Heller International was founded by Elias Heller in New Jersey 1836. Elias was born in Strasbourg and owned a farm near the west bank of the Rhine river near Darmstadt, Germany. In 1832 he gave up his farm and immigrated to America with his wife, Laura and his son, Elias. They soon settled in Essex County, New Jersey where he had a farm and blacksmith shop making farrier tools and rasps for the local trade.
The manufacturing of horseshoeing tools made by Elias and his son grew slowly in the beginning, but as the quality improved and demand from the trade increased the business expanded beyond local trade. The third generation grew up surrounded by tool manufacturing and eventually all five sons would enter the business, Elias, George, Peter John, Lewis, George Elias, John J causing the company to grow rapidly.
In 1866, a larger factory for manufacturing was built in the center of the business district of Newark, New Jersey. Soon after in 1874, the company expanded the factory with state of the art facilities specializing in the production of steel, farrier tools, blacksmith tools and files (rasps) creating unparalleled quality and consistency for the time period. The new factory allowed Heller to become an industry leader establishing a tradition of innovation and superior farrier tools.
In 1917, a huge fire destroyed the Rex File & Saw Co. factory in Newcomerstown, OH. Heller in need of more land and cheaper labor than Newark, purchased the devastated Rex site, rebuilt the file factory and hired the workers. By 1953 the Newcomerstown facility occupied over 250,000 square feet and Heller was one of the top three file brands in the world. The new factory became so efficient Heller closed its Newark factories and moved fully to Newcomerstown.
The fourth generation of the Heller family was not interested in running the family business and sold the company to Simonds in 1955. In 2006, Heller became a member of the Mustad Hoofcare Group where hoof rasps are designed and crafted by Heller International, located in Rionegro, Colombia