Athens Mold and Machine started its history as Athens Machine Company, Athens Ohio, shortly after World War II in 1945 by Bridgewater Machine Company of Akron, Ohio. Bridgewater Machine Company specialized in “Machining and Fabricating Contract Manufacturing” for the Aerospace, Automotive and Locomotive industries. Once Bridgewater was into tire molds, the rubber industry asked them to start a division specifically for its industry and have it secluded in the Appalachian Mountains for the secrecy of their technology. One of the team members that came from Bridgewater Akron, Ohio to help start the Athens Machine Company was Jack Donald Thornton, the future founder of the Jax Group Companies. By 1959, The Athens Machine company was producing 150 molds a month to various customers including Sears, Atlas, General Tire and U.S. Rubber.
Although The Athens Machine Company started its manufacturing in a building of 7,000 square feet, it had grown to 65,000 square feet and to employ 315 hourly members and 50 salaried members by the time it was purchased by the Abex Corporation in 1970. The tire mold industry had bloomed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, producing passenger, truck and agricultural tire molds in their entirety including the world’s largest tire mold at the time. In 1972, demand for tire molds lessened due to the energy crisis and the beginning of radial tires. By the time the late 1970s rolled around, Abex had to close their location in Athens, OH leaving 240 people jobless. In 1981, the plant was purchased by two local businessmen primarily with the purpose of keeping the industry in Athens naming the company Athens Boring and Milling Co. Unfortunately, the company was short lived, and the plant was back on the market a few years later. Jack D. Thornton, founder and owner of the Jax Group Companies, who knew the potential of the once Athens Machine Company, quickly purchased the plant in 1985 and started producing tire molds once again in Athens, OH under the name Athens Mold and Machine, Inc.
In the 1980s and 90s we, Athens Mold and Machine, focused on cast aluminum passenger tire molds, steel engraved truck and bus tire molds, large agricultural tire molds and bladder molds, with 125 team members. At the turn of the century the tire mold industry began to shrink, during this period we began producing a steady volume of tire mold containers/mechanisms which eventually became our main product line. We decided to transform into this new niche, and over the years established ourselves as the container/mechanism manufacturer for the rubber and tire industry in the Americas. With 20 years of researching, designing, and producing mechanisms that exercise tire molds we can bring the expertise needed for development to the consumer. Along with our niche product line in the tire mold industry we have become a custom machine shop for Oil & Gas, Aerospace, Marine and many others.