Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

History of McGill Manufacturing at Culver  

Sep. 1965 negotiations were made for a factory finally came to Culver - Mc Gills Manufacturing Inc. they manufatured precision ball & roller bearings, specially engineered needle, roller & ball bearings.

New Industry In Prospect For Culver

    Saie Of Land Site On State Road 17 To Valparaiso Firm Is Slated Friday

    The sale of a 58-acre industrial site on Culver 's west side to McGill Manufacturing Co., of Valparaiso, a leading manufacturer of precision roller bearings, will take place at 1 p.m. Friday, according to the Jaycees' Industrial Committee, which has charge of the arrangements.

    Shown is location at southeast corner of Mill Street and new State Road 17 which will be the site of proposed new Culver plant of McGill Manufacturing Co. of Valparaiso. Sale of land with 780 feet frontage on Mill Street and 3,200 feet on the highway, will take place Friday
    The sale of the land, presently o w n e d by Mr. and Mrs. George Franz, is sched uled to take place in the State Exchange Bank offices of W. O. Osborn, who is representing the sellers as their attorney in the transaction. The Valparaiso company said it hopes to start construction of a one-story 60,000 square foot manufacturing plant at ithe site by November 1.

    B e f o r e the formal transfer of tlhe property, the principals to the transaction, with representatives of t h e local Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, Town Board, and local and area press will be guests at a noon luncheon sponsored by the Jaycees, at which time representatives of McGill will be introduced.

    The new plant will be known as the Culver plant of the Bearings Division, McGill Manufacturing Co., according to Ron McKee, spokesman for the Jaycees. McKee and Roy Nicodemus, Jaycees president, led the delegation which has been engaged in negotiations with the Valparaiso company over a period of several months.

    Expected to be on hand for the formal closing of the sale, and representing the company, are Charles S. McGill Jr . , son of McGiill's president, who will represent his father; Robert D. Anderson, executive vice-president and director; and Allyn Williamson, vice-president and plant manager at Valparaiso.

    Rumors that McGill would come to Culver and the town would have its first manufacturing industry were widespread in recent weeks, but public announcement was delayed, first to permit the rezoning of the tract at the southeast corner of Mill Street and New Stat Road 17 to industrial, and later to permit the soil tests which were required before the company could be assured that it would make a suitable building site. It was also known that neighboring towns were in intensive competition for the new plant.

    Rezoning action took place on Monday, August 9 when the Town Board voted unanimously to rezone the tract from " S " suburban and " B1 " local business to " M 2 " heavy industrial . Earlier, the P l an Commission recommended rezoning when no objections were heard at a public hearing. Soil analysis teats which were just completed at the site have proved to be highly favorable, Jaycees reported.

    The company said it plans to construct a building having 60,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 10,000 square feet of office space of such design that the facility can be readily expanded to meet anticipated future growth. Design specifications for the construction for -the purpose of submitting the work to competitive bids are now being drawn. The company said it hopes to be ininitial production by early summer of 1966 w i t h a payroll of 25 to 35 employees. Culver Jaycees drew praise for the first major success in their industrial expansion program which was launched just last February with the formation of the 12-man Industrial Promotion Committee.

    Northern Indiana Public Service Co., which provides natural gas and electric service in this area and will supply the new plant, was credited with introducing McGill to the Jaycee committee, and provided helpf ul assistance at other times during thenegotiations.

    McGill is an old line Valparaiso company, with over 50 years of continuous operation at Valparaiso, and currently employs over 800 in the manufacture of Levolier switches and sockets, McGill portable lamp guards, M ultirol and Guiderol precision needle type roller bearings and Camrol cam follower roller bearings. It has also recently entered into the molded plastics field.

    McKee, immediate past Jaycee president under whose leadership the club undertook industrial development, said no one Jaycee deserved special credit for the group's progress, but termed the work a united effort, with a lot of work going into the program, and helpf ul assistance coming from many sources. He lauded the 12-man Jaycee committee which has spearheaded the campaign. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1965
Historical Society of Porter County - History of McGill Manufacturing
2 pages -

    History of McGill Manufacturing

    Manufacturing Near the turn of the century, James H. McGill founded the Crescent Company located in Chicago, Illinois. In 1905, he moved his company to Valparaiso, Indiana where it continued as the Crescent Company until December 1st, 1910 when the name was changed to McGill Manufacturing. The first products were for the electrical industry and included wire guards for lamps, cord spools, socket handles, coloring fluid for incandescent light b ulbs, chatterton compound and other electrical specialties.

