William E. and Dr. Joe R. Urschel
Pioneers and Innovators
Class of 2021
Northwest Indiana has been home to Urschel Laboratories since it was founded by William E. Urschel (1880-1948) after his successful invention of the Gooseberry Snipper. Since its early days, Urschel Laboratories has served as an international leader in the development of cutting-edge technology. Today, the company's focus is within the food processing machinery arena as consumers worldwide purchase foods processed using Urschel machinery, In 1948, Joe (1913--1996) succeeded his father as president of the company. Greatly influenced by his father, Joe dedicated his life to inventing, designing and manufacturing food processing equipment and machinery. It was under his leadership that the company expanded in Northwest Indiana as well as internationally.
William and Joe were both pioneers and innovators. Between the two of them, they hold more than 140 U.S. patents, many of which helped shape the technology we use in the present day. William's 1941 patent concerning a concrete forming/laying machine is believed to be the earliest venture into what is now popular 3D printing. One of Joe's most notable inventions is the single-pass milling machine, the Comitrol® Processor Model 9300, which remains the go-to in the production of peanut butter and nut milk.
Over the course of their lifetimes, both were active business and civic leaders in Valparaiso as well as in national industry associations. Through their work and community involvement, William and Joe Urschel exemplify the four pillars of a South Shore Legend. Their determination and courage in exploring new technologies resulted in innovative inventions. By finding new and more precise ways to cut commercially processed foods, they increased efficiencies, reduced labor and used the South Shore ingenuity to impact consumers locally, regionally and globally.
William and Joe Urschel were nominated by Employee Owners of Urschel Laboratories, Inc.