In 1909 John Bernard Klein founded the J. B. Klein Iron and Foundry Company in Oklahoma City. The company advertised foundry work of all types, including ornamental iron, brass work, wire, stairs, railings, fire escapes, and construction products. By the time Klein died in 1925, the company had begun to specialize in steel works for bridges, buildings, and roads. A significant number of Oklahoma’s early bridges were constructed by Klein’s company. After 1925 this work was continued by the firm’s general manager, Richard W. Robberson, who eventually bought the company. During World War II, J. B. Klein Iron and Foundry Company received a $1.2 million federal contract to furnish steel for the industrial buildings to be constructed at the Midwest City Douglas Aircraft Company plant. In 1942 the firm’s name was changed to Robberson Steel and Bridge Company. Originally located at 1535 Northwest Fifth Street, the establishment was later moved to 1401 Northwest Third Street and eventually to 1000 1024 Northwest Second Street. The company continued to operate as a steel fabrication firm until it was dissolved on December 15, 1988, after a lengthy bankruptcy process. In 1988 Robberson Steel employed approximately one hundred fifty individuals.
Updated May 2009