A Company is Founded
The ESCO story began as the dream of Portland, Oregon industrialist C.F. Swigert. An executive with the Pacific Bridge Company, director of one of the city’s major streetcar lines, and president of the Port of Portland Commission, Swigert was deeply involved in the development of the “Rose City.” At the turn of the century, he saw the need for a local source of steel castings—for his own businesses, the growing wood products industry, and others. During a trip to Europe, Swigert took particular interest in the French technological innovation: an efficient melting furnace powered by electricity rather than coke or coal.
Returning to Portland, C.F. Swigert founded the Electric Steel Foundry Company on July 13, 1913. The imported electric furnace—first of its kind in the western United States—would be the centerpiece of the small jobbing foundry. The site purchased for the business was on land recently used for the Lewis & Clark Exposition—the 1902 “World's Fair.”