WAW Building-1-1WA Wilson, founded in 1841, is celebrating its 175th year in business this year. The company celebrated with an event at its plant in Wheeling, W.Va., on July 1.

The current company is led by Robert H. Hartong II, who took the over the business from his father in 2002. The Hartong family took ownership interest in 1974.

“My father oversaw a lot of changes with the business,” says Robert Hartong. “He actually started with the company in 1968 before buying into it a few years later. He made so many moves that set us on the steady path and was not afraid to try new products and services.”

Some of those changes included the purchase of Wheeling Glass, which propelled WA Wilson headlong into the flat glass industry, and the acquisition of Star*Lite Insulating Glass, which expanded WA Wilson’s glass offerings.

“We were in other aspects of glass such as auto glass and we also had a pretty healthy paint division, too. But as time went on, we saw that our growth and potential really was in the flat glass business, so we made the commitment to be a leader in that area,” Hartong says.

The company expanded its plant in 2008 by 30,000 square feet and put in new tempering furnace and spandrel line.

In 2011, Steve Perilstein bought stock in the company and also was named executive vice president

“My company and WA Wilson always had various interactions over the years,” says Perilstein. “I had tremendous respect for the Hartongs and when the opportunity arose for me to become a part of the ownership of such an amazing company, I jumped at it.”

WA Wilson now has 93 employees.