Joseph W. Harris, entrepreneur, inventor, jazz aficionado, horse-racing enthusiast, outdoorsman, mentor, father, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle, and devoted friend to many, recently passed away.

Harris’ career as the head of J.W. Harris Co. Inc. gave him great pride. From humble beginnings as a machine shop in downtown Cincinnati with eight employees, the outfit grew to become a soldering, brazing, and welding products manufacturer employing hundreds with multiple U.S. facilities and operations in Mexico and Harris Euro in Spain. During that time, Harris was a pioneer in reducing the use of alloys containing cadmium, a known carcinogen, around the world. When lead-free laws were introduced in the plumbing industry, Harris worked to develop alloys that helped plumbers make the change, entering a new market to improve the quality of drinking water for all. He contributed many innovations and holds several patents designed to improve manufacturing processes and alloys. These businesses were sold in 2005.

Harris believed it was important to keep manufacturers in the U.S., and during a faltering economy, at age 77, started a new company, bringing new jobs to a small community. He contributed inventions created in his personal research and development lab to this new filler metal business, NetBraze LLC. Patents are pending in his name today.

One of his final sentiments was to communicate his gratitude and appreciation to the many people who helped develop and realize his many dreams and accomplishments. He wanted to benefit his community and the industry and sought no recognition. Harris’ knowledge of brazing and soldering alloys and understanding of the industry will be greatly missed.

Publication date: 3/17/2014