Philip Carey Manufacturing

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For almost 80 years, the Rapid-American/Philip Carey Manufacturing Corporation of Cincinnati, Ohio, mined asbestos, manufactured insulation products and distributed asbestos-containing insulation for industrial use.

The Philip Carey Manufacturing Corporation, also referred to as Old Carey or Rapid-American, was founded in 1888. The company mined asbestos and manufactured asbestos-containing insulation for boilers, generators, pipes, and other industrial equipment until the 1960s.

The dangers of asbestos, a fibrous crystalline mineral, were not necessarily known in the late 1800s when Philip Carey was established. However, by the mid-1960s, the link between asbestos and certain illnesses was clear. Health center statistics showed abnormally high rates of asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other pulmonary diseases among electricians, plumbers, and others who worked with or around asbestos-containing materials. Doctors even suggested that the wives of workers were exposed to toxic levels of asbestos when they simply washed the workmen’s shirts. Thus the Philip Carey Manufacturing Corporation, or rather a later division of the company called Celotex, would face tens of thousands of lawsuits and succumb to bankruptcy by 1990.

From the 1960s until the early 1970s, the Philip Carey Manufacturing Corporation company underwent a series of mergers and name changes that complicated the filing of asbestos injury lawsuits. However, one division of the company, Celotex, ultimately took the greatest fall.

In 1967, Philip Carey merged with the Glen Alden Corporation. The new organization was officially dubbed the Philip Carey Corporation and was informally referred to as New Carey. Additional name changes were quick to follow. Just 3 years later, the company merged with Briggs Manufacturing. It was then briefly known as Panacon and Celotex before it merged with Rapid-American, another Ohio-based corporation, in 1972.

The Philip Carey Manufacturing Corporation and its various incarnations were involved in asbestos mining and the manufacturing of asbestos-containing products. Thus, individuals who worked in Carey factories and installed, maintained, or removed the corporation’s products ran a high risk of developing asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related diseases. Rapid-American/Philip Carey faced its first asbestos lawsuits in the 1970s and was overwhelmed with tens of thousands of lawsuits within a decade.

By the late 1980s, one division of the Carey enterprise, Celotex, became the sole focus of lawsuits. The company declared bankruptcy in 1990, a move that helped established a compensation fund while shifting the focus of claims to the parent company, Rapid-American. However, Celotex’s compensation fund proved inadequate, and many of these claims remain unsettled.

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