    McGill ManufacturingNear the turn of the century, James H. McGill founded the Crescent Company located in Chicago, Illinois. In 1905, he moved his company to Valparaiso, Indiana where it continued as the Crescent Company until December 1st, 1910 when the name was changed to McGill Manufacturing. The first products were for the electrical industry and included wire guards for lamps, cord spools, socket handles, coloring fluid for incandescent light b ulbs, chatterton compound and other electrical specialties.

    In 1910 the Levolier switch was developed following the purchase of the Despard- Gordon Company who manufactured a light socket containing a novel switching mechanism. This switching mechanism evolved into the Levolier switch which when first marketed was an immediate success. This development proved to be an extremely profitable product and these profits enabled Mr. McGill to dabble in a variety of other sidelines such as automotive carburetors, floor start switches, venetian blinds, golf clubs, small blow torches, washing machines, laxatives, gyroscopes, cracker jack whistles, time clocks, and even a venture in gold mining.

    The Electrical Division steadily expanded its product line with the addition of toggle, snap-action, rocker and push button switches as well as lamp guards, sockets, cord reels, bench lights, and lamp changers. The McGill trademark, Levolier, was synonymous with quality among electrical wholesalers and contractors. McGill became major producer of switches for a m ultitude of electrical products including washers, dryers, ovens, fans, power tools, blenders, and more.

    Along the way, McGill acquired a nonferrous foundry which in 1910 was housed in a separate building on north Lafayette Street to produce permanent mold, sand, and hydra ulic pressure castings of aluminum bronze. The McGill metal company was formed and among other products, they developed a line of bronze retainers for ball bearings and sold them to the Strom Bearing Company of Chicago, Illinois.

    The Strom bearings using these cages known as super Strom were sold to machine tool manufacturers and to premium automobile manufacturers such as Duesenberg, Cord, Chrysler, Packard, and Rolls Royce. About 1924, Strom sold the bearing portion of their business. A number of ex-Strom employees moved to Valparaiso and led by Mr. Frank Shubert in 1925, interested McGill in producing bearings using the aluminum bronze retainers formerly sold through Strom. The initial production had the trademark Shubert, but in late 1926 or early 1927 all bearings produced were marked McGill.

    In the years that followed, McGills introduced and patented the M ultirol bearing, the first self-contained f ull-type needle roller bearing and the first roller bearing cam later trademarked as Camrol. Later, Guiderol, the first heavy-duty roller bearing with center-guided rollers; Cagerol retainer type roller bearing; Sphere-rol, the first single-row spherical roller bearing with built in seals; and the Nyla-K Mounted ball bearings (pillow block) were developed and contributed to making McGill a nationally recognized leading source of precision bearings.

    After incorporation, McGill expanded and built additional plants in Valparaiso, Malden, Culver , and Monticello, IN, El Paso, TX and Taiwan. Emerson bought McGill in 1990, and McGill/EPT in Valparaiso is the headquarters of Emerson Power Transmission Division.

In the 18 Sep. 1965 Issue of the Plymouth Pilot Vol. 114 No. 219 pg. 1 - there is an article of the purchase of the 57 acres from George Franz.

    1st Major Industry Moves Into Culver

    Culver will have its first major industry in the history of the town with the signing of land deeds and the purchase of ground at the west edge of town Friday afternoon in the office of W. O. Osborn, president of the Culver State Exchange Bank.

    The McGill Manufacturing Company in Valparaiso just announced the purchase of 57 acres of land at the west edge of Culver for a new plant. President Charles S. Mc Gill said the initially 20 acres of the land acquired from George Franz will be devoted to grounds and plant of some 60,000 square feet.

    According to McGill, the new building, that will face State Road 17 south of Mills street will be started in early november with completion sched uled for next May. An initial work force of 25 is expected to be increased to 60 production employees for the first year. Eventual possibilies including adding space to accomodate up to 200 people.

