James McClenaghen emigrated from Northern Ireland to the American mainland due to religious persecution. Upon his arrival in the Thirteen Colonies, McClenaghen purchased a great deal of land in Pennsylvania and began his life anew. The McClenaghen family’s determination to succeed in the new world pushed on through the American Revolution as they supported their patriot friends on the path to victory and the birth of independence in America.
A Dynasty Begins
Following the Revolutionary War, the family name changed to McLanahan and a son, James Craig McLanahan, was welcomed into the world on May 22, 1794
James Craig grew into a hardworking young man who was determined to build a name for himself. In 1810, He traveled north to Blair County from his family farm near Greencastle, Pa., and began his career in the iron industry. He started by keeping the books for his uncle’s foundry near Williamsburg (Cove Forge, as it was known), and he became set on learning all that he could about the industry.
After his work at his uncle’s foundry, McLanahan took another job managing a larger forger in Spruce Creek before becoming the manager of operations at one of the area’s largest forges, Bedford Forge.
While at Bedford Forge, he was introduced to the owner's daughter, Elizabeth King. The two fell in love and were married on May 15, 1827.
Creation of the Company
Looking for an opportunity to move into the ownership side of the forge business, James Craig McLanahan took on two investment partners (known only by their last names), Evans and Devine, and bought majority ownership in a foundry operation.
McLanahan, Evans, and Devine created the Bellerophon Foundry in Gaysport. Named after a hero from an ancient Greek legend, the Bellerophon Foundry quickly experienced ownership changes when Devine was bought out by Michael Kelley. Kelley’s small machine and blacksmith shop paired with Bellerophon and the business began to expand.
In 1848, McLanahan bought out his original parnter, Evans. Together with his remaining partner Kelley, the men moved the foundry into a canal warehouse situated on a riverbank in Gaysport, renaming the business Kelley and McLanahan.
1835 in Perspective
The Next Generation
In 1849, at the age of 21, James Craig's oldest son, John King McLanahan (known as King) joined the family business, running the operations as Manager.
Prior to joining the family business, King had worked as a clerk for Pennsylvania millionaire Dr. Peter Shoenberger, who had vast investments in mining and iron ore refining. At the age of 16, this allowed King to learn the ropes of iron ore refining and iron furnaces.
When he was 17, James sent King off to Philadelphia for a three-year apprenticeship with Baldwin Locomotive Works. After completing the program, King supervised the construction of a steam locomotive for use by the Pennsylvania Canal Company.
In 1850, less than a year after King joined the company, the Kelley and McLanahan foundry burned down at a total loss. Undaunted, King and his father designed a bigger and better foundry building. The operation resumed in 1851, and production returned to expected levels.
McLanahan & Stone
When King left the company in 1852, James Craig hired Colonel William Stone to take over King's role as Foundry Foreman. Stone, who had previously been in charge of moulding at the George R. McFarland Foundry in Hollidaysburg, would come to play a key role in the company.
King McLanahan came back to the company in 1855, using his expertise to design and sell blast furnaces and steam boilers for other manufacturers in the region. Building this machinery in Hollidaysburg, the foundry became the first successful coke furnace to make foundry metal in the United States.
James Craig had taken on various partners over the years, leading to changing names, but in 1858, J. King McLanahan and Colonel William Stone bought out the investors and renamed the foundry McLanahan and Stone. This partnership with the McLanahan and stone family would span generations and proof a beneficial one.
Samuel Calvin McLanahan, King's younger brother, had previously worked for the family company at the age of 14, managing the company's books. Some accounts credit him with organizing the first accounting system for the company. In 1860, he was hired by his brother as an apprentice.
Three years later, Samuel Calvin left to join the Civil War as part the United States Navy, which he would serve in until 1869.
A New Home
In the coming years, the scope of the business would change greatly. As the American Civil War got underway a year later, production and revenue rose thanks to the increased demand for war materials, but on March 31, 1863, disaster struck again. In those days, it was common practice to embed molds for large items into the foundry floor. On that March day, rising river water seeped into the building and found a mold filled with hot iron. An enormous explosion followed, leveling the entire foundry and shop areas adjacent to it.
J. King, James Craig, and William Stone worked to survey the damage and find a future for the company. Instead of rebuilding, McLanahan and Stone continued operations in a small temporary foundry. In the meantime, they purchased the foundry, two brick buildings and all the equipment from the Portage Railroad Car and Locomotive Repair Shop in Gaysport.
By September 1863, the new facility was ready for use and operations were moved in. This property continues today as the current location of McLanahan Corporation's headquarters today.
