Weldstar Company was originally formed in 1936 and then incorporated as the James F. Paterson Company in 1948. In 1962, the company was purchased by James G. Shennan, who changed the name to Weldmaster Company. However, by the end of 1963, the company had rebranded to Weldstar Company, which it remains today.

When Weldstar was founded, the owners and employees have made the commitment to providing the very best customer service and most well-trained staff in the industry. From warehouse workers, office staff, and drivers – all Weldstar employees learn the basics of welding as part of required new hire training. All technical reps have continuous training and are considered excellent welders. That philosophy has carried through 85 years and still remains a core tenet of Weldstar’s success to this day.

“Our customers are not dependent on us,” says Joe Winkle, COO and Owner. “We are dependent on them. We continue to provide service that is unequaled in our industry. Our employee’s knowledge and customer service are supported by their experience in the industry. The average length of employment at Weldstar is 13.5 years. From our route drivers, certified weld inspectors, technical reps and office staff; our team is at the heart of our success.”

In 1969, John Winkle joined the company and eventually became president. John’s sons, JB, Joe and Matt took over the company in 2005 and have continued to grow the company ever since.

In 2018, Weldstar merged with Depke Gases and Welding Supplies combining Weldstar’s four locations with Depke’s three locations. In 2019, the company opened its newest location in Kenosha, Wisconsin – taking its current location count to 9. The combined workforce is currently 100 employees.

“Weldstar has the foresight to lead the way in the industry. We represent both the best, well-known manufacturers in the industry but also enhance our line card with the newest, cutting-edge products from unestablished or upcoming companies,” says Winkle. “With the addition of Depke Gases and Welding Supplies and our newest location in Kenosha, we can now offer our superior products and unparalleled service and

support to both new and existing customers in the central Illinois and Southern Wisconsin region. With our existing locations in Northern Illinois, Northern and Central Indiana and Southern Michigan, Weldstar has solidified its presence as the largest independent distributor of welding, gas and safety products in the Midwest.”

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