery to enthusiasts as they generally bore no relation to the final manufacturer of the tank. Through my experience working with foundries, I knew that either the Government or a trade association must have kept a listing of these symbols to allow identification and to avoid duplication. Searches of Government data were fruitless, so I turned to Our Friend The Internet. A search turned up the Steel Founder's Society of America, a casting trade group that was founded in 1902. An email to their researcher earned me a copy of their 1944 "Directory of Steel Foundries in the United Stares and Canada". With this document I was able to identify the foundries responsible for many of the parts on the Sherman from their symbols or company name.

The following table shows the symbols already found on various Sherman parts as well as all foundries listed in the 1944 directory as producing “Army”, “Ordnance”, or “War” castings.  Trademarks from these later groups may not have appeared on any Sherman part. In addition, I have included some symbols and information from the 1937 and 1946 editions of the directory.

Foundries sometimes used the initials of the company name as their identification when the part size would not allow their trademark to be cast clearly.
 
 
A Note on Drawing Numbers: There has been confusion in the past due to the appearance of a circled letter appearing before a known part number (figure 1).  Although this appears to be a foundry symbol, the fact is a little more mundane. 
Steve Zaloga passed on to me some copies of Ordnance Department drawings for Sherman parts.  I noticed that several had a large circle around the leading characters of the part numbers on the drawings, an unusual drafting practice (figure 2).  While doing some research recently, I came across a Military Specification from 1950 that contained the following text:
3.6.1        Ordnance part numbers. – Unless otherwise specified, each finished component shall be clearly and legibly marked by a permanent Ordnance part number.  [. . .] The part number will be shown on the part drawing after the name of the part and with the first letter or figure encircled in a 0.45-inch circle.  The 0.45-inch circle identifies but is not part of the part number and shall not be included in the marking.
So, it appears that the circled letter sometimes seen was simply a case of the foundry following an instruction to “mark with the part number shown on the drawing” a little too literally.  Also, it seems that this mistake was quite common – common enough for the Ordnance Department to specifically warn against it!
A Note on Multiple Symbols: Frequently two symbols that are identifiable as belonging to distinct foundries may be seen on the same part (figure 3).  It was not uncommon for a company, when pressed to complete orders, to subcontract some of their work to another company in order to deliver on schedule.  Evidence suggests that the requirements in effect at the time led to the inclusion of both company’s trademarks or symbols to be placed on the part.

 
 

Foundry Symbols and Trademarks
Trademark Foundry Found on Notes
D7XXXXXX or 7XXXXXX, for example 7054366
(Click here for picture)
All All Late and post-war Ordnance Department part number. “D” was the paper sheet sizes of the drawings for that part and was seen less often as time went on.
CXXXXX, DXXXXX, or EXXXX, for example C95129, D50878, or E1232 All All Pre- to Mid-war Ordnance Department part number. “C”,  “D”, and “E” were the paper sheet sizes of the drawings for that part.
ARSS
American Radiator and Standard Sanitary Corporation of Buffalo, New York Small armor
Bogies
Company initials 'ARSS' seem to be used in preference to trademark.
American Steel Newark.JPG American Steel Castings Company, Newark, New Jersey Small non-armor Owned by American Steel Foundries, hence the octagon
American Steel Foundries Alliance (Ohio) Works
American Steel Foundries Cast Armor Plant, East Chicago, Indiana Large armor
American Steel Foundries East St. Louis ( Illinois) Works Large armor
American Steel Foundries Granite City (Illinois) Works Large armor
American Steel Indiana.JPG American Steel Foundries Indiana Harbor Works, East Chicago, Indiana Bogies, small armor, small non-armor
Auto Specialties Manufacturing Company, St. Joseph, Michigan
Buckeye Steel Castings Company, Columbus, Ohio
Columbia Steel Company, Pittsburg and Torrance, California Large armor

Continental Foundry & Machine Company, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania Large armor
Bogies
This plant was originally the Duquesne Steel Foundry, hence the “D”.  Around 1945 the “D” was replaced with a “P” (Coraopolis is near Pittsburgh).

