About Randolphs Machine Shop

A Brief Bio of Randolph Bulgin

Randolph In His Shop

Randolph In His Shop

I grew up in Franklin, NC as a fourth-generation worker of materials.

My great-grandfather, William Gould Bulgin, came to this country from England in 1854. He was an architect and a builder and three of his buildings survive and are on the National Register of Historic Places.

My grandfather, George Miller Bulgin, served a five year apprentice as a blacksmith in Chicago and returned to Franklin early in the 20th century where he operated a machine and blacksmith shop until his death in 1936.

My father, John Alexander Bulgin, and his younger brother, George Brabson Bulgin, ran the shop as Bulgin Brothers Machine Shop until the outbreak of WWII. My father at that time went to work for ALCOA as a power house mechanic and weldor and my uncle took employment with Utah Construction Company. My father died in 1995.

After graduating from US Navy Class “A” school for machinists in San Diego, CA in 1958, I served aboard the USS Fort Mandan, LSD-21 until 1962 operating a shipboard machine shop. For the next six years, my brother, Fred, and I operated a welding and machine shop in Franklin doing general repairs, mostly to logging and farming equipment, and steel fabrication of various types.

From 1968 until 1971, I worked as a weldor and welding supervisor for Duke Power Company in the construction of Oconee Nuclear Station in Newry, SC with certification in the SMAW and GTAW welding procedures. The crew I supervised was involved in the welding and subsequent stress relieving of high pressure weldments for nuclear power generation.

After a year as a machinist/tool maker for VETCO, Inc. in Ventura, CA working in the manufacture of off-shore oil drilling equipment, I returned to Franklin yet again and opened a shop manufacturing ornamental hand-forged iron products, including fire place screens and tools, hand railing, lighting fixtures and furniture.

In 1979 I took employment at ALCOA as a machine shop supervisor. The shop was involved in the manufacture and maintenance of rolling mill machinery. I became a manufacturing engineer for ALCOA in 1989, overseeing programming of CNC machinery and the general operation of a machine and welding shop. I took early retirement from ALCOA in 1995 and returned once more to Franklin where I now operate a one man machine and welding shop.

I was accepted for membership in the Southern Highlands Handicraft Guild in 1965 in the category of blacksmithing and I am a member of Mensa.