|Type||Subsidiary of Rexnord|
|Headquarters||Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA|
|Products||Industrial power transmission solutions|
|Revenue||$200 million (2004)|
The Falk Corporation headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, designs, manufactures, and markets non-electrical precision industrial power transmission products for medium and heavy-duty industrial applications.
The company was founded by Franz Falk, who was from Germany and worked at a brewery. In 1848, he left Germany to find work in the United States. In a partnership with Frederick Goes, Falk bought a piece of land in 1856 in the Menomonee Valley on the outskirts of Milwaukee and built "The Bavaria Brewery". Falk died in 1882, and his sons Louis, Frank, Otto, and Herman took over the business. The brewery was destroyed in 1889 by a fire but was rebuilt in 1892. Subsequently, it was destroyed again by fire. Eventually, the sons would sell the brewery to Frederick Pabst.
Herman Falk started his own business with his share of brewery money. With an interest in mechanics, Falk began producing wagon axles. That business would fail, and Herman began a general purpose machine shop next to a building of the Pabst Brewing Company, where he had worked years before. Falk occasionally assisted Pabst, making stage machinery for Milwaukee's Pabst Theater.
In 1888 Falk began focusing on electric street railways. He developed a portable cast welding machine on wheels that would earn his share of work in the rail industry. His invention helped him incorporate "Falk Manufacturing Company" on May 23, 1895. Herman Falk then broadened his work, opening gear shops. The company name was shortened to the "Falk Company" and eventually expanded worldwide. In 2005 the company was bought by Rexnord.
Falk Company explosion, 2006
On December 6, 2006, one of Falk's factories exploded. The factory was the location of the original Falk brewery and original machine shop in the Menomonee Valley. The explosion was caused by a container of 72,000 gallons of propane. The building was destroyed in a fire caused by the explosion. During testing of the factory's backup natural gas supply, some of the natural gas leaked onto the ground. A spark came in contact with the vapors. Three people, Curtis J. Lane, 38, from Oconomowoc; Thomas M. Letendre, 49, from Milwaukee; and Daniel T. Kuster, 35, from Mayville were killed, and forty-six were injured as a result of the explosion. The blast was even felt in other county cities, like New Berlin, and in Brookfield in neighboring Waukesha County. About 125 Milwaukee Fire Department personnel were on the scene. On December 19, 2006, Rexnord's website reported that 500 of the workers affected by the blast had returned to work. In March 2007, the families of the three workers killed in the explosion filed a lawsuit against the company that had been testing the natural gas supply, J. M. Brennan. Brennan argued that if Falk had maintained the pipe correctly, the explosion would not have occurred. The lawsuit is still pending.
- Rexnord to Buy Falk for $295 Million from 7/2005
- Falk Corporation History obtained 12/06/2006
- Rexnord Buys Falk for $295 Million obtained 12/06/2006
- Warehouse Blast in Milwaukee Kills 3 and Injures Dozens from New York Times, 12/06/2006
- Engineering Firm Says It's Not To Blame For Falk Blast from WISC-TV, 12/06/2006
- A hint of trouble, then tragedy from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12/06/2006