History of Ellwood Group, Inc.
Ellwood Group, Incorporated is a family company. We were founded in 1910 by David A. Evans and his brother, Jonathan A. Evans. Even today, 100 percent of the common stock remains in the hands of some 25 family members. Our President and Chief Executive Officer, David Evans Barensfeld, is the fifth family member to hold this job. He has occupied that post since 1983.
Ellwood Group, Inc.'s private status permits us to operate independently of short-term financial perspectives, while acting to maximize long-term values of product quality and customer service. This long-term orientation has, for decades, made us a preferred workplace for employees.
David A. Evans and his brother, Jonathan A. Evans, incorporate Ellwood City Forge. The new company delegates David A. Evans to purchase the first piece of equipment, a heavy-duty engine lathe at a price of $5,000. The company opens with nine employees, one 3,000-pound steam hammer, two lathes and one furnace.
Company sales increase, employees are added. World War I creates more orders for large locomotive crankshafts. Diesel-driven electric generators are installed to provide electricity in the plant.
The Depression era hits. Workers are laid off. The workweek is reduced to three days, with the remaining employees sharing the load. Ralph D. Evans, corporate secretary and crane operator, receives a salary of $100 per month.
Equipment is purchased from Republic Steel, Beaver Falls, Pa., to establish a new division specializing in small crankshaft machining. This acquisition becomes known as the Ellwood Forge or Plant 2 and, later, as Ellwood Crankshaft & Machine. The machinery is moved from Beaver Falls to Ellwood City and many Republic Steel employees follow.
World War ll increases orders for merchant ship shafts. Bricks from old brick yard kilns in nearby Darlington are purchased to build an addition to the machine shop known as Plant 1. The addition will handle larger parts.
Ellwood Forge burns down but is quickly rebuilt. Employment jumps to more than 500. Plant 1 works around the clock with 433 employees to produce large crankshafts for diesel-driven submarines and ships. Four additions will be made to the shop in the next three years.
Jonathan A. Evans dies. David A. Evans succeeds as President. The company plays an important role in providing defense material during World War ll.
World War ll ends, orders drop drastically. The company consolidates around replacement parts for steel rolling mills and related products.
David A. Evans dies. His son, Edmund H. Evans, succeeds as President. Aside from occasional and temporary recessions, the 1950s are a period of strong demand for forgings.
Edmund H. Evans dies. His brother, Ralph D. Evans succeeds as President. Forging presses are converted from steam to oil hydraulic power. Lathes and milling machines - frequently Navy surplus or used equipment - are acquired to increase capacity.
Management seeks to expand crankshaft finishing capacity. Larger crankshaft grinders and milling machines are purchased, including the Austrian-built GFM machine. Plant 1 machine shop is enlarged again. New offices are constructed.
Ralph D. Evans dies. His son-in-law, Robert Barensfeld, succeeds as President. Unlike his Depression-scarred predecessors, Robert Barensfeld is a strong advocate of bringing in the best available new machine technology. This new equipment serves well in the boom years of 1974 and afterward.
A record year for volumes and prices - lead times stretch out as far as six months, especially in the mining and oil and gas sectors - follows the OPEC oil embargo a year earlier.
Robert Barensfeld becomes Chairman of the Board. David Evans Barensfeld succeeds his father as President and CEO. A major recession resulting from the fall of oil and gas activity causes significant layoffs of employees.
A need for special quality ingots prompts the creation of Ellwood Uddeholm Steel, with Uddeholm Tooling AB of Sweden as a minority shareholder. The company is commissioned in New Castle, Pa., and includes an electric arc furnace, vacuum degasser, ASEA/SKF ladle furnace and teeming bay. Ingots are produced in carbon, alloy and stainless chemistries up to 42 tons.
Ellwood Quality Steels, a separate profit center, is formed to sell ingots to outside customers. Robert E. Rumcik, a metallurgist who spearheaded the melt shop investment, is named President in 1988.
Kevin R. Handerhan, Ph.D., (metallurgy) is named President of the Forging division.
