Anyone know the fate of Mattison?
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  1. #1
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    I heard from a grinding wheel salesman that Mattison was killed by a lawsuit. I'm curious if that was the case, or whether they went under for other reasons. I just bought a 36 X 120 inch Mattison surface grinder, and it certainly is a HUMBLING machine to look at. I was thinking I had some big tools, but in comparison, they're toys. Mattison had quite the line of machine tools. Really bugs me to think lawyers brought down such a great producer of really BIG machines

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    I heard the same thing, but sounds urban legendish to me. Could be there was a lawsuit, but they were on the verge of going under anyway sort of thing.

    Now, what in gawds name do you need such a huge surface grinder when you make relatively itty bitty machines ?

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    Brian,
    If you do a google search for Mattison Machine Works, You will find an appeal dated 1961. I could never find the original law suit. As a proud owner of 4 Mattisons, I was always curious as to what happened to them. If you find anything let me know.
    Congrats on your new purchase!

    Mike

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    Mattison did go bankrupt. They lost a large suit concerning an old form lathe that hurt or killed someone because all of the latest guarding was not on it. This was only the strraw that broke the camels back. Part of the shop is being used by a used machine dealer. Ingersoll Milling Machine before they met the same fate leased some of the high bays for machine storage. I can do some more digging and find oout who has the spare parts rights if you want

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    The 1961 suit was by NLRB (National Labor Relations Board). This shows up on Google because it went to the Supreme Court.

    I doubt that the lawsuit put them into bankruptcy. That was a $2mil judgement in California (the left coast). Mattison was named as one of the defendants in the case, but was not 100% responsible. So, some percentage of the settlement. They probably could have got out of that based on some of the limited liability rulings that have come about recently on old equipment.

    They're just another US manufacturer that went under that nobody cares about. As long as we can get all of the Chinese made stuff that we want at Wally World, who gives a #$^&.
    JR

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    The lathe suit that broke the camels back was for one of their automatics, for wood turning. It was widely reported in the Woodworking press at the time, as it occured while that business was still healthy and there was real concern about where to source parts and machines. 'Course that was about 10 years ago, and now the factory furniture business is in full flight overseas, too, except for a few niche players.

    I didn't pay close attention at the time and my memory is fuzzy, but I think the suit was not even for a current machine but one "many" years old for which it was rediculous to even assume there should be manufacturer culpability in the set up, operation, and current guarding. Many of these suits which were seeen as the nail in the coffin occured with weak companys, that then could no longer afford liability insurance as a result of not only their suit, but the suit happy climate. Realize that many of these manufacturing companies did not have a very large annual sales in terms of new machines. The parts business carried them, and overall profits may well have been a much smaller percentage of the business than the cost of annual premiums were. Once your core business is demonstrated in court as providing support for machines whose sole purpose is to maim and kill, there isn't much purpose in keeping the doors open as a conduit for funding the law firms and inusrance business.

    I think somehow someone did buy the lathe support business, and somehow isolated their liability for older machines, but haven't heard much lately. And of course the machines themselves are going for a song at auctions almost every week, so not much there to support.

    smt

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    I use to work with some former Mattison shop guys. They told me that around 2000 Mattison lost a lawsuit, and the plantif basicly bought the company and closed it down. (Mattison didn't carry insurance) Never asked the particulars of the case, but from what I gathered they were healthy until the lawsuit wiped them out. This was about the same time the bottome fell out of the machine tool industry.

    DeVielg-Bullard them bought the repair business which in turn was bought by Bourn & Koch in Rockford.

    John

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    Still waiting to hear why you need a 120 inch grinder Brian.

    I'll bet it's some new religious thing with you...graven image where size matters maybe...KNEELL BEFORE ME ! LMAO

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    I too would like to know what your plans for such a BIG machine would be Brian! [img]smile.gif[/img] Would be nice for me to have one too, but where to put it?

    I wanted let you know that we might have stuff that might work on your big Mattison.

    Came from a place that also had a 120" IIRC. Sold some of the parts on ebay, but still think I have some left.

    Let me know if you are interested/or what you need. [img]smile.gif[/img]

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    Don, I bet if Brian puts a couple monkeys in front of it they'll start hitting each other with bones. [img]smile.gif[/img]

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    J in MA...LMAO...I kinda had visions of "Deep Thought" the mountain sized Supercomputer, in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy myself...

    "Oh great Mattison, I beseeth thee....what is the meaning of life and does it involve buying one example of every machine tool that has ever existed on this Earth ?"

    "Hmmmm...tricky...I'll have to think about that one. Come back in six...

    "WHAT? Not until next WEEK ?"

    "SIX MILLION YEARS !!!...."

    [img]smile.gif[/img]

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    Remember an old movie called "The Forbin Project", about a surface grinder that took over the world? Or maybe it was a computer.

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    It was due to many factors, the lawsuit was the stick that broke the Camels back. The family did not get along too well and everybody had their fingers in the pot. I have 10 of their grinders including a Large 36"x168" surface grinder and they are solid machines.

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    Guy pulls a BoyerShultz 618 on Brian and says, "give me yer money...!" Brian tells him as he's taking his new grinder out...," That's not a grinder...THIS is a grinder".

  17. #15
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    go easy on him Milacron, I'd like to have one at least that big.....

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    Speaking of big grinders.....

    There was(is?) a company that did contract surface grinding in pasadena, ca on really big stuff. Does anyone know of them? Are they still in business?

    I heard an old guy talking about how they ground a weldment that was 12' long (that was to become a machine base) for them. And I believe he said they were in pasadena......

  19. #17
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    Theres a huge Mattison - 240 inch bed in Franklin Park, Illinois. All its baby brothers, about 10 machines, in the same shop with it

  20. #18
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    I picked a Mattison model 229, 4 side moulding machine last summer I called Mattison in Rockford Il. They said they still supported the machine. Who was I talking to? D'day zeo

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    http://www.bourn-koch.com/pages/content/about_us.html

    Read the DevliegBullard acquisition section.

  22. #20
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    I've been working to many hours- don't even recall writing this post a few years back. I have verified though that Mattison indeed was brought down by a lawsuit on an ancient woodworking machine. There's a company in Illinois, the name escapes me at the moment, that rebuilds Mattisons, sells some replacement parts, and has several of the ex Mattison workers staffing the place. He verified the lawsuit "rumor". I think he said it happened in the late nineties. Really a tragedy, that our legal system, with peoples skewed logic, can bring down a company, for injuries from operating a fifty year old machine. If that logic really holds, then anybody operating a Ford, Chevy or Chrysler that's fifty years old and has an accident because of something breaking on the car, should be able to sue the car manufacturer. Frankly I despise lawyers and our system, that is totally unrealistic.

    I never did answer Milacrons question as to why I wanted such a big grinder. VersaMil doesn't just manufacture "itsy bitsy" machines. I bought it so I could grind up to ten foot long feed tables, that I want to make in conjunction with much larger machining heads. The largest mill in my line, weighs 10,000 pounds. That's not really big, but it certainly isn't itsy bitsy. The other thing I wanted a larger grinder for, was to be able to stack the table up with parts and do lots of them at once. Instead of grinding 1- 24 inch long feedtable at a time, I can do 18. Being a really small shop, if I want to make any money, I've got to be able to produce parts in quantities, not wasting time making one part at a time. Plus it's just a cool really big machine, that I just couldn't live without. Some people like Deckels, others like real American beef!


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