Our Plants, Our People, Our Promise
In the early 1980’s, the factory built home industry was reaching its’ zenith in northern Alabama. Harwell Ballard, recognizing an opportunity to provide a local source for one-piece tubs and showers, opened a small plant manufacturing fiberglass reinforced gelcoat bathware to serve the plants near Hamilton, Alabama.
Harwell Ballard was a hard working, hands-on owner who demanded that each unit leaving his plant was the best that people could build. His employees held him in high esteem because he knew every job in the plant and worked more in the plant than in the office. He took it personally when he heard about damaged or defective products and would travel hundreds of miles on some days after work to personally repair a unit in the field.
It was from these modest beginnings that Hamilton Bathware evolved.
Harwell was different from others who had gone into the FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Product) bathware business. He hadn’t gained experience in an already functioning plant, and therefore Hamilton Bathware didn’t build its product in the then traditional fashion. Instead of using cardboard to reinforce the walls of gelcoat tubs and showers, Harwell backed the gelcoat sanitary surface with successive layers of fiberglass and resins and used a higher content of resins than other manufacturers. This meant the Hamilton product was tremendously stronger than cardboard backed products.
After considerable success in the factory built home industry Harwell decided to enter the traditional built housing segment. But, before doing so he did some research with local plumbers and installers who provided him insight into solutions for many of the problems that traditionally affected the bathware industry. Their number one complaint was thin, weak nailing and tiling flanges. In response, Harwell engineered a very distinctive way of building the mold so that the flanges could receive more fiberglass and resin backing and therefore added strength.
In 1994 Harwell Ballard passed away, but the company he founded lived on and is now a brand of The Praxis Companies, Inc. His small plant has grown into a 300,000 square foot automated factory but his spirit remains. The proud people of Hamilton still make the Hamilton product Harwell’s way. Rugged, strong, and dependable. Whether you are a homebuilder, contractor or distributor, we are confident you will find Hamilton Bathware to be one in which you are confident.
The Hamilton fiberglass process and materials meet or exceed all industry standards. The process begins with the spraying of gelcoat onto a model to a minimum of 18ml thickness for a smooth, lustrous sanitary grade finish. Optimum curing and drying is attained as the models move along the automated overhead rail through the various stages of production.
Our Fiberglass products are designed to give maximum wall support. Grab bar mounting areas on the back wall and sidewalls are reinforced with balsa wood. Balsa wood has been found to provide superior-bonding properties coupled with exceptional strength.
The process of laying fiberglass and resin mixes produces a sandwich effect, which provides the strongest structure support for the walls and bottoms of our tubs. The superior bonding properties prevent separation of layers and the penetration of moisture. Finally, a third layer of fiberglass/resin mix is then sprayed and hand rolled to ensure a solid backing free of air pockets and weak spots. A fully encapsulated single sheet of balsa wood supports the bottom.
Hamilton Bathware now offers over 100 distinct models in three finishes: gelcoat, Premium Acrylic, and Century Stone TM solid surface. Hamilton Bathware has both Residential and Commercial lines consisting of showers, tub showers, soaking tubs, air tubs, and whirlpools. Hamilton Bathware offers everything from ADA Code Compliant models to relaxing Destination luxury whirlpools and air tubs.
Everything you could ask for in bathware is exactly what Hamilton Bathware delivers.