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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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2010 photo of its location at 1798 Central.

RAFOTH FURNACE AND SHEET METAL WORKS, INC. A.A. Rafoth, originally a carpenter, established the company in 1913 as a "tin shop." Using a horse and buggy for deliveries, Rafoth specialized in intricate sheet metal work found on many Victorian homes.

Russell Rafoth took over the company in 1941 after his father's death. Bringing more modernization and mechanization into the business, Rafoth took advantage of the needs of WORLD WAR II to build the company from a small residential business into a commercial/industrial operation. The company specialized in stainless steel fabrication for wartime Coast Guard boats.

The 1918 Dubuque City Directory through the 1955 Dubuque City Directory listed 1770 Central.

The 1959 Dubuque City Directory listed the company at Rockdale Road.

The 1962 through 1980 Dubuque City Directory listed 1770 Central.

The 1983 through 1993 Dubuque City Directory listed 1766 Central.

David Rafoth took over the company in 1971. The company aggressively expanded its roofing division and became a multi-state operation. A second office was opened in Cedar Rapids and the work force was increased to 55-60 employees.

At the close of the twentieth century, the Rafoth roofing division offered full-service roofing including conventional built-up roofing, shingles, clay tiles, slate, single ply membranes and metal roofing. The company's expertise in metal roofing included the installation of custom designed tin, copper, anodized aluminum and stainless steel for standing seam, batten seam, and other custom roof designs. They were also involved in producing metal wall panels and siding. Their experience in custom sheet metal work involved the company in antique restoration and historical renovation including the duplication of antique car, truck, and tractor parts. Rafoth was also involved in all phases of heating, ventilation, and air condition for commercial and industrial use and for custom homes. The company in 2010 was located at 1766 Central.