    This Culver Bearing Division will represent an investment of a half million dollars in land and buildings. Necessary new machinery will eventually increase this to two million dollars plus equipment to be noved from the prarent plant in Valparaiso. Moving this equipment will allow for further expansion with new machinery especially adapatable to the bearing types to be produced here in the future.

    Credit Jaycees

    Negotiations for bringing the McGill Manufacturing Company, Inc. of Culver were started several months ago by the industrial development committee of the Culver Jaycees, headed by Ron Mc Kee and Ray Nicodemus.

    Franz purschased the farm of 187 acres in 1957 when he moved to Culver from Crown Point. He stated he will continue to farm the reamining 130 acres.

    Allyn Williamson, vice president and plant manager at Valparaiso stated the reason for locating at Culver was because of the labor market and friendly relations of the of the citizens of Culver and hard work the Jaycee committee put into convincing company officials to locate here.

    Robert Anderson, executive vice-president of the firm stated the company wii be paying its own way standing the expenses of extending water and sanitary sewer service to the plant. He said the building will be constructed of pre-fab ins ulated steel and concrete block.

    Anderson stated key personnel will move to Culver to provide the extensive training program to employees.
McGill Plant Seen Ready By May '66
    Bearings Plant Will Hire Both Men, Women As Initial Force Is Expanded

    OFFICIALS of McGill Manufacturing Co., Valparaiso and Culver Jaycees who led the negotiations which res ulted in the company's location of its new plant here are shown during the officials visit in Culver last week. Seated are, from left, A. B. Williamson, vice-president and general manager of McGill's Bearing Division; Robert D. Anderson, executive vice-president; and James C. McGill, secretary of the company. Standing are, from left, Jaycees Ronald McKee, Donald Muehlhausen, and Roy Nicodemus.

    Young men with mechanical aptitude who are interested in earning machinist's qualifications will be sought when McGill Manufacturing Co. begins hiring for its new Culver plant, probably in May of next year.

    This was brought out during interviews with McGill officials who were in Culver last Friday to complete the purchase of land at Mill Street and State Road 17, which will be the site of the new factory.

    Allyn B. Williamson, vice president and general manager of the Bearing Division, said that after a gradual build-up to a f ull manufacturing facility, a number of women — up t o 25 percent of the work force — wil'l be employed to serve in assembly and inspection at the new bearing plant. Construction of the plant w i l l start in early November, according to Company President C h a r l e s S. M c G i l l , with completion expected by May, 1966.

    An initial work force of 25 is expected to be increased to 60 production employees during the first year' s operation, and event u a l possibilities indlude adding space to accommodate up to 200 people the company stated. Only 20 acres of the 58-acre site a re being used in the initial construction. The new Culver Bearings Division will represent an investment of a half-million dolllars in larol and buildings, the company said. Necessary new machinery will eventually increase this to two million dolflars, plus equipment to be moved from the parent bearing division plant in Valparaiso. Moving this equipment will allow for futher expansion with new machinery especially adaptable to the bearing types to be produced here in the future.

    The Culver plant wiill have m ultiple spindle automatic screw machines, heat treat facilities for hardening and carburizing, plus grinders and tool room. Robert D. Anderson, McGilll executive vice president, said that initially small roller bearing CAMROL cam follower product i on would be transferred to Culver . As facilities are expanded and new people trained, all production of this McGilll innovation will be moved from Valparaiso to Culver . It is expected that the Culver division will be complete, with stocking and shipping facilities, under a plant manager who will be transferred along with a limited — number (four or five) key supervisory people from Valparaiso. Construction and operation of the new division will be under direct supervision of Mr. Williamson.

    Design engineering, sales and general management. functions will remain in Valparaiso, where McGill employs over 850 people to produce anti-friction bearings and electrical specialties in two modern, well equipped plants. Combined sales of both B e a r i ng and Electrical Divisions approximate 14 m i l l i o n dollars annually.

