For more years than I care to remember, I've checked the website for The Morrow County (Ohio) Sentinel every Wednesday. Why? Because The Sentinel is the local weekly paper, and it covers news better than anyone else about Mount Gilead. In addition to being the Morrow County seat, Mount Gilead is -- or make that was -- home to equipment manufacturer HPM. HPM used to be a big deal in Mount Gilead. But that was before the plant shut down in December 2009. Now it's a footnote in plastics industry history. A company that hung on for 132 years, but finally disappeared during an awful slump in the U.S. machinery sector. It's no exaggeration to say that Bill Bregar, Plastics News' senior reporter and a staffer since 1989, knows HPM better than anyone else in the plastics trade press. Bill visited the plant frequently, and he has a source list as long as my arm filled with names of former employees, suppliers, competitors and interested government and court officials. My persistence in checking The Sentinel's website paid off this week when I noticed this story, "HPM equipment is scheduled to go on the auction block." Bill followed up and Plastics News reported the news today, "Auction set for HPM machinery." It's sad to report on the demise of a company that played an important role in the still-relatively-young history of the plastics industry. HPM pioneered technology in injection molding and extrusion, and employed hundreds of workers -- including many still in the industry today, albeit at rival firms. Now we're writing the final chapter of HPM's story -- a story that people will continue to talk about for years to come.
Final conclusion to the HPM story?
Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you'd like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at [email protected]