A History of Innovation and Adaptability
We trace our origin to the Webster Planing Mill, a woodworking firm operating in Appleton, WI in 1881. Over the next 40 years, Webster expanded from wooden pallets and chopping blocks to a wider product line that included spear poles and paddles for the paper industry that was growing rapidly in central Wisconsin.
Shortly after World War I, the company purchased Mac-Tube located in Michigan City, IN, thereby becoming a producer of fiber tubes and cores. Wood products were still being produced for the paper industry. That portion of the business now included dewatering surfaces for the paper mills.
In 1948, Ted Holzem purchased the company. Ted developed and patented the "Holzem" core cutter. His designs are the basis on which today's internal drive mandrels are built. The patents have long expired and competitors have honored Ted by cloning his concepts. By the end of 1950, Appleton had two models of core cutters in the market. The tragic death of Ted in a plane accident led to the sale of Appleton to John Strange Paper Company in about 1950. The purchase was a logical one in that the paper company was a major supplier of the kraft paper used to make cores. (John Strange was partially owned by Menasha Corporation.)
Product introductions continued under John Strange's ownership. Six new models of cutters were introduced in the period ending about 1968. These machines improved on Holzem's original designs, making the cutters more flexible and better suited to customer needs. It's also important to note that throughout its history, the machine building department also served as the maintenance department for the core manufacturing departments. This created a strong understanding of the need to keep the core making equipment running. This understanding became part of our culture and is evident today in our sense of urgency and "can do" attitude when a customer needs assistance. We are still supporting equipment built in the early'50's; servicing and reconditioning equipment more than 50 years old, returning them to top notch daily production. A tribute to the durability and longevity of Appleton's equipment.
Around 1969, Menasha Corporation bought out their partners, taking full ownership of Appleton Manufacturing. By now, demonstrating a pattern of continued innovation, Appleton was machining ultra high molecular weight polyethylene plastics, replacing the wooden dewatering surfaces they had made for the paper industry. Appleton added a line of showers for cleaning the wires and forming fabrics used on the paper machines. The firm also continued to make cores and core cutters. Two more core cutters were developed in the period that preceded Menasha's 1981 sale of the John Strange mill to US Papers. Around 2002, US Papers was sold to Sonoco. Though the mill was sold, Menasha Corporation retained ownership of the Appleton Mfg. Division -- the machine building and the core manufacturing plant. The core making operations were subsequently sold to Sonoco in 1985.
In the mid-80's, Appleton Mfg. Division updated its line of core cutters to meet changing customer needs:
four new models were introduced to better meet the emerging needs of the customers
automated parent and cut core handling equipment was added to increase customer productivity
new safety standards were adopted
complete core processing systems were introduced
dual mandrel core cutters were conceptualized but discarded due to safety, reliability and maintenance concerns
Late in 1993, Menasha Corporation decided to divest the machinery building business and consolidate the UHMWPE processing into another division. The management team of Appleton Mfg. Division made a bid for the division and emerged as the buyer. Appleton Mfg. Division continues as a machine builder under the ownership of the newly formed Productive Solutions, Inc. and sells under the registered trade name of Appleton Mfg. Division.
We continue to expand our products with the introductions of new machines, accessories and services for core users. Recent developments include:
Additionally, Appleton expanded our shower product line to include showers designed to improve the productivity of paper mill savealls.
Appleton Mfg. Division is a fully integrated engineering, design, sales, service and manufacturing firm producing custom and semi-custom material handling solutions and remains committed to its heritage of innovation and customer service. This heritage coupled with the robust nature of our products and outstanding product support are the very reasons why every day there are more Appleton Mfg. Division machines cutting cores throughout the world than any other manufacturer. Visit our product pages for the latest on new developments. If you have a need for core cutting and handling equipment, showering or material handling that we don't offer, or if you have a converting challenge that requires specialized machinery, send us an e-mail describing your application and we will work with you to meet that need. When you work with Appleton Mfg. Division, you are working with a fully integrated engineering — design — sales — service and manufacturing company who is responsive to your needs.