    McGill Manufacturing Company, Inc., was founded near t he turn of the century by the late James H. McGill in Chicago and moved to Valparaiso in 1905. The original name was The Crescent Company. The first products were essentials of the growingelectrical industry such as lamp b ullb guards, cord spools, drop cord adjusters, socket handles, baby gasoline torches, coloring fluid for b ulbs, etc. The well-known line of Levolier switches was developed in 1918, along w i t h the beginning of what is now t he most complete line of quality stationary and portable lamp guards on the market today.

    In the early 1920's the McGill Metal Company was formed and made cast bronze precision ball, retainers for the old Super Strom ball bearings which were used extenisitvely in machine tools and in early custom-built automobiles. When the Strom Company was sold to the Marlin Rockwell Corporation, this source of extra quality bearings was interrupted and these same precision minded customers persuaded McGill to add a bearing division in 1925. Ball and roller bearings were developed under the SCHUBERT trademark and later changed to the company name of McGill as the extra precisian quality bearing line for the machine tool industry. In 1931 the M ulTIROL bearing, the firs t self-contained f ull two needle coller bearings was introduced and patented. At about this time McGill designed and patented the first roller bearing cam follower now trademarked CAMROL

    In the decades that followed, GUIDEROL, the first heavy-duty rollers; CAGEROL retainer-type roller bearings with center-guided rollers; CAGEROL retainer-type SPHERE-ROL the f i r s t single row roller bearings and most recently, spherical roller bearing with built-in seals each contributed to making McGill a nationally recognized source of precision bearings.

    McGill bearings have won exceptionally high acceptance among manufacturers of precision industrial machinery, hydra ulic pumps machine tools, earthmoving and construction machinery to name but a f ew customer categories.The McGill customer list includes hundreds of types of products which require high-quality, dependable bearings. Duri ng World War II, McGill was a major producer of tank bearings and has continued as a source of precision bearings for the nation's military and space equipment.

    The Electrical Division has also steadily expanded i ts product line with the addition of toggle, snapaction and a variety of types of switches as w e l l as lamp guards, sockets and lamp changers. The McGill trademark Levolier has been synonymous with quality among electrical wholesalers and contractors for over 50 years. Re centlv McGill has success fully invaded the original equipment market to put switches on washers , dryers, movie lights, outboard motors, electric fans, ovens, etc.

    McGill recently held an open house to show over 4,500 employees families and friends the newest bearing plant addition of 55,000 square feet. This was the fourth step in a planned expansion) program that included a new heat treating building i n 1961, a plant addition of 45,000 square feet in 1957 and new offices and manufacturing space in 1953.

    The Bearing Division has over 20 f ull-time direct company representatives in principal cities throughout the United States. In addition McGill bearings are sold through leading authorized bearing distributors here and abroad

    Electrical Division porducts are also advertised and sold on a national basis through a score of representatives and hundreds of electrical wholesalers.

    McGill bearings and switches are used by leading manufacturers of a wide variety of well-known products from appliances to aircraft. After 60 years of growth. McGill continues to emphasize new product development for ever increasing markets. T h e r e are many reasons to believe that growth to date is justa beginning - -THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 1965
1965 - oct. 14 - New Plant Manager Is Announced
    Roy Nichodemus, Jaycee president, has reported that eight representatives of the Jaycee Industrial Committee traveled to Valparaiso Wednesday, Oct. 6, to be guests of the MoGill Corp. The Jaycees were Donald Muehlhausen, co-chairman, Latha m Lawson, Jerry Wolfe, Bill Stubbs, Charley Edgington, Bob Kline, Bill Snyder and Eddie Amond.

    Harold Fritz, production superintendent at Valparaiso, was introduced to the Jaycees as the new plant manager of the Culver McGill factory.

    Following a plant tour and a meeting with McGill officers, the Industrial Committee representatives were guests at a dinner a, Wellman' s Restaurant.

    The Jaycee committee was responsible for attracting McGill to build a bearing factory in Culver .

    Groundbreaking ceremonies are sched uled for November 1.

1965 - Oct. 28 - Bids Received On New Culver Plant
McGill Manufacturing Co., Valparaiso, has received bids from three companies seeking the general contract for building the new McGill bearings plant in Culver .

