Philip McKenna


Philip McKenna


“When it comes to making new and useful things, we are just starting to realize the possibilities.” - Philip M. McKenna

Philip M. McKenna was a talented metallurgist who broke barriers in the materials science field. After years of research, McKenna created a tungsten-titanium carbide alloy that provided a productivity breakthrough in the machining of steel. With McKenna’s innovation, the company’s tools cut faster and lasted longer than the competition, enabling customers across industries – from transportation to aerospace – to machine metal at rates never seen before. Born in 1897 to a family of scientists and researchers, he founded McKenna Metals Co, now Kennametal Inc., in 1938 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

Career Inspiration

Born in 1897, McKenna was surrounded by intelligent men and women of which he learned and found inspiration from. His travels enabled him to learn more about his research and become the talented metallurgist he was known as.

Career History

Founder, McKenna Metals Company, now Kennametal Inc. (deceased)


McKenna tended to his studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. during the evening so he could continue his work and research during the day. He graduated in 1921.


McKenna has many patents to his name, receiving his first patent as a teenager. Patents include but not limited to separation of cobalt from nickel and a process for efficiently extracting the tungsten values from ores.