On April 20, 1916, Worthington Pump and Machinery Corporation was created out of the reorganization of the International Steam Pump Company. The International Steam Pump Company previously merged with five steam pump companies, including the Henry R. Worthington Company, the Blake & Knowles Steam Pump Works, the Deane Steam Pump Works and the Laidlaw Dunn Gordon Company. Worthington established numerous plants throughout the United States, and it manufactured a variety of pumps, engines and compressors at its Buffalo plant, including pumps used on naval battleships, cruisers and submarines. Located on Roberts Avenue, the Buffalo plant consisted of ten buildings on twenty-seven acres of land, including a foundry, a pattern shop, a welding shop and buildings dedicated to the manufacture of pumps, compressors and diesel engines.
Worthington Pump’s Buffalo plant was initially established in 1889 as the Snow Pump Works. In 1899, Snow Pump merged with the International Steam Pump Company. At the time of the merger, International Steam Pump controlled about ninety percent of the United States market for steam pumps. In 1902, the Holly Manufacturing Company, a Lockport, New York subsidiary of International Steam Pump, relocated its operations to the Snow Pump Works facility and became known as the Snow-Holly Works. Holly manufactured the massive steam pumping engines for the Colonel Francis G. Ward Pumping Station. In 1984 and after a series of mergers and acquisitions, Dresser Industries acquired Worthington. In 1987, the Buffalo plant (also known as the Snow-Holly Works) closed.
Prior to the late 1970s, asbestos-containing gaskets and packing material were used in the manufacturing process of Worthington pumps and compressors. Asbestos-containing pipe covering, insulating cement and block insulation were also utilized during maintenance procedures at Worthington Pump. Inhaling dust and particles from the application of asbestos-containing materials placed workers at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Asbestos-containing gaskets and packing material were incorporated into pumps and compressors manufactured at the Worthington Pump facility in Buffalo. These pumps were used in virtually every industry in the United States, including energy production, steel making, automotive manufacturing, shipbuilding, mining and paper making. Worthington pumps were also integral parts of the propulsion systems on board steam-powered civilian and military ships. Asbestos-containing gaskets ensured a tight seal between flanges, pumps and valves, and they also provided a watertight seal for doors that provided access to the interior of pumps and compressors. Asbestos-containing packing material was wrapped around pump shafts and valve stems in order to prevent fluid leaks. Gaskets and packing material were often replaced during maintenance on Worthington pumps and compressors; the replacement process emitted asbestos dust, which workers inhaled.
Asbestos-containing pipe covering, insulating cement and block insulation covered pipes, pumps, valves and boilers associated with the steam system at Worthington Pump’s Buffalo plant. During maintenance procedures, asbestos-containing materials were removed and reapplied. When worn insulation was removed, new asbestos-containing insulation was applied to pipes, boilers and other equipment within the steam system so that it could maintain a constant internal temperature. When asbestos-containing insulation was removed and reapplied, asbestos dust and fibers became airborne. Most workers were completely unaware of the dangers of exposure to the asbestos dust, and performed their work without masks or protective gear.
In the process of representing workers and their families, we have gathered a vast amount of information concerning the type and variety of asbestos-containing products to which our clients were exposed. Our clients understand the importance of securing legal representation as soon as possible after a diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer. If you or a loved one were once employed at Worthington Pump in Buffalo, New York and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.