The History & Future Of Dale Oxygen:
Dale Oxygen, Inc. has been a family owned and operated business since 1939. We work toward supplying the industrial, medical, and environmental markets with atmospheric and fuel gases, along with welding, safety and industrial supplies.
Dale Oxygen, Inc. was founded in 1939 by Harry W. Bennear at the age of 22. Prior, during the 1930’s Harry W. was a welder working in the Pittsburgh area of Pennsylvania. In 1937 Harry W. moved to Johnstown, PA to work alongside a close relative who was employed by the Air Reduction Company. Through connections at the Air Reduction Company, Harry W. became an authorized Airco distributor and opened up for business in the Dale section of Johnstown. Harry W. began by selling and delivering Oxygen & Acetylene gas cylinders, oxy/fuel torches, and welding electrodes for welding and cutting applications.
Shortly after opening for business in 1939, the outbreak of World War II compelled Harry W. to enlist in the United States Army Air Corps in 1942. Harry graduated from the Army Air Force Technical Training Command School in Detroit in 1943 before honorably entering combat in the European Theater. During his time serving in Europe, Harry held the rank of Staff Sargent and was an engineer/nose gunner on B-24 Liberators. While engaging in 50 combat missions across France, Romania, Austria, and Germany, Harry W. was awarded an Air Medal and thee Oak Leaf Clusters as well as a Service Metal with 6 Bronze Stars for his heroic achievements while engaging in aerial combat.
Harry W’s wife, Ruth, joined the company during the 1950’s to manage the books of the business; from accounting, cylinder records, and billing, she became the backbone to support Harry and his efforts. With continued growth and success, Dale Oxygen outgrew the small shop in Dale and moved to the West End of Johnstown, PA in 1953. The business operated at this location for 8 years, increased inventory to meet demand and had 3 trucks in the distribution fleet.
Dale Oxygen never stopped growing and the business moved for the 2nd time to the Hornerstown section of Johnstown in 1963. This location still serves as the headquarters for Dale Oxygen, the main cylinder fill plant facility, and is home to a 14,000sq ft. warehouse location to hold and stock inventory for the entire company.
1970 - 1990
Harry W.’s sons, Dale and Harry D. Bennear joined the business alongside their father and mother during the 1970’s. Both sons started in the business from the ground up working in the fill plant, driving trucks, and fulfilling roles as account managers. Dale Bennear sadly passed in 1990 and Harry D. Bennear took on the role of President and currently holds the positions of CEO. In 1990 Harry’s wife Mary Ann joined the operation and took on the similar roles that Ruth Bennear handled as well as managing the Human Resources department.
Through a continued growth initiative under the leadership of Harry D. Bennear, in 1998 Dale Oxygen opened a second branch in Indiana, PA and in 2000 a third location in Altoona, PA. Today, both of these locations are full retail and distribution locations including sales as well as cylinder and hard good deliveries.
1990 - 2019
Harry D. Bennear’s two sons are now the 3rd Generation and Leadership driving the organization forward. Chis Bennear joined the business in 1993 and Evan Bennear in 2004. In similar fashion to their father and Uncle Dale, they learned the ropes from the ground up, painting and filling cylinders, delivering product to customers, and ultimately moving into their present roles. Currently, Chris Bennear is Dale Oxygen’s Chief Operating Officer and Evan Bennear is the President of the organization.
Sadly in 2013 the matriarch of the business, Ruth Bennear, passed away at the age of 93. The employees at Dale Oxygen will never forget her many decades of dedication to the company and she will forever be remembered as “Mrs. B”.
Starting in 2019, Dale Oxygen underwent a major expansion and renovation of its Johnstown HQ location. A brand new state of the art automated cylinder fill plant was constructed more than doubling the footprint of the previous fill plant. The retail showroom was completely reconstructed and expanded, a welding equipment demonstration room was added, several new office spaces were constructed, and the shipping & receiving department was expanded as well.
In 2021, Dale Oxygen opened its fourth location in Somerset, PA. This retail and distribution branch has strengthened services to new and existing customers in Southwest Pennsylvania, as well as parts of Maryland and West Virginia.
Proudly, 2024 will mark 85 years in business for Dale Oxygen. Starting as a small distributorship in Johnstown, PA, Dale Oxygen has grown into a multifaceted regional leader and service focused distributor for many key markets that drive our economy and create job growth. We look forward to fostering the business partnerships we have in place, further helping our valued customers grow their businesses, and expanding our team for many years to come.