Materion History

We may be only five years old – but we’ve got hundreds of years of history.

In the marketplace and among our customers, we’re known by a single name: Materion. Yet, we’ve built who we are today because we have centuries of innovative lineage behind us. These collective efforts fuel the Materion of tomorrow.

1912-01-01 01:52:47

Alexander D. Williams

After discovering the second largest gold nugget during the Alaska Gold Rush, Williams moves to Kansas City. He uses his gains from the gold rush to buy into a company that manufactures dental gold from gold scrap, later starting a plant in Buffalo, NY. For three generations the Williams family continues to run the Williams Gold Refining Company.

1920-01-01 01:52:47

Reginald Williams

Reginald (son to Alexander) works with Dr. Leeds Northrop at Princeton University to develop the first commercial application of the induction furnace now recognized as the best process to produce high-quality gold alloy.

1921-01-01 01:52:47

Charles F. Brush Jr. and Dr. Charles B. Sawyer

Sawyer, a metallurgical engineer, worked with Brush to investigate the commercial potential of mineral crystals. Together the two founded Brush Laboratories Company.

1924-01-01 01:52:47

Bengt Kjellgren

The Swedish chemical engineer, begins working with Sawyer on the extraction of beryllium oxide from beryl ore. He will eventually lead Brush Beryllium Co.

1930-02-02 02:26:04

An idea is born

The company pioneers and patents the direct reduction of beryllium oxide with carbon in the presence of copper in an electric arc. This process makes previous electrolytic production models obsolete and enables the economical production of copper beryllium master alloy.

1931-01-01 01:52:47

Charles F. Brush, Sr.

With the death of his son in 1927, the great Euclid-born inventor begins working with Sawyer to incorporate Brush Beryllium Company.

1931-02-02 02:26:04

Where we started...

Although we're Materion today, we've been known by many names over the years. On January 9, 1931, the Brush Beryllium Company officially incorporated, with a capitalized investment of $500.

1933-01-01 01:52:47

Beryllium oxide makes its debut in radio tubes

The company's first commercial sale – an order of 50 pounds of pure beryllium oxide – was made in the early months of 1933 to the Rare Metals Manufacturing Company, which produced electric insulators in radio tubes. Other early oxide customers included the American Lava Corporation, Ken-Rad Corporation and the General Electric Company which needed the materials to manufacture refractories, spark plugs, electrical porcelains and gas mantles.

1935-12-05 19:44:37

Production moves to Lorain, Ohio

1939-01-01 01:52:47

Supporting defense efforts during WWII

With war breaking out across Europe, the U.S. government takes an interest in beryllium for its top-secret defense efforts. During the U.S. involvement in World War II, the company supplies more than half of the country’s copper beryllium requirements, used extensively in forged aircraft engine bushings and cast brake and clutch rings for Navy marine diesels. The products become a staple for the military, due in part to their strength and resistance to corrosion.

1947-02-02 02:26:04

A new metallurgy

The company's scientists & engineers make a 'quantum leap' in beryllium metallurgy, perfecting powder metallurgy techniques to make pure beryllium over earlier cast form.

1947-12-05 19:44:37

Headquarters and R&D move to Perkins Avenue in Cleveland

1949-01-01 01:52:47

Beryllium during the atomic age

The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) becomes the first significant user of metallic beryllium and beryllium oxide after research scientists discovered pure beryllium is the ideal material for enabling controlled atomic reactions. Over the next several decades, the company plays a significant role in defense efforts related to atomic science.

1950-01-01 01:52:47

Ervin & Suzann Colton

The doctor, an inorganic chemist, and his wife were instrumental in manufacturing hot-pressed ceramic and refractory metals.

1953-12-05 19:44:37

Elmore, Ohio facility opens

In 1957, the facility expanded to allow the company to produce beryllium for use by the U.S. government, reinforcing our importance to national security

1955-02-02 02:26:04

Innovations for space

The company makes history by forging 80-inch billets of QMV beryllium, the largest produced at the time, which were later used to make heat shields that enabled the safe return to earth of NASA's first astronauts in Project Mercury.

1956-02-02 02:26:04

Company goes public

The company makes its first public stock offering and is traded over the counter. In 1972, the company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange with the symbol: BW.

1957-02-02 02:26:04

Acquisition of Penn Precision Products in Reading, PA

The company enters the copper beryllium rolled products business.

1958-01-01 01:52:47

Beryllium takes the U.S. into space

Beryllium is discovered to be the ideal material for heat shields on early space capsules. Beryllium will continue to play a role in major space launches over the next several decades, including making up the shingles and plates used on Alan Shepard's 1961 Mercury space capsule – the first American flight into space. Beginning in the 1980s, Beryllium metal, alloys and ceramic parts fly on NASA’s Space Shuttle.

1958-02-02 02:26:04

Manufacturing begins on industrial precious metals

Known as "the wire so fine it can't be seen with the naked eye," these alloys allow for the production of semi-conductors.

