JASPER, IN - Arthur R. Segal, credited with inventing carbide tooling for machining wood and other industrial materials, died Oct. 12 at the age of 101.
After receiving an engineering degree from the University of Illinois in 1937, Segal worked as a research engineer for the Kearney and Trecker Corporation in Milwaukee, WI. There he worked on high-speed machining of armament research contracted by the U.S. military.
In 1942, Segal founded North American Products Corp. The company designed and manufactured the first mechanically held, solid Tungsten carbide blades for the high-speed machining of metals. After World War II, Segal began researching the potential of carbide for machining other materials including wood and plastics. His experiments helped lead to the development of a Tungsten carbide circular saw blade, which offered longer life and greater accuracy than solid steel bladed. Segal also developed and patented the first carbide-tipped saw blades for cuttinig wood, hard plastic and plastic laminates.
Segal grew his business by opening up carbide tool sharpening and sales divisions in many states and countries. Segal moved North American Products headquarters to Jasper in 1959.
Segal was active in the industry, writing technical articles for various publications and speaking at numerous seminars and universities about the design, machining and manufacturing of carbide cutting tools. He also served as president of the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America (WMMA) and served on the board of what evolved into the International Woodworking Fair.
Millie, Segal's wife of 75 years, worked in the business in various office capacities well into the 1970s. She died in 2011.
Segal is survived by two sons, Steve and John, who both succeeded him and grew the business reaching annual sales of more than $48 million at its zenith. The company was sold in 2006 and now operates as NapGladu LLC.
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