EaglePicher Technologies is a privately held, American, manufacturing company known for its battery technology, energetic devices and battery management systems. The company started in 1842 as the White Lead Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. A merger with the Picher Lead Company of Joplin, MO occurred in 1906, becoming Eagle-Picher Lead, which evolved into Eagle-Picher Industries, Inc. and finally EaglePicher Technologies. With its merger with the lead mining company owned by Oliver Picher, it was the second largest producer of lead and zinc products in the world. Today, EaglePicher Technologies, designs, develops and manufactures mission-critical power solutions. For over 75 years, the company has served highly demanding requirements for defense, aerospace, aviation and medical battery applications. As the leading provider of thermal battery systems, to the Department of Defense, EaglePicher supplies power to the majority of the U.S. military's missile and precision guided munitions systems. EaglePicher's space heritage dates to the earliest days of the U.S. space program, from the first satellite to the Mars rovers. The company has provided lithium-ion batteries to military aircraft and high altitude unmanned aerial vehicles. EaglePicher also developed the first human-implantable lithium-ion battery. The company has nine North American manufacturing and research and development sites and over 900 employees.
|Founder||Edgar and Stephen J. Conkling|
In 1842, Edgar and Stephen J. Conkling, brothers, started a firm in Cincinnati, Ohio to manufacture pigments for commercial paints. They called the partnership the E. & S. J. Conkling Company and used the brand name Eagle White Lead. In 1847, Edgar took a new partner, William Wood, and the partnership became Conkling Wood & Company. After the American Civil War the firm was incorporated with William Wood as the majority stockholder. In 1906, the Picher Lead Company of Missouri merged with the Eagle White Lead to form Eagle-Picher Lead.
Eagle-Picher, starting with Picher Lead Company, operated lead and zinc extraction facilities in the Tri-State mining district of southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas and northeast Oklahoma. Picher, Oklahoma was named for O.S. Picher, the original owner of Picher Lead Company, and large-scale mining started there in 1913. The area became the most productive lead-zinc mining field in the district, producing over $20 billion worth of ore between 1917 and 1947. More than fifty percent of the lead and zinc metals used during World War I were produced around Picher. Extraction ended by 1967, but left enormous waste piles around the town contaminated by lead, zinc and cadmium. In 1983 the area was designated as part of the Tar Creek Superfund site, local residents were relocated out of the area over time, and the municipality of Picher was officially dissolved in November, 2013.
EaglePicher Technologies’ history as a battery manufacturer dates back to 1922. The company became a battery supplier to the U.S. Government in the 1940s and was supplying silver-zinc batteries for missiles and rockets in the 1950s. 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. The production of germanium was the first semiconducting material, essential to the invention of the transistor and the development of solid state electronics. In 1953 Eagle-Picher sold its metallic products plant in Dallas to Murdock Lead Products. The company's longtime heritage as an industry leader in battery production has resulted in the diverse line of products that exists today.
As space exploration began, EaglePicher’s business expanded. In 1958, EaglePicher developed batteries to power the fist U.S satellite to go into space, Explorer 1. In 1970, the company went on to supply batteries for Apollo 13 after an explosion in one of the oxygen tanks caused fuel cell failure. EaglePicher supplied the batteries on board the spacecraft, providing electrical power for the life support and guidance control systems that helped the astronauts return safely back to Earth.
EaglePicher got into the space business in 1958 when the opportunity to make batteries and power the first United States satellite, Explorer 1. While the mission only lasted 111 days, it is considered a success and allowed EaglePicher to establish themselves as a viable battery supplier in the space industry. This success lead to EaglePicher working on numerous mission-critical space endeavors, including Atlas Centaur, Agena, TIROS-1, Freedom 7, Friendship 7, Mariner 2, Ranger 6, Gemini 5, Apollo 13, Apollo 15, Mariner 9, Landsat1, Apollo Lunar Module, Skylab, Pioneer 11, ATS-6, Viking 1, Voyager 1, SeaSat, Space Shuttle Columbia STS-1, Space Shuttle Atlantis STS 51-J, Space Shuttle Discovery STS-61, Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-71, Mars Global Surveyor, International Space Station, Cluster 2, Space Shuttle Columbia STS-109, Atlas V, Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, Streak STP-R1, MISSE 5, XSS-11, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Tac-Sat-2, MiTEx, Phoenix, NEXTSat (ASTRO), IBEX, WISE, Kepler, STP-SIV, Mars Science Laboratory, JUNO, GRAIL, Mars Exploration Rover Curiosity, IRIS, Maven, ORION, OSIRIS-Rex, Insight, GPIM, and the soon to launch Mars Exploration Rover Perseverance. Since their beginning, EaglePicher has had nearly 2.8 billion hours in space without a single battery failure.
Outside of space, EaglePicher works with the U.S. government to provide batteries for missiles and plenty of new technology being implemented as well as designing and producing batteries for medical devices. EaglePicher originally started working with the navy in 1940 when they powered torpedoes. They have powered the first patriot missiles, the Javelin missile program, Tomahawk Cruise missiles, and the first lithium-ion batteries for the B-2 stealth bombers. More recently, EaglePicher has worked to develop high-energy laser prototypes for Apache helicopters, supply high-power battery systems for Navy energy magazine lasers, joint strike fighter batteries, and Navy's energy storage system for HELIOS. Medically, EaglePicher has provided the primary cell for implantable cardiac monitors, the world's first human implantable leadless pacemaker battery, and has developed FDA apporved lithium-ion battery for neurostimulators to name a few.
Chairmen and presidentsEdit
- 2005 Donald L. Runkle, chairman of the board
- 2006 David L. Treadwell, president (CEO)
- 2007 Randy Moore, president (CEO)
- 2016 Gordon Walker, president and chief executive officer
- 2019 Richard Hunter, chief executive officer
- Knerr, Douglas (1992) Eagle-Picher Industries: Strategies for Survival in the Industrial Marketplace, 1840–1980 Ohio State University Press, Columbus, Ohio, page 77 Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine, ISBN 0-8142-0557-7
- Knerr page 21
- "Tri-State Lead and Zinc District". Dianna Everett, Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
- "Tar Creek Superfund Site". Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
- "Last Residents of Picher, Oklahoma Won't Give Up the Ghost (Town)". Dan Shepherd, NBC News, April 26, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
- Staff (December 2009) "EaglePicher Corporation" Hoover's Company Records
- "EaglePicher Receives Contract from Erigo Technologies to deliver a Flexible Microgrid Energy Storage System for DoD applications". PR Newswire. 19 February 2014. Archived from the original on 20 November 2014.
- "Joplin company wins $22 million contract". Times-Union. 12 November 2014. Archived from the original on 20 November 2014.
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