Eagle-Pitcher Industries, Inc.
Eagle-Pitcher Industries, Inc., was first established in 1842 in Cincinnati, Ohio, by Edgar and Stephen Conkling. Together, they produced white lead paint. Eventually, the company expanded its operations to include lead pipe and plumbing parts. In 1915, the company merged with Pitcher Lead Company, located in Joplin, Missouri. The company grew rapidly and by 1919, Eagle-Pitcher Industries, Inc., was the nation’s leading zinc manufacturer and one of the largest producers of lead. The company continued to grow and produced insulation called “slag wool.” The product was durable and heat-resistant, but was filled with asbestos.
Eagle-Pitcher assisted the federal government during the Second World War. Eagle-Pitcher contracted to sell zinc, paint pigments, lead oxide, zinc oxide, bearing metals, antimonial leads and insulation products. Moreover, government war contracts assured that Eagle-Pitcher would have a continued advantage during the postwar boom. Indeed, following the war, Eagle-Pitcher was able to diversify its product line to supply construction companies during the postwar housing boom. The company also supplied products for the automotive and aerospace industries throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
As mentioned-above, Eagle-Pitcher used asbestos in large quantities until the mid-1970s, long after the scientific community had determined asbestos was toxic. As early as the 1920s, physicians recognized that exposure to asbestos caused severe sickness when asbestosis was identified by British medical journals. It was known that illnesses such as asbestosis and the aggressive cancer, mesothelioma, are caused by exposure to asbestos. At the same time, insurance companies in the United States and Canada stopped selling life insurance to asbestos workers.
Moreover, safer substitutes for most asbestos uses were known as early as the 1930s. Nevertheless, Eagle-Pitcher chose to protect its substantial profit margins rather than discontinue use of the mineral. The asbestos fibers remain in a person’s lungs for years and symptoms may not develop for decades. Thus, Eagle-Pitcher’s victims might live for decades without knowing of the deadly injury they sustained.
As a result, many workers and consumers were placed in grave danger of illness. In particular, construction workers, insulators, welders, plumbers, pipe-fitters, railroad employees and aerospace industry employees were placed at life-threatening risk of contracting deadly illnesses. Of course, the products produced by Eagle-Pitcher remain in factories, buildings and homes across the nation and remain a threat to the health of many Americans.
Eagle-Pitcher filed for bankruptcy protection in 1991 and emerged in 1997. The reorganization provided a trust for the victims of asbestos illnesses, but also included a court injunction against future litigation. If you or a loved one has been injured by Eagle-Pitcher, it is important that you contact The Gori Law Firm immediately for more information on your rights.