The Halmar Story

Harold Francis Barrens was born in 1921 in Cave City, Kentucky. Inspired by his father’s career as a railroad engineer and substantial time spent in the machine shop of a mentor, Hal’s love for all things mechanical was forged.

Upon graduation from high school, and like so many young men of our Greatest Generation, Hal enlisted in the Navy immediately after Pearl Harbor. Hal served his country proudly by putting his mechanical know-how to work at a Naval Repair Station on a tiny island in the South Pacific called New Caledonia.

After completing his military service, Hal was honorably discharged in 1945. He returned to Louisville, and worked as a salesman and machinist. Five years later, Hal founded Halmar Corporation with a good friend, Martin Weber.

The year was 1950 and Halmar was making its mark as a valve sales company. An industrial boiler line was added shortly after. Hal became the sole owner of Halmar and saw that manufacturing parts himself was more profitable than selling someone else’s parts. He began to machine burner components and manufacture refractory and insulation in the basement of his home.

Since day one, a guiding principle of the company was that every item can be improved upon. A lifelong-learner, Hal solicited input from service technicians in the field to ensure that Halmar products reflected current technology and outstanding quality. He eventually expanded the manufacturing to include a wide variety of industrial boiler components, including parts for Cleaver-Brooks and Orr & Sembower.

Today, we continue to partner with industry leading suppliers based in the United States to ensure Hal’s original commitment to quality endures.

Hal oversaw the tremendous growth of his company for more than 55 years. However, in all of his success, his proudest accomplishment was turning the business over to his son, Mark, who is now President of Halmar. Mark continues his father’s legacy with strong commitment to family, hard work, and quality.