In 1941, the onset of World War II forced the closing of McDonald's shop. That same year, James McDonald died, and Angus and son Thomas went to work in the shipyards of Fall River, Mass. A tour of duty in the U.S. Navy followed for Thomas. Upon his discharge in 1945, he and his father revived McDonald & McDonald, opening a custom spring shop in midtown Manhattan. The thriving business employed a dozen men and branched into other areas of truck service, including body repair and motor work.
McDonald & McDonald, Inc. began
as a blacksmith's shop in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Founded in 1919 by Nova
Scotian James McDonald and his son, Angus, the shop supplied iron tires and
springs for wagons. With the advent of the automobile, father and son turned
their skills to suspension work, fashioning springs for the undercarriages
As a boy, Angus' son would watch his father and grandfather forge the metal springs that were the crux of the shop's trade. Young Thomas James gradually mastered the blacksmith's craft and became the third generation of McDonald men to enter the family business.
Postwar construction in New York City
was the impetus for the McDonalds' move to Orange County. Tunnel
construction beneath the shop's 1st Avenue and 43rd Street location had
raised the road level, obstructing the passage of trucks to the shop's
garage. The McDonalds, scouting new sites north of the city, viewed Newburgh
as the hub of the Hudson Valley and a choice place to relocate. In January
1951, McDonald & McDonald, Inc. opened for business at 240 Lake Street, in
the same building it is housed in today.
After the death of Thomas James in
1975, Jane Phillips McDonald became president of the growing company. In
1976, she sold what had been the "Garwood Mid Equipment" branch of the
business to her two sons, changing the franchise name to "T.J. Harwood,
Inc." (The initials "T" and "J" are for sons Thomas Angus and James Phillips;
"Garwood" simply underwent a change of its first letter.) Both sons worked
for McDonald & McDonald, doing suspension repair on heavy rigs, in
conjunction with servicing Harwood's customers.
In 1979, a fire destroyed the outer office of McDonald & McDonald. Some records were salvaged, in spite of extensive smoke and water damage, but original books and documents from 1919 were lost. Undaunted, Jane McDonald and her sons immediately set about erecting a new, larger office building. James departed to establish his own spring shop in Rochester, New York, while Thomas purchased new equipment to expand Harwood's services.
Just one month after the company's
move to eastern Orange County, Angus died. McDonald & McDonald continued
under the leadership of Thomas James and his wife, Jane, who began
administrative work in the Lake Street office. By 1954, the shop had
reverted to the specialty of suspension work and was running a spring repair
business as well as servicing several trucking companies from seven
surrounding counties. It became a distributorship of Garwood, Inc., selling,
installing and servicing dump bodies and refuse packers, an operation in
continued until 1972, when Garwood industry went out of business.
In 1982, while disconnecting the boom on a 1923 Mack crane, Thomas suffered serious injury when the connecting cable snapped, ensnaring his leg. He sustained hip damage and his leg was broken in five places. Although he spent 79 days in traction, Thomas administered Harwood's progress from his hospital bed. Also in this year, McDonald and McDonald, Inc. started a complete alignment business; specializing in heavy duty trucks, along with on vehicle high-speed wheel balancing. Continuing to add to the alignment field required an addition of a 150 lb. press to straighten front axles, drive axle housings and trailer axles.
Heavy duty truck & trailer frame as well as dump body straightening and repair began in 1986. In January 1990, Tom added another branch to the family business, Axle Surgeons of Eastern N.Y., specializing in drive and trailer axle repair.
April of 2000 saw the office move to the 1300 square foot building it's in today, allowing for the addition of a showroom as well as two on the road salesmen.McDonald & McDonald, Inc. continues to service the suspension of trucks, buses, tractors and trailers throughout a large area in New York State as well as parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The shop now employs 17 workers and continues customizing odd springs and related hardware. Jane McDonald, matriarch of the McDonald family and chieftain of the business for more then 25 years, was named "Woman of the Year" in 1989 by North Atlantic Life Insurance Co., in recognition of her Contributions to the enterprise which has been owned and operated by four generations of the McDonald family. In 2003 Jane retired and Tom McDonald took over as acting president.