Our History - Paxton-Mitchell Co., LLC

Search
Go to content

Main menu:

 
PAXTON-MITCHELL CO., LLC started with an idea. In 1898, James L. Paxton (father of the present Jim Paxton) was superintendent of the Omaha Stockyards, and Tom Mitchell was master mechanic of the South Omaha Terminal Railroad. These two men, Paxton and Mitchell, joined forces in a joint venture, the money being advanced by Mr. Paxton, and Mitchell, a part-time inventor, providing the experimentation with a new type of metallic packing used on piston rods and valve stems of reciprocating steam engines.
PAXTON-MITCHELL CO., LLC was incorporated on March 1st, 1901. At that time, PAXTON-MITCHELL CO., LLC had one employee, and one $200 lathe, located in a corner of an old machine shop at 13th & Howard Street. Both Paxton and Mitchell kept their jobs with the stockyards to supplement the new company’s meager earnings.

Steady, profitable growth through the next ten years brought about Paxton’s resignation from the stockyards to devote full time to the new company as it went through four different moves to larger quarters, finally to our present location in 1912. In those years Tom Mitchell died, and Mr. Paxton purchased all but a small percentage of his stock.

In 1915, an iron foundry operation was added to the brass foundry and metallic packing business. At that time, it was more of a service and accommodation, as metallic packing continued to be the profit maker and backbone of the business up until after world war II. During world war II, demand for metallic packing for the liberty ships was substantial, and added to our other production requirements. PAXTON-MITCHELL received the Maritime “M” award for excellence. An interesting and remarkable note about PAXTON-MITCHELL’s war effort was the fact that contrary to most manufacturers who acquired substantial capital assets from the government, all of our production was attained without any government financial assistance.

The end of the war was also an end of an era for PAXTON-MITCHELL, and could very well have been the end of the company because the lucrative packing business dried up. The decision was made to double the size if the foundry and make only high-quality castings to enlarge the trade area in which we could work. At that time, there were more than 3000 gray iron foundries in the country. Molds were made by hand, they were picked up by hand and set on the floor. The end of the war was also an end of an era for PAXTON-MITCHELL, and could very well have been the end of the company because the lucrative packing business dried up. The decision was made to double the size if the foundry and make only high-quality castings to enlarge the trade area in which we could work. At that time, there were more than 3000 gray iron foundries in the country. Molds were made by hand, they were picked up by hand and set on the floor.

Many of those 3000 iron foundries have gone out of business, but we have remained in a constant state of modernization and expansion—installing modern material handling equipment, palletizing our molding line, conveyorizing our sand and castings, - we have the necessary chemical and physical laboratories and analytical procedures, qualified metallurgists, engineers and technicians to produce high tensile, carefully controlled iron casting to exacting specifications.

In 1968, we switched to all electric melting. Our metal is continuously monitored by spectrographic analysis. This ensures consistent compliance to customers’ specification. Our reputation for furnishing castings with above average machinability is widely known throughout the industry. In June of 1970, a baghouse was installed on our electric ARC furnace which is more than 99% efficient in eliminating all effluents. In December of 1970, we purchased and installed a new electric induction furnace to eliminate the cupola and its effluents.
In 1957, a steel fabricating plant in Blair, Nebraska was purchased. Production from its plant was originally for earthmoving equipment. Now, our line of under bridge inspection/maintenance cranes are manufactured there.

In 1964, our first “SNOOPER” crane was designed and manufactured. Today, these cranes have been sold all over the united states to state highway departments, municipalities, counties and contractors. They have also been sold overseas to companies in Australia, Canada, Korea, France, Venezuela, Taiwan and also Puerto Rico.
 

Because we felt we must develop new products after the demise of the metallic packing, in the years since, we have created a number of new products utilized by and sold to railroads and locomotive manufacturers. The most successful has been an engine protector which detects internal part failure on diesel locomotives before serious crankcase damage or personal injuries can occur. We have also entered the electronics power field with our designs.
 

A new beginning…effective October 1st, 1983, formal ownership of PAXTON-MITCHELL was transferred to a group of key employees. Robert C. Rodenburg was elected president of the company and is also majority stockholder.
 
Mr. Rodenburg has been tireless in his efforts to further modernize and update equipment, the most recent of which has been a new foundry addition which features a Disamatic Model 2013 molding machine with the necessary support equipment. We have several types if molding equipment, including HUNTER (both 14”x 19” and 20” x 24”), SQUEEZER, Shell Mold, Pin Lift Cope and drag machines.
 
The types of iron available include Gray iron, ASTM grades 30 through 60 or equal, and Ductile, grades 60-40-18 through 100-70-03. In addition, we have developed a nodular iron called “HydraTec” which is a high strength substitute for Gray iron. It features AS-cast tensile strengths above 90,000 PSI and unlike standard grades of Ductile iron, “Hydra-Tec” contains a 100% pearlitic matrix. Our customers have found it exhibits wear characteristics several times greater than that of heat treated 80-60-03 Ductile iron.
We are eager and willing to work “side by side” with our clients and are looking forward to continuing the fine relationship we have enjoyed for these many years.
 
"Snooper" is trademarked and licensed to Paxton-Mitchell Company LLC.
Back to content | Back to main menu