Formidable Centennial

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Milwaukee-based Metal Forms Corp. (MFC), today a leading formwork and concrete finishing machine manufacturer.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Milwaukee-based Metal Forms Corp. (MFC), today a leading formwork and concrete finishing machine manufacturer. Starting as a supplier of concrete forms in 1909, MFC was the first company to successfully design and fabricate a steel form for concrete home and building construction. More than 40 U.S. and foreign patents and nine registered U.S. and Canadian trademarks later, the manufacturer stands as a concrete building technology innovator.

As part of its centennial celebration, Metal Forms Corp. is holding a contest to uncover the oldest MFC paving form. Entries will be judged on authenticity and details verifying either the oldest MFC paving form extant or the oldest and longest continual in use MFC paving form. Grand prize is two round-trip tickets to Milwaukee, two nights’ lodging, a Brewers’ game, and a night on the town with the Metal Forms crew. Five second-place winners will receive Bose headphones, and five third-place prizes also will also be awarded. All entrants will receive a 100th Anniversary Mel Momento. Entry forms, available at, are to be submitted by the contest’s Sept. 1, 2009, deadline.


A review of the 100-year history of Metal Forms Corp. reveals a series of landmark developments:

  • In 1910, the company produced wall forms used to build hundreds of concrete homes inspired by inventor Thomas Edison, who in 1908 developed formwork and machinery for monolithically casting two- and three-level houses.
  • The early 1900s saw the design of a paving form able to support heavy paving machines of that time. The first such machine was designed by Philip Koehring, cofounder of the Koehring Co. and brother-in-law of MFC stock holder G.H. Miller, the first-generation Miller at Metal Forms.
  • During the depression, the company increased its sales volume: MFC’s work week was raised to 55 hours, and business was up 30 percent in 1930 and an additional 20 percent in 1931. Construction of public buildings and roads was key to the manufacturer’s strong business amidst the financial woes of many during the depression years.
  • In 1936, MFC steel forms were used to build the innovative dendriform concrete columns designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Racine, Wis., headquarters of S.C. Johnson & Son.
  • In 1956, President Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System initiative spurred a concrete paving boom, prompting MFC’s redesign of paving forms to provide an improved product to meet growing demand. The product was inspired by Harold E. Miller, the second-generation Miller at Metal Forms Corp.
  • In the 1980s, MFC entered the industry’s equipment market sector with the addition of concrete finishing machines to its product line. Today, the company has five screed models.
  • At the 2007 World of Concrete, MFC won a Most Innovative Product Award for its Xtra Flex Radius plastic formwork. Also unveiled among pioneer plastic offerings was MFC’s Poly Meta Forms. The introduction of plastic forms and finishing equipment was effected under the direction of Thomas E. Miller, the third-generation Miller at MFC and the firm’s current owner and president.
  • In November 2008, MFC launched a steel sculpture division, Meta Art sculptures. Using the company’s scrap steel, the metal sculptures are crafted at the shop and powder coated to creating magnificent, environmentally friendly wildlife replicas. More information on Meta Art sculptures is available at