Expansion continues. A closed-die forge shop in Houston, Texas, is acquired and renamed Ellwood Texas Forge. The plant specializes in the production of oil and gas wellhead forgings. Equipment includes a 11,000 ton, multi-ram, closed-die hydraulic press. Michael Henthorne, Ph.D., (metallurgy) is named President. A holding company is formed and named the Ellwood Group, Inc.
An ingot mold and engineered casting facility in Hubbard, Ohio, is acquired and renamed Ellwood Engineered Castings. Ellwood Specialty Steel is chartered to sell Ellwood-made tool and specialty steel. Ake L. Sundvall is named President. Finish Machining of Crankshafts are spun off from the Ellwood City Forge and renamed Ellwood Crankshaft and Machine located to Hermitage, PA.. Metallurgist Michael A. Kamnikar is named President.
EGI purchases a well-equipped melt shop in Seraing, in French-speaking Belgium. It contains a UHP 80-ton arc furnace, tank degasser, ladle furnace and the world's largest continuous caster of round blooms (up to 600 mm diameter). The shop focuses on the market niche of special forging steels in continental Europe.
Ellwood City Forge, as 50/50 partner with Scot Forge of Illinois, opens 4,500 ton open die hydraulic forging press adjacent to the Ellwood Quality Steels plant in New Castle, PA. The joint venture is called North American Forgemasters. At the same time, ECF installs large machine tools and heat treat facilities to treat forgings too large for Ellwood City plant adjacent to NAF.
Daniel P. Hamilton, metallurgist, is named President of Ellwood City Forge.
Ellwood City Forge acquires electroslag remelting furnaces in Pampa, TX for the production of ordnance. Also in 2001, Ellwood Group, Inc. moves corporate office of EGI into new office building located at corner of Sixth & Spring in Ellwood City.
Ellwood Specialty Steel moves its tool steel distribution facility from Ellwood City to new and enlarged buildings in Wilmington Township, Lawrence County. Also in 2002, ESS acquires Unisteel LLC in Sterling Heights, MI to better serve the automotive stamping die industry.
Ellwood Group, Inc. acquires the assets of the National Forge Company, Irvine, PA, out of bankruptcy. Assets are reconfigured as two new subsidiaries, Ellwood National Forge (ordnance, molds for centrifugal casting of iron water pipe) and Ellwood National Crankshaft (crankshafts for diesel locomotive engines). Metallurgists Michael A. Kamnikar and Glenn C. Fegely elected President of Ellwood National Crankshaft and Ellwood National Forge respectively. Obsolete steel melting and forging departments in Irvine are closed and work is transferred to EGI's New Castle and Ellwood City plants for finish machining in Irvine. Also in 2003, EGI purchases the assets of the former McInnes Steel, Corry, PA and renames as Corry Forge, a subsidiary of Ellwood City Forge. Corry Forge, with a 2,000 ton open die hydraulic press, operates as a production department of ECF.
To meet a surge of forging ingot demand, Ellwood Quality Steels reopens the shuttered electric arc furnace shop in Irvine, PA. Obsolete facilities are replaced with new equipment, including a state-of-the-art tank degasser and a new ingot teeming pit. EQS personnel help to train a brand new crew of operators for ENS.
Mark S. Cianci, metallurgist, named President of Ellwood Texas Forge and Brian C. Taylor named President of Ellwood Crankshaft and Machine.
The productivity and capacity of Ellwood National Steels are further augmented by the installation of a new ladle furnace featuring electric induction-stirred ladles and new cranes. The capacity of ENS is raised to 150,000 ingot tons per year.
A vacuum oxygen decarburization (VOD) unit is installed at Ellwood National Steel, which further expands the steelmaking capabilities into low carbon stainless steels.
Technological and marketing changes continue to reshape the steel industry. As a result, companies like ours cannot afford to rest on the accomplishments of the past. Instead, we must stay focused on the future. To that end, we will continue looking for growth opportunities that make strategic and economic sense.