Eagle-Picher Industries, Inc.: Information from Answers.com

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Eagle-Picher Industries, Inc.


Eagle-Picher is an industrial company. As such, the company is to the volatility of the markets it serves. To protect itself from fluctuations and business cycle the strategy of Eagle-Picher has been to its product lines.

This has served the company well in the and all indications suggest it will the company well in the future.

Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Holdings B.V.

Address: 500, 250 East Fifth Cincinnati, Ohio 45202,

Telephone: (513) 721-7010

(513) 721-2341


Sales: -906 million

Incorporated: 1916 as Eagle-Picher Company

SIC: 3295 — Ground or Treated; Relays Industrial Controls; Switchgear Switchboard Apparatus; Search Navigation Equipment

over 150 years of manufacturing Eagle-Picher Industries, Inc. numerous niche markets its industrial products. Primarily machinery and parts to companies the world, Eagle-Picher manufactures of different products for the automotive, defense, construction, and other

The company survived the demise of of the industries it operated in, managing to without bringing on disaster, as other conglomerates have in similar circumstances. Following a of lawsuits related to asbestos in its products, Eagle-Picher managed to bankruptcy proceedings begun in and was reorganized and acquired by the Dutch Granaria Holdings in 1998.

The predecessor of Eagle-Picher was established as a in Cincinnati in 1842. Two brothers, and Stephen Conkling, set up a small to produce white lead, a of corrosion that was especially as a durable paint when with linseed oil. In the Conkling brothers went partnership with William who later took over the when Edgar Conkling the Texas West Railroad

With new partners, Wood the company to a new location in 1858 and the name of the firm to the Eagle Lead Works.

Great came to the metals market the Civil War. Overcapacity, a of commodity price controls, and competition from the ready-mix industry pushed Eagle and other white lead to the brink of bankruptcy. By 1887, a of eastern lead companies a powerful association called the Trust. The Trust tried and on numerous occasions to include in its collaborations.

William Christie who succeeded his father as president of in 1883, led the fight to keep independent. He initiated strong controls and attempted to branch the into related businesses. left in 1887, and was replaced by G. W. who stayed for six months and was then by Benjamin H. Cox.

Unable to the company in light of the actions of the 31 Lead Trust firms merged to form the National Company in 1891), Cox hired managers away from his rival, the Eckstein White Company. These managers, led by B. Swift, reorganized Eagle in an to fend off National Lead. The had a strong customer base and a reputation for quality.

Certain that he could not indefinitely, Swift attempted to integrate the company, as Rockefeller’s Oil Co. had done. Several years when, finally, in 1903, and several other independents a stake in the American Metal a mining and smelting house. Eagle diversified the product to include lead pipe and supplies.

In December 1905, receiving an invitation to join Lead, Eagle received an from the Picher Lead a mining outfit in Joplin. proposing a buyout. With a supply of lead from Eagle would be free of Lead’s ability to influence prices.

The transaction was completed on 5, 1906.

Eagle, which had its operations, provided Picher capital to expand its facilities and further exploration in the mineral-rich region of Missouri, Oklahoma, and Picher tried unsuccessfully for years to locate new mineral on the Quapaw Indian lands of the area. Fearing that the had been depleted, Picher wildcat drilling. again success.

Late in 1913 a drill rig became stuck in feet of mud while being during a thunderstorm. Picher drilling in place before the rig dismantled. To everyone’s surprise, the drilling yielded an extremely lead-zinc ore concentrate that led to 20 strikes by 1915 and the establishment of a zinc smelter at Henryetta,

The following year, Eagle and formally merged into a company.

However, management to address the problem of merging business cultures, an issue engendered considerable internal for many years. Many employees held a strong against Eagle, which felt didn’t fully the work they did in the tri-state. S. Picher, who became president of the new chose Chicago as the neutral on which to establish a new headquarters.

In he ordered the decentralization enterprise, an organization similar to General General Motors, and DuPont, in specific divisions enjoyed autonomy.

