Marion Power Shovel Company

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Marion Power Shovel Company
Industry Machinery manufacturing
Fate Acquired
Successor(s) Bucyrus International, Inc.
Founded Marion, Ohio, United States August 1884 (1884-08)
Founder(s) Henry Barnhart
Edward Huber
George W. King
Defunct July 23, 1997 (1997-07-23)
Headquarters Marion, Ohio, United States
Area served Worldwide
Products
  • 6360 electric excavator
  • 351M dragline excavator

Marion Power Shovel Company designed, manufactured and sold steam shovels, power shovels, excavators, and dragline excavators for use in the construction and mining industries. The company also built the two crawler-transporters used by NASA for transporting the Saturn V rocket and later the Space Shuttle to their launch pads.

Founded in Marion, Ohio in August, 1884 by Henry Barnhart, Edward Huber and George W. King as the Marion Steam Shovel Company, the company grew through sales and acquisitions throughout the 20th century. The company changed its name to Marion Power Shovel Company in 1946 to reflect the industry's change from steam power to diesel power.

The company ceased to be an independent entity when it was sold, becoming the Marion division of Dresser Industries in 1976. In 1992 Dresser spun off the Marion division and certain other assets into a holding company that would eventually become known as Global Industrial Technologies, Inc. Global put the Marion division up for sale in 1997 and its longtime rival Bucyrus International purchased the division for US$40.1 million. Bucyrus integrated the Marion division's products into the Bucyrus product line, then closed the Marion, Ohio, facility.

History[edit]

Marion Steam Shovel Company[edit]

The Marion Steam Shovel Company was established by Henry Barnhart, George W. King and Edward Huber in August 1884. While steam shovels had been made prior to this date in the United States, Barnhart persuaded Huber to financially back his design, which incorporated a stronger bucket support than other makes. Barnhart and Huber patented Barnhart's changes under United States Patent No. 285,100 on September 18, 1883. One element of Barnhart's design was the use of solid iron rods (hog rings) to support the boom of the shovel, which was stronger than simple chain.[citation needed]

Marion Model 91, Culebra Cut, Panama Canal

This machine set the record in July 1908 for moving 53,000 cubic yards (41,000 m3) of earth in 25 eight-hour days after American project management began. Marion built large and small steam shovels for building contractors, railroads and the US Army Corps of Engineers who were building the Panama Canal at the time.[citation needed]

A Marion Model 91, the type used at the Panama Canal, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.[1] Marion was most successful with the Model 20 series contractors shovels (see steam shovel).[citation needed]

During the project Marion Shovels broke world records in amount of cubic earth moved within a given time frame (1908) and greatest amount (8-ton) lifted by a single bucket (1911).[citation needed]

The Type 22 and Type 28 Marion shovels were the most popular. They were the fully revolving, wheel or track contractors shovel. Around 800 were built from 1905-1930. Contractors and road builders found them very useful. Marion also built floating dredges from land reclamation projects and the famous Klondike Gold dredges in Dawson City. Trenching shovels, stripping shovels, railroad shovels and draglines were also built. Large shovels were built for the Ohio open pit coalfields. By the late 1930s, steam gave way to diesel engine.

By 1911 90% of all large bucket steam shovels and draglines were produced in Marion Ohio, which was also the headquarters of Osgood Steam Shovel, Fairbanks Steam Shovel and General Excavating Corporation. (Competitor Bucyrus Steam Shovel was founded 15 miles (24 km) from Marion in nearby Bucyrus, Ohio; the company relocated soon thereafter to Milwaukee, Wisconsin after Bucyrus city officials refused to approve expansion plans for the company.)[citation needed]

Marion 111-M Dragline in action. (30 seconds)

Marion Power Shovel[edit]

In April 1946, the company changed its name to the Marion Power Shovel Company to more closely reflect its products.[citation needed]

Marion built its first walking dragline in 1939 and became a key player in providing giant stripping shovels to the coal industry, being the first to put a long-boom revolving stripping shovel to work in North America in 1911. Marion’s succession of giant shovels, many breaking world size records, starting with The Mountaineer in 1956 which was 16 stories, and could in one shovel shovel load move approximately 90 tons, which was in the 1950s one of the world's largest power shovels.[2] Marion's huge power shovel models eventually culminated in the world’s largest: the 1965 Marion 6360. The 6360 at the Captain Mine, Illinois, operated with a 180 cubic yard (138 cubic meter) dipper. With an estimated weight of 15,000 tons (13,600 tonnes), this machine still holds the record as the heaviest mobile land machine ever built.[citation needed]

One of two crawler-transporters built by Marion and used by NASA for transporting rockets

Marion also designed and built the NASA Crawler-transporter used to transport both the Saturn V rocket and later the Space Shuttle to their launch pads at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.[3]

Osgood Company acquisition[edit]

In 1955, Marion Power Shovel acquired its crosstown rival, the Osgood Company, which manufactured shovels under the Marion-Osgood and Osgood brand names. Osgood's product line complemented Marion Power Shovel's, with most of Osgood's product line focusing on shovels, cranes and draglines that were small capacity machines as opposed to Marion's line, which focused increasingly on high end strip mining draglines. Osgood also built road-ready mobile units that used Mack truck undercarriages.[citation needed]

Acquisition and end[edit]

This Marion Model 91 shovel on display in Le Roy, New York is the only example known to exist. This shovel is included on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Marion Power Shovel Company was refinanced by management in the late 1960s with only the signature guarantee of the primary stockholder, billionaire Henry Hillman, of Pittsburgh, PA and PNC Bank fame. In 1976 Dresser Industries, Inc. purchased Marion Power Shovel for approximately US$250 million. The company grew from 1,500 employees in 1974 to over 3,200 employees by 1978 under the direction of Putt McDowell during the massive growth in coal mining demand of the late 1970s.[citation needed]

By 1992, Dresser Industries had decided to exit the production of industrial and mining equipment. The affected assets, including the Marion division, became part of Indresco, a holding company created by Dresser in 1992 and then spun-off to Dresser shareholders.[4] On November 1, 1995, Indresco changed its name to Global Industral Technologies, Inc.[5]

On January 23, 1997 Global Industrial Technologies announced that it was divesting certain assets, including the Marion division.[6] Global Industrial Technologies sold the Marion Power Shovel Company, which had revenues of US$114.4 million in FY 1996, for US$40.1 million to Bucyrus International, Inc. on July 23, 1997.[7][8][9] Following the acquisition, Bucyrus International closed Marion Power Shovel Company's Marion, Ohio facility.[citation needed]

Historical corporate files and archives for Marion Power Shovel were split between Bowling Green, Ohio's Historical Construction Equipment Association and the Marion County Historical Society in Marion, Ohio.[citation needed]

References & Sources[edit]

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