Several companies existed prior to the present day Boland Marine and Industrial LLC. The original was Boland & Gschwind, established in 1866 by Joseph K Boland. Mr. Boland invented the “Boland Cane Chain Sling”, which became a popular tool in the sugar industry. Boland & Gschwind was initially a chain manufacturing facility that serviced agricultural industries with handling and irrigation equipment. The company did business across the South, Midwest, Puerto Rico and Cuba. Owners Joseph K Boland and Edward Gschwind, along with their General Manager Harry Ivens, as inventors, also designed and manufactured steam driven pump systems. This company thrived into the early 1900’s. In approximately 1906 Joseph K Boland bought out his partners and renamed the company Boland Machine and Manufacturing Co.
The company continued to serve the agricultural industry, but the sugar industry went into a slump and with the start of the Great Depression, the company fell on hard times. In 1923, the company’s 26 year old accountant J. Edgar Monroe, bought it from JK Boland. With a significant machine shop and New Orleans being one of the nation’s largest ports of the era, J. Edgar Monroe redirected the company’s interests towards ship repair.
After WWI, the Mississippi River was one of the locations for the Navy’s laid up fleet. During the late 1930’s with fear of a looming war in Europe, the United States Government started refurbishing and activating these vessels. Boland Machine and Manufacturing Co. became one of the prime contractors to do this. Leading up to and during WWII Boland Machine and Manufacturing’s, marine operations were ramped-up to employ as many as 1500 men. Boland Machine and Manufacturing converted, upgraded and armored US Navy and commercial ships for wartime demands. Boland Machine and Manufacturing also facilitated quick repair turnaround for vessels servicing the war efforts. Boland Machine and Manufacturing Co. continued operations until 1971.
In 1971, J. Edgar Monroe sold the company to an employee group lead by Joseph Ruppel. Mr. Ruppel started with Boland Machine as a machinist in 1942 and had been its President since 1969. The new company was named Boland “Marine” and Manufacturing Co. (BMM) BMM’s growth continued through the late 1970’s with employment peaking at approximately 1800 men. In the early 1980’s, the Government repealed US shipping subsidies, causing the demise of American shipping, along with BMM’s work load. By 1984 the company’s work load was 5% of what it once was. In years following, it reorganized and consolidated ownership primarily to Mr. Ruppel. It continued marine services and industrial operations on a much small scale under “Mr. Joe’s” ownership until 2006.
In 2004, Boland Marine and Industrial LLC was formed by new investors that purchase BMM’s assets, a process completed in 2008.
Since 2008, the new owners and Boland Marine and Industrial LLC have reinvested in infrastructure and machinery to better service the maritime and industrial needs of our customers. We hope to honor the past company’s histories, and with help of our valued employees and customers, write some of our own.