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Stedman president pays tribute to cage mill inventor

By |  April 27, 2022
Chris Nawalaniec, president of Stedman Machine Company, spoke about the life and career of Nathan P. Stedman during the March 28 Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Photo: PamElla Lee Photography

Chris Nawalaniec, president of Stedman Machine Company, spoke about the life and career of Nathan P. Stedman during the March 28 Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Photo: PamElla Lee Photography

Nathan P. Stedman, the inventor of the cage mill, was enshrined in the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame during a March 28 induction ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee. Chris Nawalaniec, the president of Stedman Machine Company today, reflected on the life and career of Stedman during the black-tie celebration of the aggregate industry.

ON STEDMAN INVENTING THE CAGE MILL: The opportunity to tell a story about something so old, yet so relevant, is very special. Nathan Parker Stedman, inventor of the cage mill, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 11, 1838. He joined his father’s business in 1867, worked there for 50 years, eventually handing over the business to his sons. Much of the detailed history is lost to time. What the motivations were to design and build his legacy size-reduction masterpiece, we don’t know. What we do know is the first cage mill was shipped in 1875 to a brick plant in Zanesville, Ohio. For some perspective, in 1875, Ulysses S. Grant was president of the 37 United States of America, and also in 1875, Stedman Foundry & Machine Works had already been operating for 41 years.

ON HOW STEDMAN WOULD VIEW THE COMPANY TODAY: We would like to think that if Nathan P. Stedman could travel through time and see Stedman today, he would be pleased. He would be pleased to see the cage mill and the other size-reduction machines still produced by craftspeople that care about their co-workers, customers and community. He would see the marvels of 3D computer designs, sent to the factory and safely produced by state-of-the-art equipment and the human touch of skilled welders, machinists and assemblers. He may see reflections of the values he learned from his mother and father: respect, safety, inventiveness, hard work, financially sound business practices and involvement in the local community in the industries the company served.

Nathan P. Stedman was inducted into the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2021. Photo: P&Q Staff

Nathan P. Stedman was inducted into the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2021. Photo: P&Q Staff

ON THE COMPANY EVOLVING: We are all keenly aware that time does not stand still. If the people at Stedman had not had a strong entrepreneurial spirit, the company would not exist today. The cage mill and other equipment sustained the company for many years, but our survival came from constantly evolving our business. We have been able to objectively evaluate new technologies and ideas along the way, recognizing what ‘better’ looks like and embracing it.

ON WHAT STEDMAN MIGHT SAY ABOUT THE CHANGING INDUSTRY: If Nathan P. Stedman was with us now, he would share our exhilaration for the accelerated pace of changes – some thrust upon us by the necessity of dealing with the global pandemic, but the company values and the positive spirit showed their worth by not just adapting to the challenges but by thriving.

ON STEDMAN & FELLOW HALL OF FAMERS: In my mind, I think Nathan Parker Stedman would like all of you. He would respect you and what you have done for your industry and your country. We hope he would be pleased with his legacy of the cage mill invention and the positive impacts that has had on Stedman employees, our families and the aggregates and mining industries.

For more on the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, click here. To learn about Nathan P. Stedman and his impact on the industry, read his Hall of Fame profile

Jack Kopanski

About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or jkopanski@northcoastmedia.net.

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