4437 Bragdon Street
PO Box 26226
Indianapolis, IN 46226
| HISTORY |
September 1, 1946, Stanley Malless, Ralph M. Burns and Ora E. Hooker founded The Permanent Magnet Company. Ora Hooker had worked in the magnet manufacturing business and had spent much of his life in that field. Ralph Burns, Texas University graduate, had experience in the finance, accounting and insurance fields. Stan Malless, a Purdue graduate, had previous magnet manufacturing experience, as well as production and planning experience with the Chrysler Corporation and Chevrolet Commercial Body. Stan Malless and Ralph Burns had recently returned from World War II military service. These three friends formed the partnership, which resulted in this successful magnet business.
The three men constructed, by themselves, a small Quonset hut and installed an old Blanchard grinder, a double-spindle side grinder, a punch press and a small heat-treating furnace. A pot-bellied wood and coal-burning stove heated the building. On winter nights the water in the Blanchard coolant tank would often freeze, and the men had to break or thaw ice before production could begin. While working, employees often wore mittens to keep their hands warm. During break periods, employees and owners pitched pennies at a wall. Later, a horseshoe pit was built next to the building and employees and owners pitched horseshoes during lunch periods.
In those early years, products were limited to 17% and 36% cobalt steel magnets formed from bar stock. On April 1, 1948 the company was incorporated as The Permanent Magnet Company, Inc.
During the following decade the company grew modestly, expanding its product line and acquiring new customers. The company also began purchasing Alnico castings to grind into finished parts. Mr. Malless and Mr. Burns visited prospective customers and handled correspondence, while Mr. Hooker ran the production operation.
In 1950 the company built an addition along the south side of the Quonset hut. By 1954 our increased business required another major expansion, and the company built a new plant completely surrounding the Quonset hut. During construction, all production continued inside the hut. All employees participated in some way building the new plant. When the roof was completed, employees dismantled the Quonset hut from inside the new building. Part of the roofing cost was offset by selling the hut to the roofing contractor. This Quonset hut remains in use by the roofing company here in Indianapolis.
By 1957 our Alnico business had increased to justify manufacturing our own castings. In that year the company began constructing the foundry, and in 1958, we formed the subsidiary corporation, Permanent Magnet Castings, Inc. to produce Alnico castings.
Both companies entered a new period of faster growth. Because of high standards and clever innovations, our products were well accepted and demand increased. Again, the company outgrew its facilities and in 1965, we made additions to the foundry, shipping, production and office areas. At that time Permanent Magnet Castings, Inc. was merged with the Permanent Magnet Company, Inc..
Other developments occurred in the 1960's. In 1962 the company established Permanent Magnet Devices, Inc. with the intent to sell assemblies containing our magnets. This subsidiary company made electromagnets, magnetic separators, magnetic handling devices, magnetic clutches, magnetizers and demagnetizers. Although these products were of high quality, they could not compete with those from long-established competitors. In 1975 Permanent Magnet Devices was dissolved. Since then the company has concentrated on manufacturing only permanent magnets rather than including electromagnets.
In 1969 the company added another addition for material storage. Again we outgrew the facility and in 1974 added our 4000 square foot warehouse.
In 1975 Mr. Hooker retired. In the following year the company purchased Rare Earth Scientific Inc. of Orlando, Florida, and moved the operation to Indianapolis. This purchase added the capability of producing the new, high-energy magnets made of rare-earth elements.
In 1981 the company expanded its product line again by purchasing Sintermagnetics Inc. of Valparaiso, Indiana, and moving the operation to our plant. Sintered magnets are manufactured from metal powders pressed to shape and put through a heating or "sintering" process. Small magnets of simple or intricate design lend themselves to sintering, thereby eliminating need for casting and expensive grinding. We have enjoyed success with this product line.
Ralph Burns retired in 1985, and remained semi-active in the company operations until his death in March of 2003.
In 1986 we added a small addition to house our air compressors and air drying equipment. During 1987, we added another addition and expanded the rare earth manufacturing area in preparation for new equipment.
In 1989 we increased our product line with the purchase of injection molding equipment from I. G. Technologies of Valparasio, Indiana to aluminum clad permanent magnets. We have experienced better-than-expected results of this acquisition. Also, we completed the installation of new rare earth manufacturing equipment.
We have always based our well-planned company expansion on a desire to provide better service to our many fine customers. We do not expand just to become larger. For over 57 years we have weathered economic recessions and preserved jobs while many other companies went out of business. Our growth and prosperity are due largely to conservative business practice, and we like to credit our success to this conservative philosophy.