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Chicago Rivet’s Plant on Former Golf Course

Chicago Rivet’s Plant on Former Golf Course
October 09
00:28 2018

MEDIA SPOTLIGHT – The Tyrone Division of Chicago Rivet & Machine Co. sits on the site of a former Pennsylvania Railroad recreational facility that included a golf course.

“I’ve been told Chicago Rivet is sitting on number nine,” said Mike Sweitzer, a company employee for 42 years and plant manager for the last 23 years told staff writer Walt Frank of the Altoona Mirror.

Chicago Rivet will be inducted in the Blair County Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame on October 15, 2018 — which makes between 800 and 1,000 different rivets at a plant in Tyrone, PA, a town of 5,300 people outside of Altoona, about 100 east of Pittsburgh.

“We’re honored that our Tyrone team members have been recognized by the Blair County business community for their many years of outstanding and dedicated efforts on behalf of our organization,” said John Morrissey Jr., VP of sales for the Naperville, IL-based company, which was founded in 1920.

The Tyrone Division opened in 1947 and is one of two manufacturing facilities for Chicago Rivet, which produces fasteners, assembly equipment and automated assembly systems.

“We make fasteners and ma­chines. We build machines that use our own rivets. The machine segment is about 20% of our business,” Sweitzer told the Mirror.

In the early 1970s, the plant employed about 300. For the past 15 years employment has been steady at about 100.

Sweitzer said the plant has been adding new equipment over the last 10 years.

“We did it a piece at a time,” Sweitzer told the Mirror. “We had to purchase more equipment to meet standards. Technology keeps changing.”

The machines produce 200 to 300 parts per minute today compared to 50 to 60 parts a minute in the past, Sweitzer noted.

“Some of the machines built in the 1950s, they last forever but run slow. Technology has enabled us to produce our products more efficiently. It’s crazy how fast things have got,” Sweitzer told the Mirror.

Cutco Cutlery is one of Chicago Rivet’s biggest customers.

“We built a machine for them to put three rivets in at a time,” Sweitzer said. “We have the ability to design specific machines.”

“We’ve always tried to get our fasteners domestically, and Chicago Rivet has always been our primary vendor,” Cutco product engineering manager Paul Eade told the Mirror. “Most of our assembly machines were made in Tyrone. They make a very good quality machine that does the job day in and day out.”

“As far as fasteners, Chicago Rivet has always been a great supplier for us. We feel good about our relationship with them,” said Eade, who has been working with the rivet company for three decades.

Sweitzer credited the corporate office’s role in the plant’s success.

“I go back to the support from the board of directors and management who keep us current with technology and our long-term employees who have provided us with consistent performance,” Sweitzer told the Mirror.

“We’re looking at expansion,” Sweitzer added. “Our building is tight. We’d like to bring in more technology, and the newer ma­chines are bigger. If we can get more space, there’s po­tential for expansion.”

It can be a problem to find qualified workers.  

“A lot of this is highly skilled work. You can’t go to a trade school and find people with the necessary train­ing,” Sweitzer told the Mirror. “For some of these positions, it takes three years to train. We don’t have any trouble finding general machinists.” Web:

Editor’s Note:  Articles in Media Spotlight are excerpts from publications or broadcasts which show the industry what the public is reading or hearing about fasteners or fastener companies.

For a summary of the past decade of Chicago Rivet’s financial performance, FIN Subscribers can click on Fastener Stocks on

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