December 20, 2011
Orange Fowler (O.F.) Merwin, founder of Eriez®, Erie, Pa., is a 2011 inductee into the Erie Hall of Fame.
Erie's WQLN-TV started the Hall of Fame in 2007 to recognize the accomplishments of people who made global contributions while living or working in the Erie region. The 2011 class brings the total number of inductees to 20 and represents contributions in several fields, including arts and business, said Tom New, director of creative services for WQLN Public Media.
Merwin's rise began in 1941 when he was selling equipment to grain millers and continually heard complaints about tramp iron that was present in the grain the farmers brought to the mills for grinding. Merwin investigated alnico magnetic alloy (a combination of aluminum, nickel, cobalt, and iron), which possessed exceptional magnetic qualities, including peak magnetic strength up to 30 times that of cobalt steel. He devised a permanent magnetic separator in 1942, sold it to a grain miller, and his company was on its way.
Eriez has evolved into an international company with manufacturing facilities in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, India, Japan, Mexico, and South Africa and sales offices worldwide.
"Mr. Merwin's innovation truly revolutionized the many industries Eriez serves," said Tim Shuttleworth, Eriez president and CEO. "This is an honor that is well-deserved."