Back in 1958, Art Murphy opened the doors of Murphy Safety Switch of California in Los Alamitos, California. His goal was to distribute the entire line of FW Murphy safety switches, control panels, and automation devices to the oil and irrigation operations in the growing customer base throughout the entire seven-state West Coast area. Art was with Southwestern Bell Telephone Company of Tulsa for 16 years in various engineering and construction capacities prior to working with his brother Frank, founder of FW Murphy Manufacturing in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He held the posts of general manager and vice president in charge of engineering and development during his 5 years at FW Murphy.
To fully understand the origination of Murphy Switch of California, we have to roll back the clock seventy-five years to the open plains of the post-depression Midwest. During the 1930's Art's brother, Frank W. ("Pat") Murphy, was a sales manager for an Allis Chalmers' distributor. He found that his customers' main complaint was "burned up" engines. They were equipped with poor quality, non-indicating safety switches which were difficult to test and often inoperative. Pat decided to develop a simpler yet more effective "safety switch".
His idea was to combine an indicating gauge with a switch that would stop the engine when low oil pressure or high coolant temperature existed. His invention was first installed on a number of unattended oil field engines. Operators loved the design because they could see the operating gauge, could adjust the contact to their needs, and could test the switch for operation. Pat decided to become a manufacturer when Allis Chalmers declined to buy the switch-gauge design. Production began with Pat and his wife, Rosalie, building the instruments on their kitchen table in Mt. Carmel, Illinois. During the 1940's Pat's "Guardian Safety Switch" was put into service in the oilfields in Indiana and Illinois. Adaptations allowed the product to protect pipeline pumps as well.
In 1945, Tulsa was becoming home to the booming oil industry, so the Murphy's moved the business to Oklahoma, where they were able to move into a 'spacious' block building. The 1950's brought stabilization and growth prompted by innovation. Murphy began serving a new market in West Texas, as irrigation farmers were also losing unattended engines. A magnetic trip switch was developed to adapt the "Safety Switch" to battery ignition and diesel engines. This switch would be renamed the "Tattletale®", for its pushbutton that stays out once the switch is tripped indicating the cause of the shutdown.
The decade also ushered in the first Murphymatic® control panels as well as the first level regulators. As the 50's were coming to a close, Art packed up his family and moved to California to start his own company, Murphy Safety Switch of California. Through hard work, dedication and high ethical standards his company grew and prospered. Before long, Art packed up the family once again and moved the business a few hours north of Los Angeles to the small community of Palmdale. During the early years in Palmdale the organization was strengthened through the creative inspiration and leadership that Art's son, John, brought to the company.
John grew up in the family business. Through the 80's and 90's he guided the company through a period of great product innovation and built a thriving custom municipal panel business. Like his father before him, John's success prompted a move to a larger, more modern facility. In 2001 the Murphy family dedicated their new headquarters in the memory of the company founders, Art & Essie Murphy. In October of 2007 John passed the torch to his son Bob, marking the beginning of a third generation of family leadership. MurCal, formerly Murphy Switch of California, has come a long way from Pat's kitchen table in Mount Carmel.
The MurCal line now includes hundreds of products which monitor and control engine "vital signs": pressure, temperature, level and overspeed. Products that range from simple start/stop operation to sophisticated automation systems. MurCal's product portfolio now includes related engine control products. Air-fuel ratio controls, ignition systems, actuation and throttle control mechanisms, catalysts and replacement elements, particulate filters, DC contactors and engine start battery chargers complement our full line of FW Murphy instrumentation and control products.
As we look toward the future, we’d like to take just a moment to thank you for continuing to turn to us for your instrumentation and control needs. With over 50 years under our belt, you don't have to worry about whether or not we'll be around next year. We are confident in our products and in our ability to deliver on our promises. We look forward to strengthening our business and personal relationships and to many years of continued success. Once again, your friends at MurCal thank you for making the journey with us.