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Harvey Aluminum (Incorporated) - Lehman Brothers Collection

Harvey Aluminum (Incorporated)

List of Deals

Harvey Aluminum was established in 1914 in Los Angeles and was incorporated in California in 1942.

Harvey Aluminum was founded by Leo Harvey, the son of a small factory owner in Lithuania. Threatened with imprisonment because of his political activism, Harvey fled Czarist Russia in 1905 and arrived in Berlin, where he got a job as a toolmaker in a large company., Harvey immigrated to the U.S. two years later, attended the Cooper Union School, and found employment in 1910 with the Hot Point Electric Company in Ontario, California.

Harvey hired two men in 1914 and set up shop in downtown Los Angeles. By 1920 the company had more than 300 employees.

Over the next two decades Harvey's inventive powers came to the fore. Harvey took out numerous patents in specialized machinery and equipment. His patents even included that for the peel-off, pop-top aluminum can.

Harvey clients included large industries, such as Bendix Company, which obtained his automatic pilot light device. Harvey sold his own deep valve pumping unit to a firm that later became incorporated into the Republic Steel Company. The United States Steel Company bought another of his inventions, a wiring machine. During the Great Depression, when almost all industrial firms cut back or closed, Harvey worked at full capacity.

After World War II, the company acquired a large aluminum plant in Torrance, California. Expanded ten times, the facility was the nucleus of Harvey Aluminum Company, which had plants throughout the U.S., the Virgin Islands, Europe, and Africa. The company's labs developed new metal alloys, some of which were utilized by the space industry.

Harvey began an expansion program in 1963 to develop itself into a fully integrated producer of primary aluminum and aluminum products. As part of this expansion, Harvey entered into an agreement in October 1963 with Lewisport, Kentucky, to construct an aluminum-rolling mill with a capacity of 110,000 tons annually and to build other facilities for the city, which the company would lease back.

Harvey began construction of a new $96.6 million reduction plant near the John Day Dam in Washington State in 1970. The plant was designed to convert alumina, derived from bauxite that was obtained at the company's St. Croix, Virgin Island plant, into primary aluminum ingots. When the plant was completed in 1971 it was expected to produce about 100,000 tons of ingots a year.

By December 1970 Harvey Aluminum earned $9.7 million on sales of $195 million, up from $5 million in earnings on sales of $59.7 million in 1960.

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