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Eagle-Picher Corporation is a privately-held, American, manufacturing and resource extractive company known for its storage battery technology. It was founded in 1842 as a paint manufacturing firm using the name Eagle White Lead, and became Eagle-Picher Lead in 1916 with its merger with a lead mining company owned by Oliver Picher. That merger made it the second largest producer of lead and zinc products in the world.[1] It has had many subsidiaries including the Eagle-Picher Mining & Smelting Company (now EP Minerals), Eagle-Picher Industries, EaglePicher Technologies, EaglePicher Commercial Power Solutions, and Wolverine Advanced Materials. Eagle-Picher was one of the defendants in the asbestos litigation,[2] and has twice been through bankruptcy reorganization.[3]



In 1842, Edgar and Stephen J. Conkling, brothers, started a firm in Cincinnati, Ohio to manufacture pigments for commercial paints.[4] They called the partnership the E. & S. J. Conkling Company and used the brand name Eagle White Lead. In 1847, with Stephen out of the picture, Edgar took a new partner, William Wood, and the partnership became Conkling Wood & Company.[4] After the Civil War the firm was incorported with William Wood as the majority stockholder. In 1916, the Picher Lead Company of Missouri merged with the Eagle White Lead to form Eagle-Picher Lead.

During World War II, Eagle-Picher used diatomaceous earth and zinc to produce storage batteries for the US military. By 1947 they were among the first to adapt a purification system for Germanium for commercial use in the transistor industry.[5]

From 1964 until 1976 Eagle-Picher operated a printed circuit board manufacturing plant in Socorro County, New Mexico and dumped industrial waste into unlined sewage lagoons.[6] Then from 1980 to 1989 they dumped industrial waste from the manufacture of non-automotive lead-acid batteries into those same lagoons. The hazardeous chemicals, including a number of organochlorides, permeated into the local drinking water supply, and the site became a Superfund site.[6] Eagle-Picher operated a number of lead smelters which contaminated the local areas and ended upas Superfund sites. The one in Hillsboro, Illinois was placed on the Superfund list in September 2007.[7] Clean-up of the smelter in northwestern Joplin, Missouri was begun in the late 1990s, but was still on-going as of 2008.[8] The Eagle-Picher smelter in Henryetta, Oklahoma was cleaned up in the late 1990s.[9]

In Januray 1991 Eagle-Picher filed for bankruptcy protection having over $2.5 billion in asbestos-related claims asserted against it,[10][3] as well as other environmental claims. Its reorganization was approved in November 1996 with the ownship of the company going to a trust for victims of asbestos and lead poisoning.[11] And again in April 2005 it filed for bankruptcy protection having debt of more than $500 million. It came out of Chapter 11 reorganization in July 2006.[3] Following its reorganization, Eagle-Picher divested itself of some of its non-core businesses. In 2007, it sold its pharmaceutical division to Aptuit Inc. and its EP Boron subsidiary to Ceradyne. In 2008, Eagle-Picher sold Hillsdale Automotive (Metavation) to Cerion.[5]

Chairmen & presidents

  • 2005– Donald L. Runkle, chairman of the board
  • 2006– David L. Treadwell, president (CEO)

External links


  1. ^ Knerr, Douglas (1992) Eagle-Picher Industries: Strategies for Survival in the Industrial Marketplace, 1840–1980 Ohio State University Press, Columbus, Ohio, page 77, ISBN 0-8142-0557-7
  2. ^ Knerr, page 248
  3. ^ a b c Sherefkin, Robert (31 July 2006) "EaglePicher to exit Chap. 11" Automotive News page 30
  4. ^ a b Knerr page 21
  5. ^ a b Staff (December 2009) "EaglePicher Corporation" Hoover's Company Records
  6. ^ a b "National Priorities List (NPL): Eagle Picher Carefree Battery: Socorro, New Mexico " United States Environmental Protection Agency
  7. ^ Hillig, Terry (27 September 2007) "Eagle Zinc now on Superfund list That means cleanup of old smelter in Hillsboro, Ill., is now eligible for federal funding" St. Louis Post-Dispatch page B-3
  8. ^ "Oronogo-duenweg Mining Belt, Missouri, EPA ID# MOD980686281" United States Environmental Protection Agency
  9. ^ "Superfund Site Redevelopment" 2005 Land Report Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality
  10. ^ Holusha, John (7 December 1995) "Judge Finds Eagle-Picher Liable for $2.5 Billion in Claims" The New York Times page D-4, column 3
  11. ^ Staff (30 November 1996) "Financial Digest" The Washington Post page C-1


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