According to word received here, the companies who submitted bids for tihe construction were Thomas Hickey Construction Co., South Bend, Tonn & Blank, Inc.

Michigan City, and Norco Engineering of Lafayette. It is expected that announcement of the w i n n i ng contractor will be made shortly.

Ground breaking ceremonies for the new Culver plant have been postponed from the original November 1 target date due to some changes in building specifications which required the bidders to revise their plans.

I t is now anticipated that ground breaking at the West Mill St. site will take place about November 15.

1965 - Nov. 4 - irotand Breaking At lew McGsi! Site Ss Set For Friday; Pubiic Invited
    Ground breaking ceremonies at the site of the new McGill Manufacturing Co. plant will take place at 3 p.m. Friday, according to Ron McKee, a member of the Jaycees industrial development committee.

    Charles McGill, president of the company, will lead the delegation of McGill officials from Valparaiso who will take part in the ceremony. Also expected to attend will be representatives of Culver Jaycees, Town Board, Chamber of Commerce, and Lions Club. The public is invited to attend the ceremony which will take place at the Mill Street and new Road 17 factory site

    Tonn & B l a n k , Inc., of Michigan City, h a s been selected by McGill as the successful bidder and general contractor for the new plant.

    A. B. W i l l i a m s o n , Vice President and Bearing Division General Manager, also said that Koomtz-Wagner Electric Co., South Bend, was awarded the contract for all electrical work. Total cost approximates $800,000. Construction is planned to begin within the week, w i t h completion sched uled for next May.

    This new plant for the manufacture of CAMROL Cam Follower bearings will contain 66,000 square feet of production space w i t h an additional 6,000 square feet devoted to offices. Plant layout calls for an attractive building 300 feet wide by 220 feet deep w i t h office space to be 150 feet by 40 feet in center front. It will be of steel construction above poured concrete footing and cement block base five feet high.

    Windows will be used in the office section only. Extensive landscaping provides for a circ ular drive in frornt with access and p a r k i n g from Mill Street.

    Construction and general plant layout is planned so that additional space can be added easily to the rear along Mill Street as needed.

    The front, including office space, faces new Indiana 17 just west of Culver city limits.
1965 - Nov. 11 Construction Work Begins At New McGiil Bearing Plan!

    Work is underway on construction of the new $800,000 Bearing Division plant of McGill Manufacturing Co. at the west edge of Culver . Official grouund breaking ceremonies took place last Friday at the factory site, attended by McGill's President Charles McGill, other company officers, and representatives of local government and service organizations.

    Plans call for the completion of the 300 x 220-foot building facing on new State Road 17 with entry from Mill Street, by next June 1. The new building will be of steel construction above a five-foot base of cememt blocks. Fronting the main building w i l l be a 40 x 150- foot office.

    Twenty acres of the 55-acre site will be devoted initially to the new plant of 72,000 square feet, including 6,000 square feet of office space.

    At the ground breaking ceremony, Charles McGill turned the first shovel of dirt which signalled the start of the plant's construction. Other McGill officials who took part were James C. McGill, son of the president who Is company secretary; A. B. Williamson vice president and Bearing Division general manager; H. R. Warner, treasurer; D. C. Whitesell, director of advertising, and Harold Fritz, production superintendent.

    Representing the community were Roy Nicodemus, president of Culver Jaycees; Wilber Taylor, president of the Chamber of Commerce; Al Poppe, president of the Lions Club, and Edgar Shaw, of_ the Culver Town Board.

    Tonn and Blank, Inc., of Michigan City, is the general contractor with electrical work to be done by Koontz-Wagner Inc., South Bend.

    Plans call for construction to be completed by June 1, with the installation of the latest in new machinery to be installed and operating by fall of 1966. New equipment cost in addition to the machinery to bo moved from Valparaiso will exceed $1,250,000, according to Williamson.

    McGill will begin manufacturing CAMROL Cam Follower bearings at the Culver plant with 25 to 30 people and plan to increase this to as many as 60 production workers the first year as rapidly as people can be trained. Eventual work force will approximate 200, said Mr. Williamson. Expansion of the production area can be handled easily with the addition of bays at the back of the original building.

