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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.

Atlas Elevator



Robert Gimmel joins Atlas as a design engineer.

Grandpa_Robert N Gimmel



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.

1915   Old Atlas




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.

1925   Old Atlas_Machine Shop _2_sepia



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.

1930s   Old Atlas_logo_The Sign of Service_sepia



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.

1933   Dick Gimmel._sepia



Atlas expands its services beyond auto engine services and becomes a service dealer for air compressors.

CP Comp



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

Coal Mine Excavator



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.

1964   Number 2_Jefferson St_early 1960s-1




Robert (Rob) Gimmel II joins the company and becomes president. Richard Gimmel Sr. is chairman.

1977   Rob Gimmel_April2015



Atlas expands its compressed air servicing and rebuilding to also include the sale of air systems.

1984   140618-AtlasAir-157




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.

rich in front of atlas



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.

Jefferson 0riverport_200827-Atlas-J-045



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 helmet_lightened_DSC_8969 (2)



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.





Atlas opens a third branch location in Columbus, Ohio, and a fourth in Indianapolis, Indiana. Within the next few years, three more satellite locations are added in Tennessee and Kentucky.




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.160128-atlas-Richie_Shop Floor_402_24068000493_o__Richie




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.