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Milwaukee Valve Company

Milwaukee Valve Company History

Milwaukee Valve Company is one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of commercial, industrial and marine valves. The company was founded in 1901 as a manufacturer of valves for the plumbing and heating industries, but it began to truly establish itself as a leader in its field in 1959, when valve industry veteran Herschel Seder and his late partner, Max Koenigsberg, bought the company from its previous owner, Controls Corporation of America.

Under Seder’s leadership, Milwaukee Valve Company quickly expanded into the military shipbuilding industry and started doing lucrative contract work for the government. The company later began working in the industrial and commercial sectors, as well. In 1991, Milwaukee Valve acquired Hammond Valve Corp., a producer of valves for residential and commercial use.

Today, Milwaukee Valve Company is based in its new headquarters in the Milwaukee suburb of New Berlin. The company operates a modern bronze foundry in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, and also manufactures valves at two plants in China. All told, Milwaukee Valve’s facilities make more than 4,000 varieties of manual and actuated valves used by government entities, the defense department, and private companies, for purposes ranging from fire protection to mining to pulp- and paper-making.

Products Manufactured by Milwaukee Valve Company that Contained Asbestos

A valve is a device that controls the flow of liquids, gasses or other substances traveling through a piece of machinery. It does this by opening, closing or narrowing the passage that the liquid or gas flows through. Valves can be operated manually, by turning a lever or pedal, or can be controlled automatically by changes in pressure, temperature or flow.

Frequently, the substances that flow through valves are extremely hot, so the devices must be built to withstand high temperatures. To accomplish this, Milwaukee Valve Company and other valve manufacturers put braids of asbestos fibers into their products to make them resistant to the heat. Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, was very effective in that regard: It is excellent at resisting heat and can even control the spread of fire. Starting in the late 19th century, the mineral was widely used in countless other products as well.

Unfortunately, in the past few decades we have learned that asbestos is also extremely hazardous to our health. When insulation or other products containing asbestos deteriorate, or when they are torn or cut to size during the manufacturing process, asbestos particles are released into the air. The fibers in that dust can become lodged in a person’s lung tissue and lead to deadly respiratory diseases like mesothelioma cancer and asbestosis.

Products manufactured by Milwaukee Valve Company that contained asbestos include (but may not be limited to):

Occupations at Risk for Asbestos Exposure

Virtually anyone who has come into contact with asbestos dust could be at risk for developing an asbestos-related illness like mesothelioma cancer or asbestosis. Individuals who worked at one of Milwaukee Valve Company’s manufacturing plants could have been exposed to deadly asbestos fibers – even if they never worked with asbestos directly. Just working in proximity to the hazardous dust is enough to put people at risk.

Furthermore, anyone who maintained or repaired the valves – from valve fitters and technicians to Navy men who did repair work aboard the country’s Navy ships – could have been exposed. Unfortunately, family members of people who worked in these occupations could also have been impacted if they came into contact with the fibers second-hand. Because asbestos dust is known to cling to clothing, shoes and hair, just handling or washing dusty work clothes could put a loved one at risk.

Milwaukee Valve Company manufactured its valves with asbestos at least into the late 1970s, but its older products containing asbestos could still be in use in numerous pieces of machinery. Therefore, anyone working with the company’s products should use extreme care if they suspect they might come in contact with hazardous asbestos fibers.

Recent News

As of February 2011, Milwaukee Valve Company has been listed as a co-defendant in numerous asbestos-related lawsuits. Plaintiffs in these cases allege that their health was compromised by working with or near the company’s asbestos-containing valve products.

Author: Linda Molinari

Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Linda Molinari


About Milwaukee Valve