Rathburn Tool & Manufacturing got its start in 1983, but our history starts well before then in the events and moments that helped define the character of our founder, Jerry Rathburn, and the values of the company he founded.
Jerry was drafted for service in the Vietnam War in 1967, and served in the 199th light infantry as a combat soldier until 1969. Upon his return, he applied the same dogged determination and leadership that had served him well overseas as Sergeant E5 Squad Leader and Chief Computer, responsible for calculations for projectiles (charge, elevation, latitude/longitude) into his education at Purdue University, where he attended night school five nights a week and earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1977.
Jerry maintained a solid work schedule at Dana Corporation as a lab technician during the day while in school to get the experience he desired, and then continued there as an engineer upon graduation.
In keeping with his interest for automobiles and motorcycles, Jerry opened a NAPA Auto Parts store in Ossian, Indiana, in 1976, while still working at Dana. By 1980, at 33 years of age, Jerry achieved status as a Chief Engineer. But manufacturing was his true love.
So, in 1983, Jerry bought out a Souder Motors, a local machine shop located in an old car wash relocated from downtown Auburn, Indiana, and created Rathburn Tool & Manufacturing. It started with two manual mills, a gravel floor, and machines on wood blocks.
With a stellar reputation for quality, Jerry and his team steadily built the company, with new CNC machines and a patent for machined parts in the late 1980s. The 1990s maintained the steady growth and set the company up for ongoing success in the 2000s.
“My vision for rathburn was never to be the biggest or flashiest. I wanted this company to be known for the quality of the people here and the quality of the work we turned out every day.”