The history of this foundry, which was the oldest malleable iron company in continuous operation in the United States for many years, was inseparable from that of the small town of Westmoreland, where neighbors and workers kept time by the foundry bell. The firm was founded as Oakhill Malleable Iron Company in 1833 and was established under its present name in Westmoreland in 1850. Erastus W. Clark, who along with his brother-in-law Abel Buell brought the foundry to Westmoreland, ran the ironworks until 1871 and was the first of six generations who still own and manage it.
This is one of the earliest US foundry-machine shops remaining in operation and one of the few water powered. It was founded by Samuel N. Knight (1838-1913) to manufacture machinery for the gold mines of the Mother Lode region. Knight was one of several inventors experimenting with impulse turbines to exploit the area's abundant high-head water power for driving hoists, ore stamps, and other mining machinery.