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Builder of Marvel saws sold to insiders.

Three employees of Armstrong-Blum Mfg. Co., the producer of Marvel brand sawing machines, have acquired the company from the families of its original founders. Renamed Marvel Manufacturing Co., Inc., the builder will continue to specialize in vertical tilt-frame bandsaws.

The sale was concluded August 26 after eight months of negotiations. Three equal partners--John Petek, Jim Jourdan, and Robert Beach--acquired all rights from the 100 or so stockholders mostly in the fifth generation of the Armstrong family, which had been soliciting buyers. Selling price was not stated.

The company dates back to 1904 in Chicago, and for many years operated out of a plant on Bloomingdale Avenue there. In 1980 it broke ground for a new plant in Oshkosh, Wis., and started running the business from a headquarters office in Mt. Prospect, Ill. A sawblade-manufacturing business in Agawam, Mass., was closed in late 2002 for lack of market share, and in July of last year all operations were consolidated to Wisconsin.

In its early years Armstrong-Blum produced hacksawing machines, and in 1917 it moved into vertical bandsaws, producing sawing hands for the new line by welding hacksaw blades together. For decades the company was content to produce the tilt-frame cutoff machines it pioneered, and in 1992 it was offering a dozen models. More recently, however, the advent of sophisticated controls and automated feeding mechanisms has greatly expanded the product line, and there are now 70 different variations offered.

The company currently has annual revenues in the $15--to $20--million range, according to VP Bob Beach, and exports are around 10% of the total with machines going to Europe, Taiwan, China, Mexico, and Canada. Plans call for experts to grow to 20% of output.

Customers in the fabricating industries account for three-fifths of sales, with plants in the chipmaking industries taking the other two-fifths. Downstream, the new owners are considering expanding the lines to include other classes of machines used by their customer base, including possibly ironworkers.

Marvel Manufacturing Co. Inc., Oshkosh, Wis. 920-236-7200.
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Publication:Metalworking Insiders' Report
Date:Sep 30, 2004
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