L & H Branding Irons of Mandan, N.D., still going strong after 63 years
for Tri-State Livestock News
L & H Branding Irons of Mandan, N.D., is the oldest and largest manufacturer of branding irons in the industry. Anton Helbling invented the first electric branding iron in 1954 and started the company. He worked hard and traveled to farm tradeshows, county fairs and advertised in agriculture publications. It took a little time but the new invention caught on and the company grew. Anton’s son took over the operation and grandson Mark Helbling took over in 1981. Since its inception L & H Branding Irons has always been family owned and operated.
“Our products are very much market driven. When the price of cattle goes down, so do our sales and when things are high we sell more,” said Mark Helbling, co-owner and manager.
L & H Branding Irons is recognized nationally as a leader in the field of electric branding irons. They manufacture a complete line of electric branding irons, fire-heated irons, freeze branding irons and decorative custom irons, with thousands of satisfied customers from all over the world. The irons can be purchased through distributors or directly from the company. They have on hand a wide range of letters, figures and numerals and also make custom irons. Customers can upload a photo directly to L & H’s website and order custom irons in just a few minutes.
All of their electric branding irons are custom made to the customer’s exact specifications and are available in a wide array of letters and numbers. The irons will heat to branding temperature in ninety seconds and maintain a constant heat with no reheating time required between uses. They come standard with a ten foot three wire grounded cord that will plug into any 110 volt outlet, AC or DC. These irons are durable and will last for years.
L & H makes a complete line of freeze branders, with standard sizes ranging from one to six inches in height, and they specialize in creating custom irons. Made of high-quality brass, they will hold the temperature to ensure a clear brand in less time.
In addition to both brass and stainless steel fire-heated irons, they offer branding iron heaters. Built from heavy gauge steel, their unique design allows all the irons to heat evenly without regards to position. Removable legs make for easy moving of the stove and works with a standard propane tank.
Made of high-quality aluminum, the paint branding irons are lightweight and used for marking sheep and sale animals. The electric dehorning iron is safe to use any month of the year and reduces the shock to horned animals taking care of the horn buds quickly and easily.
One of the newer products is an electric hot knife used to cut twine and net wrap from bale processors. It is a very handy tool and has sold very well for the company
New to their line of products are custom irons reproducing logos and wordings, perfect for branding wood, leather, plastic, steaks, anything that will that burns.
“L & H is the oldest and largest company in the industry and our dedication to customer service is top notch. Serving the customer is our main goal,” Helbling said.
The 23 employees are skilled craftsmen and are kept busy building irons and also providing service and repair for their products.
“Our products haven’t changed much in over 60 years, we have made a few cosmetic changes to the original design but basically we are still using the same design that my grandfather invented. Why fix what isn’t broken,” Helbling said. “The biggest challenge for me personally has been learning to deal with employees.”
“Our company has always been family owned and our intent is to keep it that way,” Helbling said.
From the days of Anton’s booth at county fairs, the company has come a long ways. Dealer networks form a large part of their sales but their internet sales and advertising are helping the company grow by leaps and bounds. F