Post-War and the Passing of the Torch
The Civil War came to an end in April 1865. Not long after, family patriarch and company founder James Craig passed away at the age of 71.
At this time, leadership passed to King and Col. Stone. With the help of various investors taken on during this time, King and Stone installed retort coke ovens, which enabled the production of a purer form of iron, while recovering impurities and byproducts. This cutting-edge technology allowed the company to enter new markets, including the casting and manufacture of forge hammers, iron heating and cooking stoves, plows, furnaces, and other products.
Having been discharged from the Navy in 1869, Samuel Calvin returned to the company in April 1876 as Shop Foreman. King continued to manage all operations, while Andrew Stone, son of Col. Stone, worked as Foundry Foreman.
The Rise of Samuel Calvin
Samuel Calvin returned from service and was made the shop foreman. J. King continued to run operations into the late 19th century along with Samuel Calvin. While King was still technically a part of the company, he was not at the foundry often because he held a variety of other business interests. During that time, partners Andrew T. Stone and William Bayley worked as Foundry Foreman and ran the office, respectively. As the years progressed, Samuel Calvin essentially took over (though King retained the position of President) and steered the company toward the production of heavy machinery, focusing primarily on the mining industry. With Samuel Calvin’s ascension, the company was stable and prosperous again following the recession of the late-19th century.
As the company expanded, they shifted from on-order production to making machinery that others sought out. They introduced the ore jig and created the first Log Washers. Under Samuel Calvin, the company designed and sold a variety of other machines, still primarily for the mining industry.
Fire destroyed the machine shop and its patterns for casting work. Fires were not uncommon for the company at the time, but this one seemed particularly devastating. Samuel Calvin's determination to get the company back in shape resulted in him leasing a temporary machine shop while he rebuilt the destroyed shop and installed new machinery. During this time, the company did not lose a single order.
The company experienced relative stability in the 1880s.
John King McLanahan, Jr. joined the company as a machinist’s apprentice.
Over time, the plant continued to expand and the federal patent for the Log Washer was obtained.
The Single Roll Crusher was created, an innovative and extremely successful machine for the company.
Emergence of Ward
Ward McLanahan led an illustrious young life. Not only did he study at Yale, but he also set the world record (since eclipsed) for pole vaulting. In 1904, Ward placed fourth as a member of the U.S. Olympic Pole Vaulting team at the Olympics in St. Louis, Mo.
Turn of the 20th Century
The McLanahan Company prospered into the early 20th century during the boom of the American Industrial Revolution. This period transitioned into World War I, which once again saw production rise thanks to the demand for war materials. During this time, the company’s manufacturing processes began converting from steam engines to motorized electrical power.
In 1918, a fire destroyed the shops and damaged many facilities but gave the company an opportunity to update their machinery and convert to electrical power. Following WWI, McLanahan emerged as a nationally-recognized leader in heavy equipment fabrication and applications, but they experienced the loss of J. King late in the year.
After holding a variety of other positions elsewhere, Ward joined the family business, the same year that Samuel Calvin passed away.
Taking over as General Manager, Ward was still a new to his leadership role in the company when the stock market crashed and the Great Depression ensued. Ward managed to keep the company afloat during these perilous times by pledging his own personal financial resources to compensate for the company’s lack of ability to pay taxes, which kept the company operating and many people in the local community employed.
Late 1930s and early 1940s
As America began to ease out of the Depression, World War II gave McLanahan Corporation the opportunity to return to full deployment thanks to the war’s massive demand for heavy machinery.
Following WWII, the company hired a string of employees who would eventual become incredibly important members of the decision-making team at McLanahan.
In 1946, Robert Brown, eventual Vice President and Production Manager, was hired as a sales engineer.
Roy Rumbaugh, future President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, was hired as an engineer.
McLanahan Corporation saw the debts incurred in no small part due to the Great Depression paid off, as well as improvements in production, facilities, and the implementation of employee benefit plans, such as the Profit Sharing Plan and the Employee Profit Sharing Retirement Trust.
Michael McLanahan began his work with the company.
Ward’s son Craig was named President as Ward became Chairman of the Board of Directors — essentially taking the first step toward phasing himself out of the company.
Mike transitioned to a full-time role as a Sales Manager.
Late '50s and early '60s
Ward reorganized the company and consolidated leadership, officially renaming it McLanahan Corporation.
Under Craig, a new office building was completed. Other new facilities were also created and old ones were updated. In addition, the company witnessed their first venture overseas as McLanahan moved into the Australian market.
Craig passed away, setting up the return of his father.
