Hollingsworth & Vose Company

Expert Fact Checked

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Jennifer Lucarelli Lawyer and Legal Advisor

Hollingsworth & Vose Company (H&V) is known for its paper air filters. In the past, it used asbestos in filters for cigarettes, gas masks and other product types. Many people were exposed to asbestos through H&V filters. Asbestos victims may file lawsuits for compensation from the company.

01. History of Asbestos Use

H&V History of Asbestos Use

H&V’s history with asbestos began in the 1950s. But it first began making products in 1843 and was incorporated in 1892. Initially, Mark Hollingsworth and his sons made paper out of manila fibers. They later started producing insulating rope. In 1881, Mark Hollingsworth partnered with Charles Vose to create H&V.

Quick Facts
  • Years in Operation: 1881 – Present
  • Location: East Walpole, Massachusetts
  • Production: Paper, insulating rope
  • Asbestos Trust: No

By the mid-1950s, it was a major manufacturer of industrial paper products. Its paper was used for filters and insulation for electrical cables. Around this time, H&V began using asbestos in some of its popular paper products.

During World War II, the U.S. Army and Navy used gas masks with H&V asbestos air filters. H&V also partnered with Lorillard Tobacco Company to produce Kent Micronite cigarettes, which were notoriously made with asbestos-containing filters.

Asbestos helped increase durability and heat protection. But this dangerous mineral also poses serious health risks. Thousands of veterans, workers and smokers were exposed to asbestos through products made with H&V filters.

Today, H&V continues producing air filters for commercial, industrial and home uses. These filters no longer contain asbestos, but they once posed exposure risks. Asbestos victims may file lawsuits against H&V for asbestos-related diseases.

02. Asbestos Products

H&V Asbestos Products

H&V paper filters contained asbestos through the 1950s, if not later. These asbestos filters were notably used in American Optical military gas masks and Kent Micronite cigarettes.

Estimates show more than 13 billion asbestos-containing Kent cigarettes were smoked from 1952 to at least 1957 before H&V halted asbestos filter production.

H&V made both types of air filters with a rare type of asbestos called crocidolite. It was used in masks to increase gas filtration. The cigarette filters were thought to provide a milder smoking experience.

But when using products with these filters, veterans and smokers unknowingly inhaled the harmful mineral fibers. Asbestos exposure is linked to serious health conditions like mesothelioma and other cancers. Workers who made these and other H&V asbestos air filter materials also faced exposure risks.

Some asbestos products manufactured by H&V include:

  • Cellulose asbestos papers
  • Gasket papers
  • Gas masks
  • Kent Micronite cigarette filters

Similar to Lorillard Tobacco Company and American Optical, other companies made products with H&V air filters. Any asbestos products could be sources of exposure for workers and consumers.

03. Occupational Exposure

H&V and Occupational Exposure

Asbestos was a key component in several H&V paper products, like air filters. H&V employees faced occupational asbestos exposure risks while making these products. Workers at other companies may have been exposed when manufacturing products with H&V filters. For instance, Lorillard Tobacco Company workers faced exposure risks for years.

These products also posed asbestos exposure risks to consumers and veterans. Asbestos products made by this company still lead to exposure today. For example, any vintage American Optical respirators may contain asbestos air filters.

Occupations Impacted by H&V’s Asbestos Use

04. Asbestos Litigation

Asbestos Litigation Against H&V

Thousands of victims have named H&V in asbestos lawsuits for its products. Its asbestos-containing cigarette filters and respirator masks are commonly cited asbestos exposure sources. But any H&V asbestos product could have led to the development of mesothelioma or other diseases.

  • In one notable case, a mesothelioma patient was awarded nearly $8 million. He had developed mesothelioma from smoking Kent Micronite cigarettes. Despite an appeal, the ruling was upheld. Of the $8 million awarded, the jury ordered Lorillard Tobacco Company and H&V to pay $3.5 million.
  • In another case, an asbestos victim was awarded nearly $2.3 million. The plaintiff had been diagnosed with mesothelioma after smoking Kent Micronite cigarettes. He named H&V, among other companies, in his lawsuit. Some companies settled out of court, but H&V went to trial. The jury ruled in the victim’s favor.

Other asbestos victims may continue filing lawsuits against H&V. Successful lawsuits can result in compensation through verdicts or settlements. Mesothelioma patients and their families can contact asbestos law firms for case evaluations. Experienced mesothelioma lawyers can file lawsuits against H&V on behalf of eligible clients.