12 April, 2024

Macsteel: 120 Years of Reinvention

Steel — one of man’s greatest inventions — is designed to stand the test of time. The power of steel lies in the coming together of two or more strong elements to create an even stronger substance.

With a history and legacy spanning 120 years, Macsteel embodies the steel it sells: long-lasting, innovative and shaped by collaboration.

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The Age of Reinvention

The 20th century was a time of invention and reinvention — and steel was imperative to the innovation associated with this era. It’s fitting that Macsteel’s legacy begins at the start of this century, in 1904.

Macsteel’s story started with a company called S. Machanik & Co. — which specialised in wire fencing, and the National Trading Company — maize and wheat traders. This unlikely pairing foreshadowed Macsteel’s journey of collaboration.

Steel was in high demand as development boomed in the early 1900s — railroads, bridges, factories and automobiles necessitated steel production. In 1915, the First World War saw steel companies pivot to creating shoes, helmets, weapons, etc. Steel and iron would continue to shape our world in ways we’d not yet imagined — creating the canvas for a century of innovation.

Merging its Way to Greatness

Like steel, Macsteel is an alloy — its strength lies in the merging of multiple companies. Macsteel has been smelted down and reinvented many times before taking the shape that has come to define strength and steel in South Africa.

Entering the steel market in 1950 under the name Pan Africa Staalhandel and founded by Dave Samson, Macsteel initially primarily sold fencing. Dave Samson’s son, Eric, joined the company eight years later and began running it in 1962.

1965 saw Macsteel’s first significant merger when Pan Africa Staalhandel merged with S. Machanik & Co. — strengthening both companies tenfold.

The Art of Innovation

With the merging of these companies came unbridled innovation, transforming from a fencing agency to a multinational process and steel trader, achieved by steel stockholding and merchandising.

The 1970s was a decade of development — Macsteel finally took on its iconic name, with the ‘Mac’ being a nod to ‘Machanik’. This decade also saw Macsteel branch out of the South African market, selling to neighbouring countries and expanding its footprint.

The 1980s continued this knack for innovation — this was the decade of acquisitions. Macsteel acquired and merged with six more companies by 1990.

https://macsteel.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/press-releases-macsteel-120-years-2.jpg
https://macsteel.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/press-releases-macsteel-120-years-2.jpg

The Art of Innovation

With the merging of these companies came unbridled innovation, transforming from a fencing agency to a multinational process and steel trader, achieved by steel stockholding and merchandising.

The 1970s was a decade of development — Macsteel finally took on its iconic name, with the ‘Mac’ being a nod to ‘Machanik’. This decade also saw Macsteel branch out of the South African market, selling to neighbouring countries and expanding its footprint.

The 1980s continued this knack for innovation — this was the decade of acquisitions. Macsteel acquired and merged with six more companies by 1990.

https://macsteel.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/press-releases-macsteel-120-years-2.jpg
https://macsteel.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/press-releases-macsteel-120-years-3.jpg

Change Sweeps the Nation

With the dawn of democracy came growth and development for South Africa — and for Macsteel. The 1990s saw Macsteel strengthening its place in the global market with the announcement of Macsteel International Holdings B.V.

As we welcomed a new millennium, Macsteel continued this upward trajectory, acquiring many more companies internationally and growing its global footprint.

Change Sweeps the Nation

With the dawn of democracy came growth and development for South Africa — and for Macsteel. The 1990s saw Macsteel strengthening its place in the global market with the announcement of Macsteel International Holdings B.V.

As we welcomed a new millennium, Macsteel continued this upward trajectory, acquiring many more companies internationally and growing its global footprint.

https://macsteel.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/press-releases-macsteel-120-years-3.jpg
https://macsteel.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/press-releases-macsteel-120-years-4.jpg
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With Innovation Comes Strength

Macsteel focused much of its resources on technological innovation but also growing its footprint by continuing to acquire companies that strengthened its industry prowess. Macsteel has always kept up with the times, entering the world of e-commerce in 2019 and strengthening its digital communications with the global shutdown during 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic.

The passing of Macsteel’s much-loved founder and chairman, Eric Samson, in 2021 made that a sad year for Macsteel. Eric’s legacy of innovation will continue to shape Macsteel for another 120 years.

Steel: Our Past and Our Future

From humble beginnings, Macsteel has snowballed into something of a steel giant in just over a century. Forged by innovation, smelting many strong companies into one even stronger alloy, Macsteel’s 120-year legacy embodies its motto: Pursuing Reinvention.

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