Following the death of James Craig and shortly after the death of chief engineer Ronald Fye, Ward stepped back in to oversee the day-to-day operations of the company. In1969, Ward made the decision to appoint a “triumvirate” of Roy Rumbaugh, Robert Brown and Mike McLanahan to run the company.
George Sidney, Jr. was hired as a Mechanical Engineer. He would later go on to become Chief Operating Officer and President.
The legendary Ward McLanahan, who led the company through the greatest financial crisis in American history, passed away.
Late '70s and early '80s
A Period of Change
McLanahan Corporation remained steady despite the recession that struck the nation during the period.
A number of transitions of power within the company were witnessed during this time.
Mike McLanahan moved up to Chief Financial Officer.
The first member of Ward’s triumvirate retired when Bob Brown left the company. Roy Rumbaugh retired two years later in 1988, leaving Mike McLanahan as the sole remaining decision-maker, and he was elevated to President. Upon this transition, George Sidney was named Vice President/Director of Engineering, Jim Carrieri was named Vice President/Sales Manager and Joe Rigby became Production Manager.
The Modern Era
For McLanahan Corporation, the '90s saw a period of expansion and modernization within the company.
McLanahan created a scholarship program for the children of company employees who were attending institutions of higher learning. During this year, McLanahan also became the Charter Member of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame.
Mike’s son, Sean, joined the company’s sales division at age 23.
Agricultural advancements and expansion into the industry with Andrew Wedel, currently the Director of International Business Development for Agriculture, extended the company’s reach and moved them into new markets. That same year, McLanahan also won the Alexander A. Notopoulos Award for Blair County’s Outstanding Industrial Firm presented by the Blair County Chamber of Commerce.
Cementing their commitment to their core values, McLanahan won the Governor’s Award for Safety Excellence in the state of Pennsylvania.
The company made a significant acquisition by purchasing the HSS Sampling Division and moving it from Pittsburgh to Hollidaysburg.
The turn of the millennium saw the creation of the McLanahan Endowment Fund to help support the efforts of local organizations and groups in the community.
McLanahan signed a license agreement with Allgaier of Germany. The agreement gave McLanahan exclusive rights to manufacture Tumbler Screens in North America.
The purchase of the equipment division of Linatex North America established our offices in Gallatin, Tenn. This acquisition created our aggregate processing division, which offers a wide range of aggregate equipment for washing, classifying, crushing and screening construction aggregates, such as limestone, granite, sand, gravel and other similar materials.
McLanahan Corporation launched into a new era as we opened our first international offices in both Newcastle and Brisbane, Australia.
We supplied our first complete system — 48 pieces of equipment — to Hanson’s Perch Hill Plant in Chico, Texas, the largest quarry in the U.S.
This was a huge year for McLanahan Corporation: the company won The Family Business of the Year (Mid-Sized) by MassMutual, and Mike McLanahan stepped down as President and took on the role of Chairman of the Board, with George Sidney succeeding him as President. With this move, Sean McLanahan became the company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
Also in 2004, McLanahan purchased an additional furnace for the foundry and added engineering office space.
Additionally, we displayed the largest exhibit in company history at the ConExpo/ConAggShow in Las Vegas, Nev.
We installed our first 6,000 tph Triple Roll Crusher (the only Triple Roll Crusher in the industry) at Black Thunder Coal Mine in Wyoming.
McLanahan also installed one of the largest dewatering screen-based sand plants for Polaris Minerals at Orca Quarry in British Columbia. The plant produces 6.6 million tons of sand and gravel per year.
We implemented our Sand Handling System to significantly reduce waste.
McLanahan was ranked the 49th oldest family business in America by Family Business Magazine.
This was also the year we purchased two new M6 Edge Master Burning Systems that can burn any shape from a steel plate.
We installed our first Crushing Station in Suriname, South America for Hatch-BHP. We also installed our first Plate and Frame Press for Sunrise Coal in Indiana and acquired Techservice Products, Inc. of Lakeland, Fla., to form our sixth division.
McLanahan celebrated their 175th anniversary, published a history book to commemorate it and unveiled a new website design. Mike McLanahan was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Business Excellence by the Chamber of Blair County. Additionally, we were awarded the 2010 World Ag. Expo Top Ten New Product for the Agricultural Systems Division New Pump Line 44 Super Magnum Sand Pump.
Our Self-Cleaning Sand Lane won an AE50 Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Our design was deemed one of the year’s most innovative designs in engineering products or systems for the food and agriculture industries.
