Founded in 1971
Merkle was founded in 1971 by F.P. (Pete) Merkle as Merkle and Associates. It was first located in Palatine, Illinois. In 1978, after 7 years in Palatine, the company operation was moved to Galena. From 1978 to 2013, the company occupied the same office on Perry Street, gradually increasing its space. In late 2013, the company changed to a new, larger office.
In 1979, the name was changed to Merkle Engineers, Inc. In 2007, the name was changed to Merkle International, Inc. to reflect the change in the company, from largely a domestic supplier to a company with a large portfolio of international customers.
Mr. Merkle’s first efforts were in the glass industry. For 18 years he had serviced this industry with his previous employer and was considered an expert, having developed many successful refractory designs. Founding his own company allowed him to concentrate his efforts in glass since his previous employer had been more oriented toward steel and other larger refractory-consuming industries.
The company’s patented Strut-Air® feeder wall for the float glass industry quickly became the state-of-the-art design for the application, a design which today is still the most widely used suspended refractory wall system in the glass industry. Other successful systems include the Modu-Lok® system for roofs and walls, and the Roto-Patch® system, widely used in the copper industry for making hot repairs while the furnace is still operating.
In the mid-1980’s, Mr. Merkle had the vision to foresee changes in the dynamics of glass industry furnace design and operation, and the opportunity presented itself to supply the charger systems that feed into the furnace the raw material for making glass. The Merkle charging machine was developed with the operator in mind, offering many improvements in adjustment and operation features. The machine is now in wide use worldwide, and many different models are offered.
From a modest beginning in 1971, Merkle has grown to a company known internationally for supplying high quality, reliable refractory systems and related equipment for all types of industrial furnaces.
Merkle’s growth and success are based on our customers’ recognition of our quality and service rather than any specific growth percentage or monetary targets. We feel that by providing our customers with the best quality and service at a fair price, they will return to us with more business and opportunities. Merkle continues to follow this policy, as its success is shown by our long list of satisfied and repeat customers.
Employees of Merkle are encouraged to participate in the ownership of the company by purchasing stock and to share in the company’s profitability. They are offered training and other opportunities to enrich their personal and professional lives.
It has been Merkle’s policy to share its success with the community, donating annually to many local and national charities, and participating in fundraising events.