Atlas' 100+ Year History
Atlas Machine and Supply, Inc.
Atlas has a rich, long history dating back to the early 1900s. Over the years it has successfully faced a multitude of challenges, such as: the Great Depression and the Great Louisville Flood in the 1930s; the introduction of new industrial products and services over the decades; the opening of seven satellite facilities in the region; and the transition of the company’s leadership over four generations of the Gimmel family. In appreciation of this strong and varied history, we invite you to review Atlas’ some of the historical highlights below.
Walter Chick, a timekeeper at the American Machine Company, in Louisville leaves his job and organizes a group to form Atlas Machine Company.
Atlas Machine Company begins operations designing and manufacturing elevators.
Robert Gimmel joins Atlas as a design engineer.
After a devastating fire, Atlas shifts strategy and begins devoting its machining capabilities to rebuilding automobiles and automobile engines. Name changes to Atlas Motor Machine Shop.
Walter Chick dies, and the company is purchased by Robert Gimmel. Name changes to Atlas Auto Parts and Grinding Company, with a focus on auto parts sales, engine rebuilding, and cylinder and crankshaft grinding.
In the midst of the Great Depression, and later the Great Louisville Flood, the company survives because of the Gimmel family’s philosophy of carrying minimal debt and reinvesting profits back into the company.
Robert Gimmel’s son, Richard (Dick) Gimmel Sr., joins the company as a parts runner and later works as a diesel mechanic, welder, and machinist.
Atlas expands its services beyond auto engine services and becomes a service dealer for air compressors.
Atlas builds and moves into its first facility owned by the company, on West Jefferson Street near downtown Louisville. The focus remains on auto parts sales, along with engine machining and grinding. Compressor service is expanded to include air rebuilding.
Robert Gimmel dies and is succeeded by his son Richard Gimmel Sr. Auto parts sales are de-emphasized as the company begins to move its focus toward the rebuilding of heavy industrial, mining, and construction machinery and components
Atlas builds an addition to its building on West Jefferson. To accommodate the steady growth of the company, two more expansions will follow in the years to come at the West Jefferson location.
Robert (Rob) Gimmel II joins the company and becomes president. Richard Gimmel Sr. is chairman.
Atlas expands its compressed air servicing and rebuilding to also include the sale of air systems.
Richard (Rich) Gimmel, Jr. joins Atlas and the company opens its first branch location in Cincinnati, Ohio. Just two years later, Atlas opens a second branch in Evansville, Indiana.
Atlas moves its Louisville headquarters, along with distribution, service, and manufacturing operations, into a newly-constructed 100,000-sq. ft. facility in the Jefferson Riverport industrial park.
Richard (Richie) Gimmel III joins the company full-time as a mechanical engineer. Atlas begins investing heavily in the expansion of its engineering capacities for both its machining/welding and compressed air operations.
Richard Gimmel Sr. dies in 2006. Later, Robert Gimmel II retires and Richard Gimmel Jr. becomes president and transitions into becoming the sole owner of the company.
Atlas celebrates its 100-year anniversary
Atlas establishes a Field Machining division to accommodate the increasing demand for its onsite services.
Atlas unveils its custom-built, large capacity welding machine--the largest of its type in North America. Known internally as the Big Green Machine, it is capable of welding rolls weighing up to 62,000 lbs. and measuring up to 40 ft. long.
Richard Gimmel Jr. becomes chairman of Atlas. Richard Gimmel III becomes the fourth generation to lead the company’s day-to-day operations as president. The company invests heavily in value-added engineering capabilities to support product differentiation in its machine shop and compressed air operations.
Atlas establishes a new division for innovation and research within the company, known as the Corporate Development Group.
Atlas named an exclusive distributor of Sullair compressed air systems and related products.
Richard Gimmel, Jr. retires from the company and passes ownership of Atlas to the family’s fourth generation.
Richard Gimmel III focuses on employee retention during COVID. Not a single employee lost their job due to the pandemic.