A busy year for McLanahan, 2012 kicked off with the debut of a new company logo. A new website launched soon thereafter. The company expanded rapidly in 2012 and showed off their trademark innovation along with it. To continually provide outstanding service and support to the European market, McLanahan opened their first European office and exhibited for the first time at Hillhead, England. McLanahan Corporation acquired Universal Engineering Corporation of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Madden Boiler Works, Inc. (and its subsidiary Madden Steel Fabrication) from Hollidaysburg and purchased the assets of well-known Eagle Iron Works from Des Moines.
Additionally, McLanahan added a seventh division to the corporation with their Environmental Division and welcomed ECHO Industrial, Inc. as the newest aggregate representative for Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The year also saw the company launch the first line of McLanahan Filter Presses, which are designed, manufactured and serviced directly from the U.S. This huge year for the company culminated in the creation of new leadership positions, resulting in numerous internal promotions — a testament to the importance McLanahan places on their employees.
In 2013, McLanahan built on their acquisition of Universal Engineering Corp. by expanding into the construction and demolition recycling industries and formed an overseas joint venture, McLanahan NAWA Engineers Private Ltd., with Indian company NAWA Engineers and Consultants Private Ltd. to better provide custom-engineered process solutions to the global market.
Known for custom engineering equipment that separates sand from manure, McLanahan Corporation introduced the Stall Groomer to help keep the sand in freestalls loose and dry to maximize cow comfort. McLanahan also began manufacturing custom molded urethane wear parts, such as a specialized screen media and mounting system used in McLanahan’s line of dewatering screens.
Holding safety as a core value to the business made McLanahan’s management and employees alike proud when on July 3, 2014, the company achieved one million man hours without a lost work time accident.
This was also the year McLanahan Corporation become certified in the ISO 9001:2008 Management System for the design, manufacture and service of equipment for the mineral, aggregate, agricultural and industrial industries. Sean McLanahan, CEO and sixth-generation family owner, was awarded with the Paul I. Detwiler III Achievement Award from Junior Achievement of Western PA. This award recognizes individuals from Pennsylvania’s Alleghenies region who have made significant contributions to the social, economic, educational and cultural development of the region. Andrew Wedel, P.E., General Manager of the company’s Agricultural Systems Division, was named a Michigan State distinguished alumnus.
Products such as water recycling solutions and Nutrient Separation Systems were launched this year, and McLanahan’s Mineral Processing Division and the Power and Energy Division (formerly the HSS Sampling System Division) were combined to form one new division — the Mineral, Power and Energy (MPE) Division. Jarrett Sidney, formerly General Manager - Power and Energy Division, was placed in charge of this new division.
Responding to significant global growth and development, McLanahan Corporation decided to create a new global organization structure that included the restructuring of top level positions, as well as title changes within the executive management team. Sean K. McLanahan assumed the title of CEO. Fifth generation family-owner Michael W. McLanahan continued as Chairman of the Board, while George L. Sidney, Jr., remained President and COO. Together, these three served as McLanahan’s executive team.
The company also expanded their sales force for the aggregate processing industry. Some employees who McLanahan Corporation welcomed were Mark Slonaker as their first Vice President of Manufacturing, Tom Keirn as a Regional Sales Manager – Aggregate Processing, Brian Walker as Product Manager for the company’s Hammermill line and Mark Krause as General Manager of the Aggregate Processing Division.
McLanahan decided to get in on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and raise money for this great cause, and challenged the company’s executive management team to participate. The executive management team, which is made up of Sean McLanahan, CEO; George Sidney, President and COO; Ken Kirsch, Executive Vice President – Business Operations; and Jay Nartatez, Executive Vice President – Corporate Shared Services, accepted the challenge but with one condition: They asked employees at all U.S. locations to raise $400 (that’s $100 per executive) within a week.
On Aug. 21, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett toured McLanahan Corporation's corporate headquarters in Hollidaysburg, Pa., and discussed how pro-growth policies and energy development are spurring the growth of Pennsylvania manufacturers.
The company’s Nutrient Separation System was selected by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) as a winner of an AE50 award. As a recipient of an AE50 award, this system had been deemed one of the year’s most innovative designs in engineering products or systems for the food and agricultural industries.
McLanahan Corporation opened their first 100 percent wholly-owned subsidiary in India — McLanahan India Private Limited (MIPL) Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. This new operation was set up to provide all McLanahan products, from mineral processing to agricultural systems, to India, Pakistan, Nepal, Burma, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. The company also announced the opening of a new location in Santiago, Chile that services all of South and Central America, along with the Caribbean and Mexico.
McLanahan updated a number of products, including the Stall Filler, Stall Groomer and Universal Jaw Crusher, and developed a new line of optical sorters and the McLanahan M3H rubber-lined slurry pump for the global market.
