Two executives of J. B. Kendall Co., a diversified steel manufacturing and supply company based in Northeast Washington, have purchased the privately owned firm.

President James S. Potter said he and Executive Vice President James Molster bought the company from the William Manealoff family of New York, which has owned the company since 1938. The sale, for an undisclosed amount, concluded about two years of negotiations, he said.

Kendall's operations include raw steel supply, finished hardware, metal fabrication and custom-built architectural glass. The company supplies the government and construction firms with sheet metal, pipe and structural steel.

The sale of Kendall, completed Feb. 1, marked the exit of the Manealoffs from the metals industry, said Potter. The family had owned steel warehouses throughout the Northeast, but sold them in recent years.

"The owners were getting on in years. We liked the business, knew it and . . . have been successful at it," said Potter, a Kendall employe for 27 years. Molster has been affiliated with the firm for 35 years.

Potter said the new owners plan no major changes in the company's operation, but are developing a plan for expansion that may call for increasing Kendall's marketing area, staff and facilities. "We figure that the Washington economy has a considerable amount of life left in it, and the economy will continue to be robust for two more years before we expect any change in that."

Kendall employs approximately 140 people, Potter said. Sixty work in Baltimore, where the company operates a steel-fabricating facility that makes structural steel framing for large buildings. Kendall also owns a steel distributing operation in Salisbury, Md.

Potter became Kendall's president prior to the company's sale, succeeding John Laurisen, who retired. Molster moved up from vice president to take Potter's former post as executive vice president.

As a privately owned company, Kendall does not release its revenue, earnings or other financial information, Potter said.