Above: Inside Abbott Machine Company today
Below: Piasa Tool & Die Company, circa 1950
|Plenty of entrepreneurs dream of starting a home business that thrives and puts people to work. Bill Abbott is one who did just that. In 1946, he opened a machine shop in his basement on Seminary Street in Alton, Illinois. It grew into Piasa Tool & Die Company and then into Abbott Machine Company, a firm that today markets used machinery all over the world and employs 25 people, including Abbott's sons, Bob and Rick. Rick's son Jason just came on board, making the third generation of Abbotts to work in the business. The business has been located at 700 West Broadway, Alton, Illinois since 1950.
The company is a highly technical business. It specializes in rebuilding, remanufacturing and servicing of machinery weighing up to 100 tons. Employees include machinists and mechanical and electrical engineers. The heavy machinery, delivered in pieces, is moved in, out and around the buildings by 30-ton capacity cranes.
"We buy used machinery and rebuild it to modern technology," Bob Abbott, president of the company says. "We refurbish and resell it. Refurbished machines sell for about 50 percent of the price of a new machine. We are known by our reputation for doing this type of work. We do direct mail advertising, and we advertise in trade journals."
"We have customers in England, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Mexico, Australia, China, and Belgium," adds Rick Abbott, Vice President. "We do quite a bit of international business, and we have also been doing a lot of aircraft business in Canada the last few years," Rick said.
"We are happy here," Bob said. "We are centrally located and we are only 35 minutes from St. Louis International Airport. The majority of our customers fly in to see us. Eighty percent of our business is out of this area."
The two brothers do a considerable amount of traveling themselves because most of their purchases are on speculation. They inspect a machine, buy it and then refurbish it with the latest computer technology. Much of their business caters to the steel industry.
© Copyright 2007 by Abbott Machine Company. All rights reserved.
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