John Crane, Inc. (Morton Grove)

Created in 1917, John Crane Inc was originally known as the Crane Packing Company. The original products offered included material for packing and various types of gaskets. Eventually the company would move into the production and selling of products associated with petroleum, pharmaceuticals, paper, pulp, mining equipment and various other chemicals. Its early days weren't extremely successful, but as the business began to diversify it slowly grew into a major competitor in many industries. Today, the company is part of Smiths Group PLC and remains as a public stock traded on different markets. During the 20th Century, asbestos was commonly used as a material that aided in production of a great deal of products. Many items require a large amount of heat or the use of caustic chemicals to be manufactured. To complete such operations in a safe and efficient manner, asbestos was a common choice. The material is abundant across the US and can easily be mined. It is also great for resisting high temperatures and can prevent caustic chemicals from damaging machinery and employees. As the economy in America grew after World War II, so did the usage of asbestos in manufacturing. It wouldn't be until decades later that the Federal Government recognized the danger of using the toxin, and would ban it from virtually all uses throughout the country. Before this time, workers commonly used the material to either create products from it, or wore protective clothing made of it. This led to a lot of employees at this and other companies to inhale dust created from handling asbestos. It is that dust that is now known to be the main culprit and cause of mesothelioma, along with a great deal of other illnesses. Asbestosis is a respiratory illness that greatly reduces lung function. Like most asbestos related illnesses, there aren't many options in terms of a cure. Treatment can be more effective when diseases are found at an early stage. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer and has no known cure. It affects tissues that surround vital organs and can spread quickly throughout a patient’s body. Though early detection is extremely difficult, especially since the disease takes years to develop, there are some treatment options that are known to help. Employees in the industries described above during the period when asbestos was widely used are at a particularly heightened risk of developing one of these diseases.