About Us

Howard and Mike

Founded by Howard Harrast (1926-2017), Howard Supply Company, Inc. has been serving the metal finishing industry since 1982. We currently serve a five-state territory in the Midwest with regard to proprietary cleaner and brightener sales and service: Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. Our service area is ever-expanding to neighboring states. Let Howard Supply be your #1 source for acid salts, aluminum deoxidizers, aluminum etches, brightener systems, burnishing compounds, electro cleaners, galvanizing cleaners, iron phosphates, paint strippers, rust inhibitors, sealers, spray booth grease, soak cleaners and spray wash cleaners.

Are you in the market to purchase used plating and/or industrial equipment? Check out Howard Supply's user-friendly, industry-leading Equipment Page. Look for the form at the bottom of each equipment listing to email us for more information about that particular item. If you're selling used equipment, please contact us via Email to provide information and photos of your equipment for sale.

Howard Harrast, 1926-2017

Howard's experience in the metal finishing industry was second-to-none. At age 16, he began his plating career as a plater's helper at Hub Plating Works (Broadview IL 1943), where he quickly caught the plating bug. Here was his introduction to nickel, chrome and zinc plating. In preparation for WWII, everything military-related was dipped in olive drab following cadmium or zinc plate.

After his military service, Howard returned to Hub to plate tubular furniture. One automatic plating machine at Hub contained a 26,000-gallon nickel tank and a 6,000-gallon chrome tank -- the biggest he has ever worked with.

Howard got some valuable gold, silver, cobalt and zinc plating experience at the US Naval Ordinance Plant (Forest Park, IL). The US Naval Ordinance Plant (Amertorp) began operations in 1942 and met armament needs for the nation through three wars. Thousands of torpedoes for the sinking of enemy ships were manufactured here until 1971. Howard was responsible for plating torpedo bodies cadmium and torpedo drive screens silver cobalt alloy to exact military specifications. It was important that neither smoke nor steam were produced as a result of a torpedo body traveling through water.

Howard Harrast

Next, Howard spearheaded a new plating facility layout for Reflector Hardware (Melrose Park, IL). Finishes were copper, nickel, chrome, brass, zinc and cadmium. He was the metal finishing supervisor for three departments: plating, polishing and lacquer.

His last inside plating job was at Decorative Products (Chicago), which manufactured picture frames and decorative items. He supervised all plating and lacquering operations. Finishes were nickel, bright brass, gold and silver.

Howard Harrast

Next up for Howard was a sales manager position at Time Chemical, a supplier with whom he was familiar because he had used their products for many years. Eventually, Time got out of the metal finishing business and moved their headquarters to Atlanta. Since he wanted to stay in the Chicago area, Howard decided to start his own chemical supply business in 1982. Today, Howard Supply Company Inc. remains a top industrial chemical and equipment supplier.

Mike Harrast
Mike's Bio

In 1989, Howard was joined by his son Mike. Completing the Introductory Course in Electroplating the same year, Mike has since gleaned a wealth of business experience in the metal finishing industry. Additionally, he has been responsible for the design and expansion of the Used Equipment portion of this site, enabling Howard Supply to become a top resource to small businesses looking for high-quality low-cost used plating and auxiliary equipment. Mike has served two terms as a member of the NASF Chicago Branch board of directors.

While attending The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio (1982-1987), Mike received a gymnastics scholarship and was a two-time Big Ten Championship team member. After receiving a BA in 1987, he was employed by Richman Brothers clothing store in Columbus prior to joining Howard.

Despite the recent economic downturn, Mike remains optimistic about the future of the metal finishing/manufacturing industry in the US and the future of Howard Supply.