With its machinery still operating at full tilt, Martin Iron Works is one of the industrial pillars of East 4th Street. This is the second location for the business, which was founded by Martin Schwamb in 1939, just around the corner at 300 Morrill Avenue.
Schwamb had learned the ornamental iron trade in his native Germany, and moved to Reno from Syracuse, New York in 1936. The site at 530 E. 4th Street was developed into a large manufacturing plant first by the Wagner Tank and Manufacturing Company, which had purchased the buildings and machinery of the Provo Foundry and Machinery Company of Provo, Utah in 1944, dismantled them, and reassembled them in their shop. The company was dedicated to the construction of oil tanks, truck bodies, ornamental iron work, and other steel fabrication, for Nevada’s war industries and post-war program.
The site became available after Wagner went out of business in 1950. At that point, Martin Iron Works acquired the property and began to remodel it, moving in sometime in the next year or two. Martin's son, Fred, worked for his father as an estimator, in an office on the second floor that housed detailing and accounting.
A devastating fire in 1962 burned the entire roof off the original A-frame shop building, requiring a complete rebuild of that portion.
Martin Schwamb passed away in 1972, and Bill Granata succeeded him as President. In 1989, the position passed to Piero Bullentini, who had begun his career with Martin Iron Works in 1956, at the young age of 18 as a shop helper and gradually worked his way up through the shop by mastering each aspect of the industry. Today, Piero still serves as President, with his children Mario and Patricia, and Bill Granata’s son, Ronald, managing various aspects of the operation.