Frank Einsweiler Sr. began working in the foundry business in the late 1800’s. In 1912 he started his own foundry, which he named Leadmine Foundry, located in Galena, Illinois on the corner of Hill Street and Water Street. Part of the original building can still be seen in the rear building of Lemfco foundry today. Due to the fact that lead mining was booming in the Galena area, the first castings he made were lead mining equipment products, such as wheels for the mining carts. Other early products included iron runners for sleighs, window sash weights, iron hog troughs, feed boxes, and feed cookers. Eventually he began making stoves called “Leadmine,” “Kitchen Queen,” and “Cold Chaser.” These were sold to Montgomery Ward, Spiegel, and Sears & Roebuck. For Frank, the foundry business was a family affair. He enlisted the help of his wife and children to make foundry cores at home in his wife’s cook-stove oven.
Eventually Frank’s son, John Henry (Jack) Einsweiler took over as superintendent of Leadmine Foundry Company. After serving their country in World War II, Jack’s sons Kenneth, Donald, John C., and Wayne began working in the family business. Shortly after their marriage, John C.’s wife Helen took over the bookkeeping and payroll responsibilities. John C. became superintendent around 1950.
In 1971, the business incorporated with John C. as President, his brother Wayne as Vice-President, and his wife Helen as Secretary-Treasurer. At this time, they renamed the foundry using the acronym LEMFCO (LeadMine Foundry Company). By now, John C. and Helen’s three sons, John E., Kurt, and Dirk had joined the business, along with Dirk’s wife, Susette.
Through the years, Lemfco adapted with the times. The product lines changed from mining equipment and stoves to agriculture equipment and parts for petroleum distribution. Cores began to be made by machines instead of rammed by hand and baked in ovens; automatic molding lines and turntables were installed as well as an automated sand transport system; and castings began to be shipped by common carrier truck lines rather than by rail.
In 2012 Lemfco and the Einsweiler family celebrated 100 years in business. The family was presented with a Centennial Award by the Illinois State Historical Society in Springield, IL. At this time, John E. Einsweiler was serving as company President and running the company with his brothers, Kurt and Dirk Einsweiler.
In 2017 John E. retired and it was time for the fifth generation of Einsweilers to join the family business. Dirk and Susette’s children, Desiree and John, took over as President and Vice-President, respectively. Dirk is Chairman of the Board and Susette is the office manager.
Lemfco, Inc. today continues to produce quality gray iron castings as it did when it was first founded in 1912. We are a cast iron parts manufacturer who concentrates on medium to large run quantities of castings with weights ranging from ½ lb to 100 lbs. We are one of the premier iron foundries in USA. There are 1,000 active patterns at Lemfco for making parts for petroleum and gas distribution, automotive, agriculture, food processing, and construction equipment, pumps, compressors, gear boxes, exercise weights, and novelty items. Many things have changed since Lemfco first opened its doors, but the one thing that has not changed is our commitment to making quality gray iron castings.
Our Leadership Team
Chairman of the Board
Dirk has a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Before becoming President of the Board, Dirk was the Plant Engineer and head of the maintenance department for 40 years. Dirk officially starting working in the foundry business at age 16; however, his parents (John and Helen Einsweiler) practically raised him in the foundry. His baby crib was set up in the office, and as a kid he helped out with odd jobs.
Desiree has a Master’s Degree from the University of Iowa and was previously employed as the CEO of Palo Alto County Health System in Emmetsburg, Iowa before moving back home to Galena to accept the position at Lemfco, Inc. She started working in the foundry business at age 16 and has worked in all areas of the foundry.
John F. Einsweiler
John has a dual Bachelor’s Degree from Capital University and started working full time at Lemfco right after college in order to learn the details of the production process from the previous plant President, Eric Einsweiler. John started working in the foundry business at age 16 and has worked every position in the plant. He oversees production and brings a wealth of knowledge, energy, and new ideas to the company.
Susette started working at Lemfco in 1983 as an office assistant. She took over as Office Manager in 1991 and oversees all aspects of payroll, Human Resources, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable….and pretty much everything else. She is a “jack of all trades!”
Dirk Einsweiler, Jr.
Dirk Jr. has an Engineering Physics Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. He was previously employed in the paper industry as a Project Engineer and the Head of West Coast Sales and Service for Andritz in Beloit, WI before accepting the position as Plant Engineer.
Melt Deck Supervisor
Kurt has a degree from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. He officially started working at the foundry at age 16, but was practically raised in the plant by his parents, John and Helen. Before becoming Melt Deck Supervisor, Kurt held many responsibilities throughout the plant. He has worked in all aspects of production and was the Night Shift Supervisor for many years.