Under Oliver Eagle-Picher became the nation’s zinc manufacturer, as well as one of its lead producers. Growth in the market was augmented by World War I, in demand for zinc in brass and other weapons increased Seeking to enter the finished products markets, Picher a zinc oxide plant at


Clearly set on a strong Eagle-Picher lost some the following year when Picher died suddenly. The appointed Swift to succeed as president. Swift continued diversification strategy by purchasing the Chemical Company’s lithopone at Argo. Illinois.

From its in lead, Eagle-Picher had become one of the only integrated mine-to-market companies.

Swift ordered the research department, established in by Picher, to develop new uses for This led to several partnerships battery companies in 1922 and the of highly efficient lead Thus, with the advent of a promising new market was created as for white lead pigment had to trail off.

Buoyed by the founded productivity of the tri-state Eagle-Picher began buying tracts of land in the region to its existing mines, organizing under a new subsidiary, the Consolidated and Zinc Company. Eagle-Picher its production capacity in 1925 by control of the Ontario Smelting of Hockerville, Oklahoma. This the company to squeeze additional out of mines that were to have been depleted.

Now listed on the Cincinnati Stock Eagle-Picher entered a difficult in 1927 when yields the tri-state mines began to Arthur Bendelari succeeded as president of the company in February and eventually moved the company’s back to Cincinnati.

Serious declines occurred in the months the stock market crash in To improve managerial efficiency, reorganized all the company’s production into a new subsidiary, Eagle-Picher and Smelting. The subsidiary also the parent company from liabilities in its field operations. As the Depression set in, lead and zinc continued to plummet.

Eagle-Picher solvent mainly from the use of reserves accumulated during the years of the 1920s.

During time, George Washington a veteran of the tri-state mines, the establishment of a central smelting to replace the more than 200 smelters located in the area. won government permission to centralize as well as the right to operate locomotives on railroads in the region. The mill opened in October During this time, the also began producing wool. an insulation product from smelter wastes.

stable, fire-proof material highly successful, bolstering the product line.

In 1933, faced a serious threat the International Union of Mine, and Smelter Workers, which had to organize workers in the tri-state Eagle-Picher and the Ore Producers Association to it belonged refused to recognize the which called a strike for in May 1935. Subsequently, Eagle-Picher to establish a rival company-sponsored called the Blue Card

Using gangs of thugs, the sheriff, and even the National the Blue Card succeeded in the strike and seriously disrupting the activity in the area.

The union suits against Eagle-Picher and companies with the National Relations Board, charging in the administration of a labor union. The prevailed, and Eagle-Picher gained a reputation for opposing union and being uncompromising and difficult in Despite its legal victory, the union had little success in the

Fearing that Eagle-Picher was control of its operations, the company’s asked Joel M. Bowlby, a accountant, to perform an analysis of the In January 1937, Bowlby further decentralization of the enterprise, fully autonomous divisions. resigned shortly thereafter due to ill and was replaced by Joseph Hummel, Jr.

this time, Potter management with a plan to the Commerce Mining and Royalty which held extensive ore and several mills in the tri-state in addition to the Northeast Oklahoma The $10 million deal was finalized in and Commerce was added to Eagle-Picher as a division, following Bowlby’s

The Commerce acquisition did little than extend the life of a industry in the tri-state region. during this time, the invaded Poland and war began in creating a huge demand for war minerals, including Eagle-Picher’s and zinc. Production capacity was to meet the new demand, and in late the company even took a zinc operation in Taxco.

To cope with the new demand, enlisted the Robert Heller firm to present its own set of recommendations. advised elevating Bowlby to the and shuffling Hummel off to head the

Bowlby’s ascension to the presidency was timed. As a bookish accountant who tremendous knowledge of the company, was perfectly suited for the job. A that became evident Pearl Harbor, when the came under the direction of the War Board.

Eagle-Picher held advantages over other industries. Unlike Singer, converted from sewing to machine guns, and Ford, went from automobiles to Eagle-Picher already produced the war effort needed: slab paint pigments, lead and oxides, bearing metals, leads, solders, and insulation

The war brought a production boom to the tri-state area. But even so, had difficulty operating its mines at with a work force by conscription. despite increased and the addition of another mine Tucson. Furthermore, the company’s from war production were controlled by the government.

Meanwhile, who had given so much to the company, seriously disillusioned with under Bowlby, who used profits to move Eagle-Picher out of and into manufacturing. Potter in protest in 1944.

