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H&M Pipe Beveling Machine Company celebrates 85th anniversary

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World Pipelines,

H&M’s 85-year roadmap of growth and success began in 1934 when its founder, Charles B. Harter, invented a portable pipe cutting and bevelling machine that became his legacy and changed the pipe industry. Under the direction of three generations of family leadership, H&M has charted a course as a leading manufacturer of pipe bevelling and cutting machinery and accessories. Now 85 years later, the company has developed an extensive line of products for the pipe industry. Many of which have been used on projects of significant size and status, including the Alaskan oil pipeline and other major pipeline construction projects around the world.

President & CEO Mary S. Bones (Centre), (L-R) Billy Roach, Derrick Gillis, Ray Lutz, Kim Baker, Ryan Day and Eric Gillis.

Charles B. Harter constructed the building that would become H&M headquarters in 1929. But it was not until 1932, after selling his five welding supply stores and two oxygen separation plants, that Harter would hit upon his idea.

While looking for his next venture in the late 1920s, Harter asked some friends who worked in the pipeline business if there was anything that would help make their jobs easier. They proceeded to tell him just how difficult and time-consuming it was to cut and grind the pipe’s end to a square. The current process was extremely slow, very inaccurate and required hours of hand grinding to prepare the pipe for welding.

Harter immediately began trying to solve the problem with the help of some associates and the local foundry. His goal was to create a small, portable machine that could cut the pipe to length and place a bevel in one efficient revolution. By 1934, after tinkering and several prototypes, Harter had produced the industry’s first portable pipe cutting and bevelling machine. He simultaneously founded H&M and started selling his invention to customers.

Harter had changed the pipe industry with his invention. His saddle-like design allowed pipe builders to quickly and easily place the machine over a pipe section. The machine would then rotate around the pipe as a secured torch would cleanly cut the metal. This resulted in accurate cuts and bevels in a fraction of the time. When using H&M's machine, all sizes of pipe could be cut and bevelled in minutes instead of hours. H&M’s pipe bevelling and cutting machine saved industrial companies considerable amounts of time and money, and has continued to do so for the past 85 years.

More sizes and design modifications would follow over the years – including an upgrade from iron to aluminium that radically reduced the weight of the machine. But the ability of Harter’s original core design has held firm throughout decades of changing industries and new technology.

Upon Harter’s death in 1950, his wife, Mary, took on the role of President until 1979. After which she was succeeded by niece Margaret J. Stallard. Her husband, Harry Stallard, and brother-in-law, Lloyd Lippincott, became Vice Presidents of the company.

A testament to the work ethic of generations of H&M leadership, Margaret Stallard remained heavily involved in her position as President until 2011, when she retired at the age of 88. Today H&M is managed by her daughter, Mary Stallard Bones, a third-generation family member and the third woman to lead the company.

“I’ve always admired how well [my parents] balanced running a business and caring for our family,” says Mary Stallard Bones, H&M’s owner and CEO. “After my mother’s passing in April of this year, several people in the industry sent me cards and letters saying things like ‘You know both of your parents were icons in this industry.’ My mother and father had such admiration from people and were very well respected. That says so much about their character.”

Any H&M employee will tell you that the customer-driven company culture drives the success of this family-owned business. “In addition to working on our saddle-type division and developing new products, what we’re really focused on is constantly improving relationships with our customers,” said Ryan Day, H&M’s VP of Sales & Marketing. “We work hard to find out what they need and then create the solution.”

Since its founding, H&M has been a benchmark for quality, whether that has been the company’s products or processes. Determined to carry on its tradition of industry leadership, H&M continues to outdo itself in establishing higher industry standards in precision, quality and portability in all its machines, tools and accessories. The company attributes its quality and customer satisfaction to actively listening to customers and staying up-to-date on the latest industry technology.

A pivotal change in H&M’s history occurred when the company broke away from a 40-year tradition of marketing their products through wholesale distribution. The change was made to benefit both the distributor and the customer. It allowed the company to provide streamlined order fulfilment, faster turnaround and a knowledgeable sales team that made integrated sales calls with distributors.

The company also offers a one year factory warranty that covers everything the company manufactures. Additionally, an exclusive five-year service warranty guarantees all H&M equipment.

The company’s capabilities extend from initial design to final assembly, including an engineering and tooling department operating with advanced simulation and computer-aided design and manufacturing platforms (CAD/CAM), and a full assortment of manufacturing equipment to design, fabricate, service and repair all of its products. Notably, the company just completed a repair on one of its machines that had been manufactured prior to World War II.

H&M is located in its original headquarters in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma (USA), where much of the assembly process still takes place. The company also has a partnership with a foundry that supplies the majority of their raw castings. H&M is extremely proud to support the nation’s economy and American families through its commitment to manufacture all products in the USA.

Ongoing research and development continues to forge a path to future success at H&M as the company develops new products and processes for pipe construction in industry applications around the world that including: major petroleum companies, leaders in the energy sector, lifesaving medical facilities, national companies in the agricultural industry and more.

As always, H&M remains focused on providing its customers with exceptional service and plans to carry on Charles B. Harter’s legacy of quality and build upon the same foundational principles that led the company through its last eight decades as the industry leader.

“Our tremendous success during the past 85 years would not have been possible without the incredible skill, enduring dedication and family-like loyalty of our employees,” said Mary Stallard Bones. “Since my great uncle founded the company, H&M has continually improved in order to better serve our customers. I’m honoured to say that my family has created a company that we are not only proud of, but one that is well-respected around the world by customers large and small across the pipe industry. I’d like H&M to go on for another 85 years of excellence!”

In remembrance of Margaret Jane Stallard, a wife, mother and businesswoman who worked hard and loved well. 29 July 1923 – 22 April 2019.

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