    The McGill Company was founded in 1905 to produce electrical specialties and the Bearing Division was added in 1925. Innovations in heavy duty needle roller bearings and the creation of the cam follower bearing has elevated McGill to leadership in the industry . Another new McGill bearing concept known as the SPHEREROL spherical roller bearing offers protective seals for the first time in this type bearing.

    The new plant is the first for McGill outside of Valparaiso, where the company employs over 850 in two divisions.

    Further expansion with smaller plants is planned for the future. Charles McGill said today that new plant locations will favor areas where employment potential for people trainable for our required skills is greatest.

    A plant manager to be announced later will be moved from Valparaiso along with a few key supervisory people. Those interested in future employment should contact the Personnel Department at the parent plant in Valparaiso for details.
1965 - Nov. 18 - McGill Will Move New Plant Mgr., Other Key People
    McGill Manufacturing company, Inc. has announces thatHarold fritz has been named plant manager of the new Bearing Plany in Culver , A. B. Williamson, Division Vice-President and General Manager, said the fritz willbe releived of his present duties as probduction superintendent at Valporaison immediately to spend f ull time waith the new plant for which gournd was broken November 6.

    fritz will take a few key people from the Valparasio operation and plans to secure production employees fom the Culver area. He expects to spend most of the time in Culver as the new plant nears completion and will move his wife, theda and two daughters here in the spring, Judith Erae is in graduate work at the University oc chicago and Merrllee is a freshman at Indiana University.

    Harold fritz came to McGill in 1962 as plant engineer and was promoted to production superintendent in December, 1963. He had been in plant engineering work for several years beofre joining mcgill. He is a native of Niles, Mich. and graduated from nichigan State University with a B.S.M.E. degree.

    The new Culver plant will be completed by June 1, 1866, and new machinery installed so that production can begin by next fall. The initial plant will be 300 feet by 220 feet with added office space of 100 by 40 feet. Location is just west of Culver city limits at the corner of Mill Street and Indiana 17

    Production of CAMROL cam follower bearings will be moved to the new plant to make room for further expansion of the McGill bearing production in Valparaiso Williamson said.


December 19 – Donald Hamilton has been appointed new manager of McGills…


1973 - McGills double the plant size.

1974 - MARCH 28 STRIKE ENDS IN CULVER McGILL STRIKERS RETURN TO WORK Striking workers at McGill Bearing Co.'s Culver plant resumed work Monday after a settlement was reached following a Sunday meeting at the Culver Eagles lodge.

The strikers had been out for several weeks, following a breakdown in negotiations between union members and management.

Union members asked for a $4.00 Culver salaries to a level equal to that of salaries in the firm's Valparaiso plant. The demand was refused, and the strike resulted.

Dissident strikers began agitating for compromise, and the Sunday settlement resulted.


1985 - A stike started in the early part of the year -

1985 - May McGills Manufacturing Inc. leaves Culver in May after several months of Union strike.

    The International Association of Machininists and Aerospace workers met with representatives of the McGill Manufacturing Comompany on Wedensday and reached an agreement on a new contract after the company earlier today announced plans to close the plant.

    The Union had been on strike since March 1, primarily over seniority rights. Only about 60 of the 275 salaried workers are back on the job. The plant will close no later than July 31. - 5 June 1985 Culver Citizen.

Skip Higgins writes:
    First, let me explain that my first Maxinkuckee experiences began in about 1950. My grandparents rented a home on the east shore, near the general store and its flowing well or spring... They were only there until about 1952... As early as 1964, when I served as a Woodcraft Camp counselor,...

    I've been back to Culver and Maxinkuckee many times over the years. I live in Indianapolis now. I have many friends and acquaintances from here who own places on the east shore...

    I was involved in helping McGill Manufacturing find a tenant for their plant when they decided to close it down. I worked at F.C. Tucker at the time, and we were fortunate to find Walker Muffler in Racine, WI to rent the plant and make mufflers. One of the McGill executives from Valpo and I drove to Racine in about 1985 to discuss their buying the plant. I think that's about the time Walker was being acquired by Tennaco, and so it was too complicated or distracting to consider buying real estate, so I don't think they did.