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Porcelain Products Company's old website (from 2000/2001) claims they were established in 1894, and a Riverside Company press release says PP Co. "traces its roots to 1894 in Carey, Ohio, and has always been in the business of manufacturing porcelain insulators". But since Porcelain Products Inc. didn't start until decades later, this '1894' date must be coming from another of the entities which combined with Porcelain Products Inc. at various times (perhaps National Electric Porcelain Co.?).
Heather's Nostalgic Antiques's Pottery Marks Index says "Porcelain Products, Inc. in Carey, Ohio [...] consisted of 5 companies that were brought together with a merger. Established in 1927. The companies were:
All company activities were moved to Carey, Ohio. Primarily made insulators,
but the Ravenswood Porcelain Co.
manufactured dish sets, jugs, crocks, vases, mugs."
The NIA Manufacturers Timeline says:
Letters Patent 1,060,886 was issued May 6, 1913 to John E. Bicknell of Findlay, Hancock, Ohio, assignor to Findlay Electrical Porcelain Company, for "a certain new and useful Insulator [...] for supporting electric wires or conductors [...] made up of two parts or pieces between which the conductors are clamped".
Insulators.info's Porcelain Photo Gallery and Clint Gaylord's G.P. Co. page shows General Porcelain Co. used the embossing 'G.P. Co.' on their products. CollectingInsulators.com's List of Companies Involved With Radio Strain Insulators shows that General Porcelain Co. manufactured radio strains, and their Ashtrays gallery shows they made porcelain ashtrays.
Elton Gish's New Lexington page says The New Lexington High Voltage Porcelain Co. (N-L) was incorporated in March 1903 in New Lexington, Ohio. N-L was behind in payments on two mortgages, and in 1912 its assets were reincorporated as Consumers Insulator Co. (which operated from October 5, 1912 to November 15, 1914). There were several other transfers of ownership, until General Porcelain Co. purchased the facility and existing stock for $7,750 on June 19, 1918. G.P. Co. then stripped the plant, and resold it to an unknown party on July 25, 1918 (with a 5-year non-compete clause).
Clint Gaylord's G.P. Co. page quotes Jack Tod's porcelain books as saying General Porcelain Co. in Parkersburg, W.V. began producing insulators circa 1923, and ceased production in 1927 when acquired by PP Inc.
Clint Gaylord's PP page says Porcelain Products Inc. was formed in 1927. They used dated markings from 1949 to 1958.
Design Patent 108,489 was issued February 15, 1938 issued to P.P. Inc. of Findlay, Ohio, for Rolland E. Dalton of Fostoria, Seneca, Ohio, for "a new, original, and ornamental Design for Electric Insulators".
The Hancock Historical Musem says Porcelain Products Inc. purchased the Hull-Flater House (which was built in 1881 by Jasper J. Hull, and was one of the first houses to use gas lights) in 1947, and used it as the company's main offices until 1957. The House is located on West Sandusky Street in Findlay, Ohio.
This change in office locations occurred shortly after they were purchased by A. B. Chance Co. Clint Gaylord's PP page quotes Jack Tod's porcelain books as saying "A.B.Chance Co. had acquired all of the Porcelain Products, Inc. operations in 1956. Circa 1959 the plant at Carey, Ohio was renamed Porcelain Products Co., and markings then reflected this new name."
The Hubbell Inc. History page says Hubble Power Systems Incorporated purchased A. B. Chance Industries, Inc. in 1994, "with electrical apparatus, associated hardware, tools, and safety equipment for electric utility applications". (Hubbell also owns Ohio Brass.) A. B. Chance Company's website advertises them as "World Leader in earth anchoring since 1907". Techline Inc.'s manufacturer description says "A. B. Chance Company, a subsidiary of Hubbell Incorporated, was founded in 1907. CHANCE manufactures electric utility transmission and distribution products, as well as products for the telecommunication, construction , pipeline and consumer markets."
Clint Gaylord's Knox page quotes Jack Tod's porcelain books as saying the Knox Porcelain Corp was founded in 1923, and was bought by Porcelain Products Co. in September 1975.