To support frac sand producers and help further educate them on frac sand processing, McLanahan Corporation hosted their first Frac Sand Processing School in Eau Claire, Wis. The company also hosted a Water Management School in Ontario, Calif.
McLanahan created a product management and development team, leading to promotions and changes in corporation structure. Cory Jenson, who previously held the position of General Manager – Environmental, was promoted to Vice President – Global Product Management and Development, and Mark Krause, formerly General Manager – Aggregate Processing, was promoted to Managing Director – North America. Internally, the company combined their former U.S.-based operating divisions to create cohesive sales, engineering and customer service teams. The combination of the North American teams, similar to McLanahan’s other global office, allowed the company to better service customers, regardless of industry or product line.
MAB Equipment Company, a trusted partner to McLanahan for many years, began to cover the entire state of Wisconsin, focusing on the construction and industrial aggregates industry. The Illinois-based company sells and distributes McLanahan’s line of washing and classifying equipment throughout Wisconsin. This includes products such as Screw Washers, Cyclones, Separators, Hydrosizers, Thickeners, Filter Presses and more.
McLanahan introduced several new pieces of equipment this year, including the MSP Cone Crusher, MAX Series Vibrating Screen, Vezin Slurry Sampler, a Sand Lane Clean-Up System and their own screen line — the MD Vibratory Screen. McLanahan’s MD Vibratory Screen is a compact, high-capacity dry screening unit built for use in a variety of industries. The company also began to feature their Concrete Washout System and line of Concrete Reclaimers.
McLanahan also hosted their first Wet Processing School in 2016. The company’s Wet Processing School was held Jan. 27-28 at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona, Pa. The sessions focused on everything from classic washing and classifying equipment to more complex plants and water management systems. The Wet Processing School also included educational talks on electrical systems, polymers, maintenance and more.
McLanahan introduced a bedding dryer designed to dramatically reduce the amount of moisture and mastitis-causing pathogens in recycled sand or manure solids. The McLanahan Bedding Dryer was recognized this same year for innovation at an awards ceremony Oct. 3 at World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis.
McLanahan Corporation also showcased new pieces of equipment dedicated to helping producers increase production and efficiency with the Cross Belt Sampler and the MAX Series Inclined Vibrating Screen, the newest version of their long-standing modular wet processing plant. The company also launched the McLanahan Mobile Solutions (MMS) line, displayed its MMS Track Trommel to the waste industry for the first time and reintroduced their MD Screens.
McLanahan launched their new online store, www.mclanahangear.com, which replaced the existing store. It featured new in-stock items and allowed employees, partners, customers and the general public to directly purchase and receive McLanahan gear. To provide easier access and better information to customers, McLanahan Corporation also launched www.mclanahanmobilesolutions.com to support their new range of mobile equipment.
Sean McLanahan and his contributions to the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association’s Young Leaders committee were recognized, as he was invited to speak at their anniversary gathering.
Additionally, McLanahan Capital — a one-stop shop for all equipment financing needs — debuted in 2017. McLanahan Capital offers a full selection of both leases and loans to suit customers' needs and desired cash flows, all while preserving working capital.
George Sidney, President and COO of McLanahan Corporation, announced his plans to retire at the end of 2018. He will remain an active part of McLanahan’s Board of Directors and with industry trade associations following his retirement. Upon George’s retirement at the end of the year, Sean McLanahan’s title will change to President and CEO. Additionally, Cory Jenson has been named Executive Vice President - Sales and Business Development, a new position that will directly manage the sales and business development of the company’s global offices, as well as oversee the product management and marketing and communications teams, and Brian Prenatt has been promoted to Vice President of Product Management and Development
George started with McLanahan upon earning his mechanical engineering degree from the Pennsylvania State University in 1973. Before being named company President in 2004, he served in a variety of positions, including Design Engineer, Sales Engineer, Engineering Manager, and several executive roles. George has been actively involved in many mining and aggregate associations. He is a past-chairman of the Manufacturers and Services Division of the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association and a ROCKPAC trustee. In 2017, he was named Grassroots CEO of the Year.
McLanahan has always been committed to the local community, which was shown when the company gave money to Operation Our Town to combat drug use and crime in the local area. McLanahan has been, and always will be, a family-oriented business that is at the heart of the local community. The company has made it a point to commit to their core values of Safety, Family and Integrity and has recently rolled out its “One McLanahan” plan. McLanahan Corporation has advanced into the 21st century committed to their employees and determined to continually improve and develop the company.