McGraw-Edison, a company that long manufactured a variety of electrical equipment, has employed generations of individuals in a variety of trades. Now part of Cooper Industries, it was created in 1957 when McGraw Electric (which dates back to 1900) merged with Thomas A. Edison, Inc. (a holding company for a variety of manufacturing entities) and became one.
The McGraw and Edison families ran the company together for some time and a number of acquisitions were made as the years passed.
For example, the company took over General Electric’s power tool business in the late 1960s and that of G.W. Murphy Inc. just a few years later. In 1979, it purchased Studebaker-Worthington.
Studebaker, of course, had been an auto maker and Worthington’s founder had been credited with the invention of the direct-action steam pump.
Taking on Studebaker-Worthington allowed McGraw-Edison to more than double in size and scope. More acquisitions occurred in the following years and the company continued to grow.
By the time the company was acquired by Cooper Industries in 1985, it had 118 manufacturing facilities spread throughout the U.S. and overseas and employed some 21,000 individuals in factory and administrative jobs.
The company was well-known for a number of its products, like the Toastmaster™ pop-up toaster. The company also made irons, pressure cookers, air conditioners, humidifiers, space heaters, bottle warmers, washers and dryers (both residential and industrial), furnaces, fans, power line equipment, and many other different kinds of equipment and appliances.
In McGraw-Edison’s heyday of manufacturing, asbestos was used abundantly. A huge majority of the products made by the company contained asbestos, generally used for insulation purposes.
Furnaces, toasters, air conditioners, bottle warmers, and other such items all had parts that reached high temperatures, so asbestos was used to prevent overheating and fires.
It worked well, but it was unsafe both for those who had to handle the material at the company’s factories and even for consumers who may have been exposed to the toxic mineral while making repairs to their appliances or when handling old appliances inside which the asbestos may have become “friable”, making it dangerous and easy to inhale.
As a result, those who were once employed by McGraw-Edison or any of its subsidiaries could have potentially been at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma or asbestosis.
As was typical of the years before about 1980, workers may not have been provided with the protective equipment they needed to keep them from inhaling toxic asbestos fibers.
While the result of that negligence wasn’t immediately apparent, many individuals were diagnosed with lung problems years or even decades later since diseases like mesothelioma can typically take 30-50 years to develop.
Anyone harmed by asbestos exposure due to employment at McGraw-Edison should be aware that they have the right to file suit against their former employer as well as those who manufactured the asbestos-containing products they used on-the-job.
Time is of the essence, however, as some statutes of limitation may apply.