McWane, Inc. is one of the worlds largest manufacturers of iron water works and plumbing products and one of America’s largest privately owned companies. The company manufactures products including ductile iron pipe and fittings, fire hydrants, cast iron soil pipe and fittings, and related products. McWane is also a manufacturer of pressurized cylinders for the storage of propane and other gases through its Manchester Tank and Equipment Company division, and fire protection systems and extinguishers through its Amerex subsidiary. Based in Birmingham, Alabama, McWane is a privately held, family owned company employing almost 6,000 people in 25 facilities nationwide. In addition to the United States, the company has operations in Australia, Canada, Chile, China, India, Norway and the United Arab Emirates. Its operating revenues are estimated at approximately $1.5 to 2 billion as of 2011[update]. J. R. McWane founded the McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company in 1921 in Birmingham, Alabama, where it has maintained its headquarters since. McWane introduced innovations to foundry technology and processes. He also introduced progressive initiatives to improve working conditions. In 1920, one year before the founding of McWane, J.R. McWane wrote, "The industry that maintains an army of workers without regard to their working and living conditions, their health, recreations, religious and social life cannot succeed in the largest sense." His vision is referred to within the company as "The McWane Way", and can be summarized as aiming to improve both the methods of work and the lives of the workers, rather than focusing only on financial gain.