Arthur R. Segal Obituary

Arthur R. Segal, age 101, passed away at 9:50 a.m. Saturday (January 12, 2013) in Memorial Hospital & Health Care Center in Jasper.

He was born June 30, 1911 at Kansas City, Missouri to Henry and Ada (Bennett) Segal. He married Mildred “Millie” Hebrank October 25, 1935 in the Evangelical Church in Highland, Illinois. She preceded him in death March 14, 2011.

After high school, Arthur served his apprenticeship training at the United States Radiator Corporation and then as an engineering draftsman at the Laclede Steel Company at Alton, IL. He saved most of his earning so that he could attend college.

Arthur married Mildred Hebrank, the daughter of John and Matilda Hebrank of Highland, IL on October 25, 1935 and they moved to Champaign, IL where Arthur completed his last two years at the University of Illinois. He graduated from the School of Engineering in 1937, obtained his license as a professional engineer and accepted a position as a research engineer at the Kearney and Trecker Corporation in Milwaukee, WI. Much of the research involved government projects for the military focused on the development of high speed machining of armaments. Arthur also served as a training instructor for Navy Midshipmen at Marquette University.

In 1942, Arthur started his own company, North American Products Corporation, designing and manufacturing the first mechanically held, solid carbide blades for the high-speed machining of metals. At the time, the development of the new cutting tool metal known as Tungsten Carbide, was at the leading edge of industrial technology and was of high importance for the nation’s war effort. Arthur worked closely with Phillip McKenna, who had been an associate at Kearney and Trecker, and who later founded the Kennametal Corporation.

After the war, Arthur began experimenting with the design and manufacturing of tools for machining materials other than metals. This resulted in the development of the first Tungsten Carbide circular saw blade, a product which would rapidly replace the use of solid steel blades due to their long production life and increased accuracy. Mr. Segal developed the first carbide tipped saw blades for cutting wood, hard plastics and plastic laminates and he held patents on many of the basic carbide tipped tool designs now commonly used in industrial production.

While the company initially grew on the basis of its innovative tooling designs, North American Products began opening carbide tool sharpening and sales divisions in many stated and eventually, in foreign countries. The company’s first tool sharpening division was located in Jasper, IN in 1957, and the company moved its headquarters and manufacturing facilities to Jasper in 1959.

Along with growing and operating the business, Arthur wrote technical articles for various industrial and scientific publications. He also presented papers and seminars at numerous universities regarding the design, machining and manufacturing of Tungsten Carbide cutting tools.

He served as a director of the Wood Machinery Manufacturing Associations (WMMA), and also as a director for the associations industrial Fair Board. He directed the association’s noise control research program in coordination with Wylie Research Laboratories in Huntsville, AL. Arthur also represented the association in regard to product liability legislation in Washington D.C. In 1966, he was a U.S. representative to the United Nations Technical Industrial Production Conference in Vienna, Austria.

Arthur’s lifelong partner in business was his wife, Millie. In the early years of the business she was his secretary, bookkeeper, office manager and receptionist. Arthur and Mildred continued working at the company well into their seventies. They celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary on August 25, 2010.

Arthur’s two sons, Steve and John, succeeded him in operating and growing the business. North American Products Corporation became the largest manufacturer and servicer of industrial carbide tipped tooling for the woodworking and metalworking industries in the United States, reaching sales in excess of $48 million per year and employing over 350 people. While the company’s headquarters and manufacturing continued to be located in Jasper, it also owned and operated twelve tool service maintenance plants in the United States and Canada, along with distributor sales in Europe and South America. The company was sold in 2005 but continues operations under the name NapGladu LLC.

He is a member of the Shiloh United Methodist Church in Jasper and a former member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Jasper.

His hobbies were golfing and fishing, most of which occurred after his retirement.

Surviving; two sons;

  • John Segal and his wife Sara, Jasper, IN
  • Steven Segal and his wife Lavonne, Phoenix, AZ

Four grandchildren, Todd, Christy Ann, Jason and Michael. Also four great grandchildren.

Preceding him in death besides his wife are three brothers, two sisters, and two step-brothers.

Funeral services for Arthur Segal will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday (January 16, 2013) at Shiloh United Methodist Church with entombment in Fairview Cemetery Mausoleum. The Rev. Bob Dexter will officiate.

Friends may call from 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesday (January 15, 2013) at the Becher-Kluesner Downtown Chapel in Jasper and one hour before services at church.

Memorial contributions may be Young Life of Jasper C/O 1180 Wernsing Rd., Jasper, IN.


Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.