In 1946, at 190 Union Avenue, Paterson, NJ, a company called the STAR Stainless Steel Polishing Co. began. It was started by Bernard Golden who didn’t know the first thing about polishing steel or even about screws. In the original plan, Bernie had a partner, and it was the partner who knew something about polishing. But before the doors opened for business, the two partners split up, and Bernie had a choice to make: lose the deposit on the machine that was on order for polishing steel or pay the rest of the money and start the business. He paid the money, the machine got delivered to an old garage a few miles from where STAR is headquartered today, but the machine didn’t work. A mechanic traveled from St. Louis and stayed at Bernie’s home for a few weeks until the equipment worked, and then all Bernie had left to do was get orders. Bernie claimed that nothing in business ever worried him as much as this initial experience to cover rent and payroll for a few employees, especially with having no orders and a machine that didn’t work.
The first company polished sheets of stainless steel for the steel mills. In 1950, with a few bags of screws in the locker room where the employees of the polishing company changed clothes, the STAR Stainless Screw Co. was founded. At the time, demand for stainless steel screws was small, and Bernie never thought the screw company would grow much. The stainless screw industry was dominated by a few companies, and STAR would buy from them and sell screws wherever it could.
STAR was proud in 1954 to move from the old garage to a new building in Totowa, NJ.
STAR Stainless Screw Co. grew slowly during the 1950’s. It was a guppy in a world of sharks. And then in 1961, a disaster happened. At ten in the morning while everyone was at work, a spark flew off the polishing machine; hit some flammable powders used for polishing, and a fire spread throughout the building. STAR had no sprinkler system, and the Totowa fire department had little water pressure. The whole building went; the roof and walls collapsed, and the Polishing Co. and Screw Co. were out of business. With all our employees Bernie started over again. He felt an obligation to our employees and customers. It was our objective then, as it is now, to provide secure jobs for our people. The Polishing Co. could not be restarted, since it would have taken a year or two to get delivery on new machines. So all efforts were finally put into STAR Stainless Screw Co. We were careful to retain our polishing employees on new jobs with the screw company.
Bernard Golden passed away in 1980. STAR’s dedication and values within the industry were continued by his son Wayne, who took over as company president. In 1998, 37 years after the fire; STAR still had employees who were originally involved in polishing stainless sheets.
The history of STAR has continued, and will always remain at the heart of the company.