Plant tours are a hallmark of Manufacturing & Technology, an IndustryWeek event. In conjunction with the 2019 event, which was held in Pittsburgh, MSA Safety Inc. graciously invited conference and expo attendees to tour its Murrysville, Pennsylvania, manufacturing plant on April 1.
The manufacturer, which turned 100 years old in 2014, started in part as a result of a disastrous workplace accident. The event was the 1912 explosion at the Jed Mine in West Virginia that killed more than 80 miners as methane gas ignited. Jolted by the tragedy and recognizing the need for reliable mining safety equipment, mine engineer John T. Ryan Sr. approached a like-minded colleague, George H. Deike, and by mid-1914 the partners had started Mine Safety Appliances Co. Not to be overlooked is the early contribution of Thomas Edison, who the partners convinced to complete work on an electric cap lamp that MSA then distributed. The electric lamp replaced lamps lit by open flames, which often sparked mine explosions. Today MSA Safety manufactures a wide breadth of safety products. Its Murrysville plant makes safety products such as self-contained breathing appratus and industrial head protection products.