The history of Van Mechelen Lifting Gear
Van Mechelen Lifting Gear was established in 1869 in Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands. Bergen op Zoom is situated halfway between Rotterdam and Antwerp (Belgium). The company was started by Piet van Mechelen under the name of P.J. van Mechelen, as a black-smith and coach repair shop adjacent to the coach shop of his father. Around 1890 the company also started manufacturing bicycles.
Hoisting and rigging gear
The company expanded its business and started trading technical items such as engines, sewing machines, safes and safe doors and sports equipment. Early in the previous century the company started manufacturing hoisting and rigging gear, wire rope blocks, crane blocks, hooks and turnbuckles. Around 1920, the manufacturing of bicycles came to an end. In 1922, an iron foundry in Bergen op Zoom was acquired (Hagenaars, Bol & Co.).
After WWII the company focused on three main activities; a forging company, an iron foundry and a machine shop. The machine shop mainly concentrated on hoisting gear. In 1950, the steam forging works moved to Halsteren, a small suburban village just north of Bergen op Zoom. In 1961, the foundry also moved to Halsteren.
In the early seventies, the activities of the steam forging company were terminated and in the late seventies, the iron foundry also closed its doors.
In 1980, the machine works moved into the premises of the former foundry. After more than 100 years, the company had finally left Bergen op Zoom.
Focussed on marine and offshore
In 1995, the Van Mechelen family sold the company to Sparrenrijk Beheer B.V. The company was restructured and from then onwards fully concentrated on hoisting, lifting and rigging gear and focused strongly on the marine and offshore markets. In 2003, the shares of P.J. van Mechelen Holding were acquired by Ropeblock Beheer, the parent company of Ropeblock (in Oldenzaal, NL).
Crane blocks and sockets
Ropeblock is a leading company in crane blocks and sockets, but complimentary to Van Mechelen. In 2004 the company moved into new, modern and dedicated premises in Halsteren.
At the same time, the company’s name was changed to Van Mechelen Lifting Gear, emphasizing the company’s core business: designing and manufacturing lifting gear, including crane blocks, wire rope blocks, sheaves, swivels, sockets, turnbuckles and hooks.