Written by: Brad Rhen | Reading Eagle

First things first: Bally Block Co. does not make cement blocks.

The eastern Berks County manufacturing company makes wood products with butcher block, which is strips of hardwood glued together.

“A lot of people think we manufacture cinder (cement) blocks here, but it is a woodworking company,” said General Manager David O. Ritter. “As soon as they pull into the yard and see all the lumber, that’s the first question they ask: ‘What do you do with all that lumber out there?’ Well, that’s really our commodity. That’s what we do here.”

Among the products the company makes are workbenches, cutting boards, tables, countertops and shuffleboards.

Wood Welded brand

Founded in 1920 as the Bally Manufacturing Co., the company originally made cedar chests, burial caskets and wood pulleys. It was purchased by the Michigan Maple Block Co. of Petoskey, Mich., in 1929 and changed its name to Bally Block Co. The two companies, which make the Wood Welded brand of products, now fall under a holding company named Bally Holding Co.

Bally uses seven species of wood to make its products, with the two most popular being hard maple and ash. It uses about 4 million board feet of lumber a year, and usually cuts 11,000 to 13,000 board feet a day.

Bally’s top seller is workbenches, which account for about 75 percent of the company’s business, Ritter said.

“Our product can be used in a vast variety of different options,” he said. “You name it, you can use our product.”

Except for rare occasions, Bally does not sell directly to customers. Instead, the company uses wholesale distributors. It also sells to companies that rework its products to sell to their own customers.

Wood Welded products are shipped worldwide and have been purchased by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow. Wood Welded was prominently featured on the TV show “The Big Bang Theory.”

“Our reach is quite far,” said company Treasurer Carol L. Beadencup. “People know us from all over, our brand and our quality, and that’s why they come to us.”

However, a lot of people in the company’s backyard are not very familiar with it. Even though it has been in business for about 100 years, Ritter said many people, even those in the Bally area, are not familiar with what the company does.

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