Continental Foundry & Machine Company, East Chicago, Indiana Large armor This plant was originally the Hubbard Steel Foundry, hence the “H”.  Around 1945 the “H” was replaced with a “C”.
Continental Foundry & Machine Company, Wheeling, West Virginia Large armor
Eastern Malleable Iron Company, Wilmington, Delaware
Enterprise Engine & Foundry Company, San Francisco, California
Falk Corporation, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Farrell-Cheek Steel Company, Sandusky, Ohio Small non-armor
FISHER
Fisher Tank Division of General Motors Corporation, Detroit, Michigan Small armor
F
Fort Pitt Steel Casting Company, McKeesport, Pennsylvania
General Steel Castings Corporation, Eddystone, Pennsylvania and Granite City, Illinois Large armor
  Hanford Foundry Company, San Bernadino, California
Hartford Electric Steel Corporation, Hartford, Connecticut
Kincaid-Osburn Electric Steel Co., Inc., San Antonio, Texas
Lakey Foundry & Machine Company, Muskegon, Michigan
Lebanon Steel Foundry, Lebanon, Pennsylvania Large armor
Michigan Steel Casting Company, Detroit, Michigan Sprocket hubs
Mountain State Steel Foundries, Parkersburg, West Virginia
National Malleable and Steel Castings Company, Cicero, Illinois Bogies
National Malleable and Steel Castings Company, Cleveland, Ohio
National Malleable and Steel Castings Company, Melrose Park, Illinois Bogies
National Malleable and Steel Castings Company, Sharon, Pennsylvania Bogies
Ohio Steel Foundry Company, Lima, Ohio Small non-armor
Omaha Steel Works, Omaha, Nebraska
OSF
Ordnance Steel Foundry Company, Bettendorf, Iowa Bogies
Pittsburgh Steel Foundry Corporation, Glassport, Pennsylvania Large armor Also 
PSF
Pratt & Letchworth Company, Inc., Buffalo, New York Small armor
Rogers Iron Works Company, Joplin, Missouri
Roxbury Steel Casting Company, Boston, Massachusetts A subsidiary of Hartford Electric Steel Corporation, may use same trademark
Sivyer Steel Casting Company, Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin Small armor
 [Standard Steel.jpg] Standard Steel Works Division of The Baldwin Locomotive Works, Burnham, Pennsylvania
Symington-Gould Corporation, Depew, New York
Symington-Gould Corporation, Rochester, New York Large and small armor
Texas Electric Steel Company, Houston Texas
Union Steel Castings, A division of Blaw-Knox Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Large armor
Unitcast Corporation, Toledo, Ohio Small non-armor
Western Alloyed Steel Casting Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Diamond A.jpg Unknown Bogies
Unknown Small non-armor
Unknown Bogies
CTC
The Travelcar Corporation, Detroit, Michigan Large armor In the style of monograms, the company’s initials are TCC, which was also the assigned Ordnance Department manufacturer’s symbol.
GAD
Unknown Bogies
HYL
Unknown Bogies
Unknown Bogies
LOL
Unknown Small non-armor
MNMO
Unknown Bogies - HVSS Possibly designates a manganese molybdenum (Mn-Mo) steel casting
MT
Unknown Bogies
OKM
Unknown Small armor Possibly a division of Inland Steel
Unknown Large armor
Unknown Large armor
Unknown Large armor
W Oval Bar.JPG Unknown Small non-armor
X Shield B297675.JPG
Unknown Small armor
Small non-armor
BU
N/A Believed to be a mark indicating a particular type of heat treatment
HT
(Click here for picture)
N/A Almost certainly a mark indicating a particular type of heat treatment
LO
N/A Believed to be a mark indicating a particular type of heat treatment
SER
(Click here for picture)
N/A Any armor The number stamped on the adjacent pad is the serial number of the casting
N/A Any This part has the “E” of the part number enclosed in a circle.  This is not a foundry trademark but simply a part number variation.  It appears on parts from several foundries.  Note the Union Steel Castings trademark after the part number, the serial number of the casting, and the “BU” symbol.


Sources:


Note: this page is under continuing review.
Please contact me if you can add to and/or correct the information on this page.

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Page created: 28-03-2000
Last update: 26-07-2000

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