Posted Online: Feb. 05, 2013, 10:49 am

Boyler's continues a family tradition in metalwork

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By Elena Peña

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Mizener
Bruce Boyler prepares a steel rod for shaping by heating it in the forge at Boyler's Ornamental Iron in this 2003 photo.
The business that got its start in 1902 as Boyler's Blacksmith Shop on what is now the corner of 11th Street and Jersey Ridge Road in the Village of East Davenport today is a household name when it comes to the classic look of ornamental iron and metal work.

Frank Boyler, who later would serve as mayor of East Davenport, was 20 when he founded his company, which offered horseshoeing and general blacksmith services. The business occupied the first floor of his building, and he lived upstairs. He also had a rooming house above the growing business that later expanded into the production of wagons and buggies.

As the need for blacksmiths decreased and the advent of electricity changed businesses, Boyler's Blacksmith Shop began making ornamental iron railings for homes and businesses.

Today, Boyler's Ornamental Iron Inc. is in its third generation of operation. Brothers Bruce, Doug and Mike Boyler continue to carry on the tradition of iron/metal work here in the Quad-Cities. The company offers commercial and industrial steel stairways, spiral stairways, security doors, and custom steel fabrication.

""My grandfather had a love for metal," said Bruce Boyler. "We continue with the tradition. We have the expertise from all the years of experience."

He said the employees and owners are all craftsmen, not just welders. "We think old school," he said. "Everything is handmade and forged like the way it was done over 100 years ago."

This family business outgrew its location on 11th Street and Jersey Ridge in the '70s. The company expanded its selection and moved to a showroom and shop at 4407 State St. in Bettendorf.

Although the tradition and craftsmanship is the same as it always was, trends and styles have changed. For example, customers can select the look of a beautiful iron railing for outdoors, but have it made out of powder-coated aluminum to help it withstand the elements.

"Boyler's is known for the beauty of iron, but as years go by, customers look for maintenance-free products," Mr. Boyler said. "The beauty of our products can be enjoyed for years to come."

And although modern looks continue to change, Mr. Boyler said quality is always in the forefront. "We have survived in the industry for years," he said. "We stand behind what we make."

When an order is placed for metal work or a product, it is custom made and tailored to the customer's business or home needs. The staff at Boyler's works with architects, contractors and designers to first create a product on a computer system called AutoCAD. The system provides clear and concise design options for the customer to choose from that can be visualized in their home in 3-D and 2-D.

Customers vary in preference of metals. Boyler's offers products in iron, steel, aluminum, stainless steel, bronze and copper.

"Everything is individually designed and fabricated to fit the home or business," Mr. Boyler said. "And we make sure that it is to the highest standards in the industry."

Mr. Boyler emphasized that customers come as far away as 150 miles or more to look at the products offered. "We are one of a kind," he said. "We can do a step rail for a mom-and-pop existing house, or take on a huge commercial job. We aim to please big or small."

Mr. Boyler said the tradition of the company will carry into the next generation. His son Stephen and son-in-law Chris Howard will continue with the specialized service of ornamental metal products.

"Looks will change, and our products will change with the times, but customers can still count on a tradition of service and quality made from our craftsmen and the unsurpassed quality of metals," he said. "And that is what we are known for today and for the century to come."

For more information, call (563) 355-3709, fax (563) 355-1721, or visit