The war brought into several new markets, production of germanium. the first material, essential to the invention of the in 1947 as well as to the development of state electronics. The company emerged from the war with battery systems which tremendous commercial potential. of these products required no back to the civilian economy.

dropped the name Lead its name in 1945, Eagle-Picher smelters and fabricating plants in and East Chicago in 1946, and the paint company two years Hoping to build on the postwar boom, the company also the Orange Screen Company, a of screen doors and windows.

In the to diversify, Eagle-Picher purchased a earth plant, which filtration products, in Clark, Abandoning an effort to exit the products business, Eagle-Picher purchased the Kansas City and Refining Company, the Cleveland Works, and parts of the Southern Company.

Bowlby resigned in due to a family illness and was replaced by T. Shore, a company director and with Goldman-Sachs. Shore set more meaningful corporate goals based on earnings per He also limited Eagle-Picher’s to closely held companies specialized industrial markets.

understood that Eagle-Picher not run these companies as well as original management. He added the that acquisitions require the of these companies to remain being taken over by Other emerging conglomerates of the including Textron.

Ling Electronics (later and ITT. did not understand the importance of and succeeded in destroying many of the they took over.

saw a second defense-related increase in during the Korean War, American forces again engaged in combat and the military massive stockpiling efforts in the of a wider war with communist Still, with the decline of the area, the need for the Mining and subsidiary disappeared. These were converted back an operating division of Eagle-Picher.

on the acquisition trail in 1952, took over the Ohio Company of Willoughby. Ohio, it a division of the company.

In 1954, liquidated Eagle-Picher’s Paint and and Metallic Product divisions, were only marginally and used the proceeds to acquire the Products division of Fisher for $9.9 million. Fabricon plastic products for the automotive, and packaging industries. Eagle-Picher acquired another plastics Wilson and Hoppe, which it with Fabricon.

After its Mexican operations for $1.4 in 1956, Eagle-Picher purchased the Vitreous Corporation, a porcelain company, and the Gora-Lee Corporation, a rubber molds manufacturer. The divisional structure made acquisitions all the easier to metabolize .

the early 1950s, Bell RCA, Texas Instruments, Sylvania, and General Electric strong markets for Eagle-Picher which was used to develop more advanced transistor By 1955, Eagle-Picher held 95 of the market. This market up quickly, however, after Instruments developed a silicon made essentially from

Eagle-Picher failed to develop its own business winding up that in 1960.

Sachs Eagle 50

Nevertheless, Eagle-Picher to benefit from its leading in silver-zinc battery technologies, gained new importance with the of rocket and missile programs the 1950s. The couples battery, for its dual chamber construction, led product line in a zero quality program. The battery ultimately drew Eagle-Picher the prestigious and profitable aerospace and business, as well as into exploration.

Eventually, Shore the germanium and battery operations a new electronics division.

During the 1960s, Eagle-Picher continued to by taking over several companies, including the Akron-based Mold tire products Davis Wire, a steel and net manufacturer in Los Angeles, and the Premier Manufacturing Company in Dayton. In to emphasize its increasingly diverse the company changed its name the Eagle-Picher Company to Eagle-Picher Shore maintained his strict policy and, because remained in closely related came to hate the description of the as a conglomerate .

Under Shore, who in favor of William D. Atterbury in Eagle-Picher fell short of dominant horizontal or vertical yet remained too closely tied to industrial markets to be considered diversified. Acquisitions continued year, with the Detroit-based maker, Wolverine Fabricating and and the Markey Bronze Corporation.

The year Eagle-Picher took Cincinnati Cleaning and Finishing, a of cleaning solvents, and Union which produced welded and sheet metal. In 1969, acquired the Ross Pattern and company, a manufacturer of aluminum for the automotive, electronics, and aerospace

With lowered growth divestitures and operating profit, attempted to raise investment by emphasizing the synergy of Eagle-Picher’s divisions. The profit-center approach to divisions served the cause The company raised sufficient to purchase the A. D. Weiss Lithograph and the Hillsdale Tool company.

in March 1972, Eagle-Picher off Davis Wire to a group led by the management for $23.5 million.