A January 7, 2000 Findlay Courier article says Porcelain Products Co., based in Carey, Ohio, acquired a porcelain manufacturing facility in Macomb, Ill., from Cooper Power Systems, based in Waukesha, Wisconsin, a division of Cooper Industries. "Porcelain Products is the nation's second largest manufacturer of porcelain insulators and related components used in the electric industry. Haywood Bower, president and chief executive officer of Porcelain Products, last year led a management buyout of the company from Carpenter Technologies. The Illinois plant will be the third plant for Porcelain Products. In 1977, the company purchased Knox Porcelain, a Tennessee company. The Illinois facility manufactures porcelain used in distribution equipment; the Tennessee company manufactures overhead distribution insulators; and the Carey plant manufactures assembled porcelain components used in distribution equipment as well as porcelain used in commercial and industrial construction."
A 2001 Riverside Company press release says The Riverside Company, a 'private equity firm' founded in 1988, purchased a controlling interest in Porcelain Products Co. (then based in Carey, Ohio, and one of the largest manufacturers of porcelain insulators in the US) in December 1998.
A 1999 Riverside Company press release says in 1999, Porcelain Products Co. purchased a porcelain manufacturing facility in Macomb, Illinois from Cooper Power Systems (a subsidiary of Cooper Industries), to supplement PP Co.'s existing two plants. "Macomb focuses on manufacturing porcelain used in distribution equipment, the facility in Knoxville specializes in overhead distribution insulators, and Carey emphasizes assembled porcelain components used in distribution equipment as well as porcelain used in commercial and industrial construction." PP Co. has revenues of $40,000,000, making it "the second largest porcelain insulator manufacturer in the U.S., and the fifth largest in the world". Haywood Bower was was PP Co.'s President and CEO until the merger with Ceram.
The Slovak Republic's Antimonopoly Office completed review of the PP Co. and Ceram merger on November 30, 2001. Riverside Holding Company acquired "indirect exclusive control" of CERAM Insulators Holding, GmbH after concluding stock transfers on September 20, 2001. The decision took business effect on December 5, 2001. The RZB Group (Raiffeisen Zentralbank) of Austria says in their 2001 report that they structured the finances for the merger. It also mentions "the US financial magazine Buyouts crowned this transaction the 'Small Market Deal of the Year' ".
A 2001 Riverside Company press release says the original plan was to call the combined company 'The Insulator Group' and move its headquarters to Atlanta, Georgia. (Neither of these things happened.) Ceram was previously owned by Frauenthal Keramik AG, a publicly traded Austrian company.
PPC Insulators Group facts page says Porcelain Products Co. was combined with Ceram Insulators on September 28, 2001 to form a new company called PPC Insulators. It is a privately held company; although owned by Riverside, the operating holding group is based in Vienna, Austria, an adaptation of Ceram's holding group which was located there. The combined companies are capable of producing more than 35,000 tons of electrical insulators each year, in what their old welcome page describes as 9 facilities located on three continents (North America, Europe, and Asia), employing more than 1400 people. The CEO is Vic Maundrell, who had previously been CEO of Ceram. They produce the 'widest porcelain insulator range of any manufacturer in the world', and their insulators are used in more than 70 countries. Catalogs of PPC Insulators's current products are available in PDF format, and some information on their production processes is available in the Ceramic Solutions section. Their only US plant is in Knoxville, Tennessee. US headquarters and central offices (Sales, Purchasing, Accounting, etc), and a custom porcelain assembly workshop, are in Carey, Ohio.
A Knoxville News-Sentinel article from November 7, 2002 says PPC Insulators announced plans to close the Macomb, Illinois plant and laying off 160 people, and consolidating that plant's operations into the Knoxville, Tennessee plant, which is managed by Terry Stemmler. The Knoxville facility's number of jobs doubled from 75 to 150 as a result. A Radio Macomb article from November 26, 2002 says the City of Macomb and McDonough County offered $1 million in incentives to PPC in a failed attempt to convince them to continue the plant's operations. The plant, which employed a total of 171 people, closed by mid-February 2004. Lowderman Auction Company holds an auction liquidating the Macomb plant's equipment on Tuesday March 2, 2004, and has many photos of the items.
In addition to their standard ppcinsulators.com, PPC Insulators also uses the insulator.biz domain.
Power Technology's Contractors index has a summary of PPC's products, with several interesting photos.
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Contact: A.C. Walker