The History of Industrial Metal Flame Sprayers
During and after WWII, while in his early twenties, Foy Crabtree gained employment in the machine shop division of the
Naval shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia.
After moving to Durham, he worked for his father-in-law, A.B. Stone, at a small machine shop called Abstone Iron Works.
The working conditions were very poor and the hours were almost criminal. Then, one day in the late fifties just by pure chance Nick Nichols
from Borden Brick Company came to Abstone Iron Works and asked if they could make his core sleeves more wear resistant. Foy was aware of
some (new fangled) spray powder that could be fused to the parent material for that purpose and wanted to expand the business to include
that service. His father-in-law, however, could not see the “Big Picture” and would not invest in such “foolishness.” Push came to shove
and Mr. Crabtree just plainly asked him to sell the business. Mr. Stone, in his seventies by then, agreed. Mr. Crabtree acquired a loan
from Wachovia Bank to build a new building just up the street from the old one and Industrial Metal Flame Sprayers, Inc. was born.
For the next forty years with Foy Crabtree in the “Captain’s Chair”, IMFS expanded it’s product line in addition to the original
hard coated core sleeves, to include a host of wear resistant extrusion parts, including hard coated bridge assemblies (to fit all type dies),
ceramic core tips (a very popular item), chrome plated trimmer wires, tool steel velouring blades, flame sprayed slug cutter blades,
hard coated threaded core rods, carbide wire holder assemblies, flame sprayed sand box liners and more. In 1975, Basic Machinery Co. joined
forces with IMFS and became the sales representative. This partnership vastly improved the much-needed representation for IMFS which is now
represented all over the United States and Canada.
Upon his retirement, Foy’s son, Dwight (Lonnie), took the helm in January of 2001. Lonnie is a master machinist who by that time had
worked in both the machine shop and extrusion parts division for thirty-two years. His experience in these fields enables him to
design bridges and calculate voids and coring configurations for any brand of extrusion die.