In Eagle-Picher acquired the Johnson Company, Faulkner Concrete and Plas Chem, an anti-corrosion company. These were in 1976 with the purchase of a mining supply company, and Engineering, a precision machining serving the petroleum industry.

of Eagle-Picher’s industrial markets adversely affected by a serious in 1979 that bottomed out in This caused numerous reverses at Eagle-Picher and placed the on shaky ground for its next a spate of lawsuits related to the use of in Eagle-Picher’s insulation products.

Petry, appointed president in 1981 to ensure an orderly as Atterbury approached retirement was forced to take action in when more than asbestos injury claims had filed. The wave of litigation easy money for lawyers, actions led several other including Johns-Manville, into

Petry, however, elected to out the litigation by funding settlements money from a special that was replenished with income. To lessen the effect of the Eagle-Picher concentrated on expansion its other operations. This succeeded in keeping the company out of but still seriously damaged

Petry succeeded Atterbury as in 1989 and was replaced as president by W. Painter.

As the volume of settlements Eagle-Picher was forced to divest operations, including the Akron and flight operations divisions, to the fund. By 1991, however, the could not keep up and was forced to for reorganization under bankruptcy Ironically, this had the positive of halting all injury settlements.

In 1992, Painter retired, and his were assumed again by Petry. The company remained court protection, as the number of damage claims reached and personal injury claims to more than 160,000. while operations remained the asbestos litigation continued to vex the

Although it remained diversified related industrial markets, began to move toward centralized control, made by the asbestos litigation. The company organized in three main an industrial group, a machinery and an automotive group.

As bankruptcy dragged on, the company attempted to operations undisturbed. As a testament to its almost no customers, suppliers, or abandoned the company during time. In fact, sales substantially during the reorganization, $599 million in 1991 to million in 1996, the last year before the reorganization was

Earnings rose even dramatically, from $19 million in to $62 million in 1996.

Eagle-Picher also continued to its new markets during that In 1995 the company created a new division by combining its electronics with its specialty materials By combining the former divisions’ in making batteries for space and silicon wafers for solar the new division directed its attention to power systems for space

Eagle-Picher emerged from protection in early 1997, achieved its primary objective in for bankruptcy: protecting itself being destroyed by injury The reorganization settlement included a court injunction against or future asbestos or lead-related claims against the company.

In for this protection, Eagle-Picher the Eagle-Picher Industries Personal Settlement Trust with ten shares of newly issued $250 million in ten-year $69 million in notes for tax refunds, $50 in cash, and $18 million in three-year The trust was to use these funds to all the asbestos and lead-related injury Claims from injury and trade creditors would be approximately 37 cents on the dollar.

however, were left nothing, having been no stake in the newly reorganized

Once out of bankruptcy reorganization, had optimistic plans for the future. Ruijssenaars, president of Eagle-Picher 1994 and slated to become executive officer, said in that he thought a rise in to $3 billion in the next five to ten was possible. The company planned to on expanding international business, for an even split of $1 billion in in each of the company’s three territories: the United States, and the Pacific Rim.

In early Eagle-Picher was acquired by Granaria B.V. a Dutch investment for more than $700 Joel P. Wyler, chair of the held Dutch company, chair of Eagle-Picher when the was completed. As part of the deal, the of Eagle-Picher became part of the company.

Principal Subsidiaries

Automotive Research Corporation; L.L.C.; Eagle-Picher Fluid Inc.; Eagle-Picher Minerals, Transicoil Inc.; Eagle-Picher Europe GmbH (Netherlands); Far East, Inc. (Japan).


Hillsdale Tool and Ross Aluminum Foundries; Molding; Wolverine Gasket; Cincinnati Industrial Machinery; Equipment; Technologies; Fabricon Plastics; Suspension Systems.


Boyer, Mike, Clouds Pass for Eagle-Picher, The Enquirer, March 16, 1997, p. I1.

Lynne McKenna, Cambridge Aims to Dominate Slice of Supply Industry, The News (Fort Wayne, Ind.), 21, 1997.

Knerr, Douglas, Industries, Strategies for Survival in the Marketplace, 1840-1980, Columbus: State University Press,

John Simley; Updated by Windisch Brown

Sachs Eagle 50


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