Our History

In 1944, Edward H. Woike and his uncle worked in the mining industry. Seeing the large number of rubber parts used in the mines, they realized there was an opportunity. They decided to form a company to supply those rubber products to the mining industry and Murry-Woike Rubber was born.

In 1971, the business split and Chicago based Calumet Rubber was founded. Calumet Rubber focused on compression rubber molding. Calumet Rubber at this point teamed up with Kent Tomlinson to develop rubber fingers used to pluck feathers from chickens.

In 1973, Calumet Rubber was so busy they ran 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. The second generation Ed Woike came in to assist his father. With a background in mechanical engineering, he added quality control procedures and upgraded the plant facilities to improve quality and efficiency.

In 1995, Edd and Mike Woike, took over the operation from their father, continuing the family-run operation and supplying molded rubber products to many of the same customers they’ve had since the 1970s.

Newer rubber molding technology and innovations have allowed the rubber to take intense heat. Now we have the capability of bonding metal to rubber and can create high temperature rubber gaskets. These innovations have allowed us to expand the products and services we offer to our customers.

Calumet Rubber and Kent Company

Picking Fingers

In 1971, Kent Tomlinson connected with Calumet Rubber to begin the initial creation of rubber picking fingers for the poultry industry. Together, we created one of the first rubber formulations approved by the FDA and USDA for poultry processing.

Calumet Rubber’s formulation was last certified in 1985 and is still in use today. Many thought that plastics would become the standard alternative to rubber in many industries, but rubber is still the standard material used for picking fingers.

Because the use of picking fingers provides a safer work environment than using human hands, they are not just used in the poultry industry today. They are also used in nut harvesting and garbage recycling. Plus, almost in a circular return to our origins, our picking fingers are now used in the mining industry to prevent injuries, keeping miners' fingers from getting caught in conveyor belts.