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GST Company Information
Company Information: history

The Origins

Byron Tanning

  • Byron Tanning was established in Roxbury, Massachusetts, by Joseph Byron. Sixty-five years later, Joseph's grandson, William D. Byron, opened his own tanning business after finding the perfect location in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western Maryland. He chose a 100-acre site close to the Potomac River where there was an abundance of rock oak stands, the prime source of tannic acid used in the vegetable leather-tanning process.


  • Soon the tanning industry was thriving and Byron Tanning continued to grow, modernize, and enhance its capabilities. In 1897, William built his first tanning plant on Conococheague Creek in Williamsport, Maryland.


  • Seton founded


  • Seton authored the first automotive leather specification


  • A salesman named Alfred Fried reluctantly accepted leather skins in lieu of wages. Being an opportunistic young man, he launched his own tannery and trading company specializing in handbags and belts in Manhattan.


  • Alfred's brothers joined the business and soon the Fried brothers decided to tie their fortunes with another tannery called John Flynn and Sons to form Garden State Tanning. They began expanding their business, opening plants in Newark, New Jersey, and Cleveland, Ohio. As Garden State Tanning entered the automotive leather component business, they acquired additional leather tanning facilities. For the next 20 years, Garden State Tanning continued expansion, adding new facilities in Pennsylvania.


  • With the expanding auto leather market, additional production capacity was needed. In 1976, Garden State Tanning acquired the Williamsport, Maryland, operations formerly known as Byron Tanning.

The Modern Era

For the past 25 years, GST has continued its tradition of producing quality leather for the automotive industry. A number of key actions and initiatives in recent years have helped position the Company for the future. They include the following:


  • GST partners with Toyota to become the first American supplier to learn and implement the Toyota Production System
  • Leather sourcing team created in South America
  • A state-of-the-art cutting facility is opened in Saltillo, Mexico
  • Seton opens operations in Germany and South Africa

GST Autoleather Seton Autoleather2000

  • GST enters the China Market with a Technical Services Consulting Agreement with Genfort


  • GST strategic decision: transition operations from US to Mexico


  • GST opens Nuevo Laredo, MX finishing facility
  • GST and SRL enter into a Strategic Technology and Supply Agreement for retan and finishing in Shanghai


  • GST China opens headquarters in Shanghai
  • GST and CUINBA enter into Strategic Technology and Supply Agreement


  • GST consolidates all cutting operations into Saltillo campus
  • GST agrees to purchase CUINBA
  • GST relocates Global HQ & Technical Center from Maryland to Detroit, MI


  • Advantage Partners LLP acquires GST


  • GST finalizes JV with SRL for finishing operation
  • Seton acquires Feltex in South Africa


  • GST acquires Seton Company


  • GST signs joint venture with Tata International in India


  • GST adds new Finishing plant in Jiaxing China


  • GST opens new headquarters & customer development center in Rochester Hills, MI