1960-02-02 02:26:04

Taking flight

The company develops a low density beryllium with superior strength and rigidity – a key ingredient for the missile and high performance aircraft markets.

1961-12-05 19:44:37

Headquarters, R&D and fabrication move to St. Clair Avenue in Cleveland

1964-02-06 07:22:41

The need for speed

Famous race car driver A.J. Foyt wins the Indianapolis 500 with a set of “heat loving, weight saving” beryllium brakes made from the company's materials.

1969-02-02 02:26:04

Developing bertrandite ore deposits

With the construction of a new ore mine and processing mill in Utah, the company becomes the only fully integrated producer of beryllium, beryllium containing alloys and beryllia ceramic, and lessens dependence on foreign supplies.

1971-02-02 02:26:04

Acquisition of friction material producer S.K. Wellman

Shareholders vote to change the company name to Brush Wellman, which remains the primary identity until 2000, when the corporate name was changed to Brush Engineered Materials.

1974-02-02 02:26:04

A breakthrough technology: beryllia ceramics

The innovation is ideal for automotive electronic ignition systems, enabled a 20% improvement in vehicle fuel economy.

1974-02-06 07:22:41

Improving automobile fuel economy

As fuel prices skyrocket and lines form at gas stations around the globe, automakers in North America, Europe and Japan begin using beryllia ceramics in electronic ignition systems. The move leads to a critical 20% improvement in vehicle fuel economy.

1975-12-05 19:44:37

Gold refining plant expansion begins

1976-02-06 07:22:41

More breaking power

A strong R&D focus leads to the production of "Brake Grade" beryllium, which becomes the material of choice for a range of military aircraft disc brake rotors.

1980-02-06 07:22:41

Driving the first computers

The company shifts its sole focus on basic beryllium products to technology, adding new products that serve markets in the emerging information economy, ushering in the advent of home PCs and electronics.

1980-12-05 19:44:37

New beryllium ceramics facility opens in Tucson, Arizona

1981-02-02 02:26:04

Acquisition of ceramics operation in Massachusetts

The purchase allows the company to begin manufacturing a new generation of beryllia ceramic electronic packages.

1981-02-02 02:26:04

A customized coating for NASA

In response to a request from NASA, the company develops a special lightweight coating to use on the ceramic tiles that protect the Space Shuttle and its astronauts during re-entry.

1981-02-02 02:26:04

Brush 290

The new and highly workable copper-beryllium strip product is used by electronic connector manufacturers to deliver high performance without the need for heat treatment by fabricators.

1981-12-05 19:44:37

Offices open in Germany, England and Japan

1982-02-02 02:26:04

Acquisition of Technical Materials, Inc. (TMI) in Rhode Island

The purchase adds specialty metals to the company's portfolio.

1986-02-02 02:26:04

Acquisition of Williams Gold Refining Company in New York

The company's portfolio expands to include highly engineered grades of precious and non-precious metals for the electromechanical industries.

1986-12-05 19:44:37

Milwaukee hot pressing operations expand

The facility, part of what was once CERAC, adds manufacturing space.

1990-02-02 02:26:04

Brush 60®

1990-02-02 02:26:04

Acquisition of Electrofusion Corporation in California

1990-02-02 02:26:04

A new focus

The company reinvents itself, with a shift in focus from the aerospace defense market to commercial market-based demand for engineered materials.

1992-02-02 02:26:04

Alloy 174 and 171 patents

The products are designed for use in the auto electronics market; Alloy 174 begins replacing brass and bronze in automotive relays and connectors.

1992-02-02 02:26:04

AlBeMet® hits the market

The new family of aluminum and beryllium metal matrix materials offer significantly higher machinability.

1992-12-05 19:44:37

Brush Wellman Singapore (Pte) Ltd. forms

The move allows the company to provide local service and distribution in Southeast Asia.

1994-12-05 19:44:37

Building 2 is constructed in Milwaukee

The new area accommodates growing demand for magnesium fluoride (MgF2).

1996-12-05 19:44:37

$120 million expansion

The company announces plans to invest in an Elmore Expansion Project, its largest capital investment ever.

1997-12-05 19:44:37

New facility opens in Lorain, Ohio

The $10 million facility focuses production on the world's first copper-nickel-tin spinodal alloy (later to become ToughMet).

1998-02-07 00:13:34

Acquisition of PureTech Inc. in New York

This took us into the non-precious metal target business.

2000-02-02 02:26:04

ToughMet®

The new copper-nickel-tin alloy is heralded for its durability and non-stick properties. Initial uses include aircraft landing gear, industrial equipment and off-road equipment.

2000-02-06 07:22:41

Lifting heavy industry

A new copper-nickel-tin alloy, ToughMetⓇ, helps drive performance throughout the heavy equipment, mining and oil & gas industries.

Materion History

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