In 1941, Orange Fowler Merwin, or “O.F.” as he was known, sold equipment to grain millers. The most common complaints heard from his customers were about “tramp iron” – stray pieces of metal such as bits of wire, nails and bolts, even horseshoes and hammers, that somehow found their way into the grain the farmers brought to the mills for grinding.
Merwin investigated a new magnetic alloy called “alnico” (a combination of aluminum, nickel, cobalt and iron), which possessed exceptional magnetic qualities, including peak magnetic strength up to 30 times that of cobalt steel. He devised a permanent magnetic separator in 1942, sold it to a grain miller and his company was on its way.
Today, through the Merwin family’s stewardship, the company has grown through continuous product innovation and worldwide expansion to a half-million square feet of manufacturing space and nearly 1,000 employees.