History of Industry if Cleveland, OH

From: A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
Publishers: The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924


"What we buy in a broom, a mat, a wagon, a knife, is some application of good sense to common want." -Emerson

There are 15,000 different articles manufactured in Cleveland. In them limits of this chapter we can only touch upon some of the more prominent and glance at those industries that have the most to do with the early life of the city and its building up into its present greatness. Cleveland is the greatest iron ore market in the world because of its varied industries. It leads in the manufacture of twist drills. The central plant and office of the largest paint and varnish works, the Sherwin-Williams Company, is located here. Cleveland is second in the United States in the manufacture of ready made women's clothing, it leads in the manufacture of astronomical instruments, and of nuts and bolts. Its manufacture of vacuum cleaners is not second to any. It leads in the manufacture of electric batteries and in the manufacture of automobile parts. It manufactures more job printing presses than any other city in the United States. It is a leader in the manufacture of iron castings, chemicals, hardware, and incandescent lamps, and it leads all other cities in the manufacture of heavy machinery. It is one of the largest distributors of motion picture films in the world. Cleveland is the "birthplace of the American automobile," for its first one was made in 1898. It now manufactures eleven different makes. It is a great oil center and woolen center. It is a large manufacturer of brick.

There are 3,000 industrial plants in the city, 11 blast furnaces, 300 foundries and machine shops, and 81 steel and iron concerns. Cleveland is the center of a great manufacturing and raw product district. It ranks fifth among American cities as to the value of its manufactured products. The municipality is a manufacturing concern, for it collects about 75,000 tons of garbage annually, over the length and breadth of the city, and renders it into useful products.

All this has come about in a brief time, that is within the lives of many of its citizens, who are living today, because it was not until after the Civil war that the city became really a manufacturing town. In 1879 a great steel pole was erected on the Public Square and at its top was placed the first electric lamp, the invention of Charles F. Brush, a Cleveland man, born in Cuyahoga County, who has been referred to as "the father of the arc lighting industries of the world."

Something of this remarkable man, who is one of Cleveland's most respected citizens, would seem appropriate in this chapter. He was born in Euclid Township, Cuyahoga County, March 17, 1849 and is therefore past the three score and ten, but is still active and engaged in scientific investigations. He has an office in the Arcade. His latest work has been a study of gravity, which, as he recently stated, is little understood. He is a son of Col. I. E. Brush, of English descent. His boyhood was spent on the Euclid farm. He attended school at Wickliffe and later at Shaw Academy in Collamer, now East Cleveland. As a youth he had a special taste for chemistry, physics and engineering. He graduated with honors from the Cleveland high school in 1867. While in school he made a number of telescopes for himself and his schoolmates, grinding the lenses himself. He evolved and perfected the igniting and extinguishing of street lamps by electricity. All his experiments had a practical bent. The subject of his graduating oration was "The Conservation of Force." He entered the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, graduating in 1869, a year ahead of his class. In 1873 he formed a partnership with C. E. Bingham, of Cleveland, for the purpose of marketing Lake Superior pig iron and iron ore. While in the partnership he continued his scientific experiments. In 1876 he constructed a new type of dynamo, the first of his inventions. He continued to invent and was careful to secure patents. In 1877 the pig iron and ore company was dissolved and Mr. Brush entered into a contract with the Telegraph Supply Company to manufacture his patents, put them on the market and pay him a royalty. In 1881 the name of this company was changed to the Brush Electric Company, which name became known over the world. It may be interesting to note in this connection that shortly after the great arc light was glowing on the top of the steel pole on the Public Square in Cleveland, a similar one was raised in Melbourne, Australia, on the opposite side of the earth. It was in 1877 that Mr. Brush constructed his first commercial arc light.

His next most important invention was the fundamental storage battery. In this he had much competition and it was not until after four years of litigation that he obtained letters patent. He secured foreign patents on many of his early inventions and these he sold to the Anglo American Brush Electric Light Corporation, Limited, of London, receiving $500,000.

While, as we have said, Cleveland did not become a manufacturing city until after the Civil war, yet the foundations were laid before that time. The earliest large manufacturing establishment started in the city was the Cuyahoga Steam Furnace Company which was incorporated in March, 1834, and organized in April. Josiah Barber, Richard Lord and Luke Risley were the directors, and Charles Hoyt, agent. The location was at the corner of Detroit and Center streets on the West Side. It was a general foundry and the first important item of manufacture was a patent horse power, which had a wide sale from 1841. The company made cannon for the Government, plows, mill irons and miscellaneous castings, and large machinery. Ethan Rogers entered the company in 1842 and it began the manufacture of machinery for building railways, and then built locomotive for the same. The locomotive the company built for the Detroit & Pontiac Railway, in Michigan, was the first locomotive built west of the Alleghanies. It was in use for twelve years and then was sold for about its first sale price, which indicates the excellence of the construction. It built the first locomotive used on the Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati Railway, and the first used on the Cleveland & Ashtabula Railway. It also built the first successful machinery for the lake screw propeller, the Emigrant The company was capitalized at $100,000. B. B. Castle and J. F. Holloway were presidents of the company.

The Lake Shore Foundry was established in 1850. It was first managed by Mr. Seizer and then by Silas Merchant, who was in charge until 1874, when a joint stock company was formed to take over the property. Of this company O. M. Burke was president, A. M. Burke, vice president, and C. E. Burke, secretary. Its location was at the foot of Alabama (now East 26th) Street. They manufactured car, bridge and general castings. One of the leading lines was the manufacture of water and gas pipes. In the '70s 160 men were employed, and they received an average wage of $10 per week.

The Jewett & Goodman Organ Company was organized by Childs & Bishop in 1852. Childs & Bishop sold to Jewett & Goodman and then a joint stock company was formed. The location was first on Ontario Street and then at Rockwell and Bond (East Sixth). S. A. Jewett was president, C. D. Goodman, vice president, and F. C. Goff, secretary of the company. They manufactured reed organs and in the craze for antiques that has come with later years, all over the Western Reserve may be found in the homes these old organs made over into desks that are highly prized.

We have related how the Jones in Newburgh started the iron business that grew into the rolling mill company. It was not until Henry Chisholm joined in the enterprise that it took on such great proportions. The Jones were Welshmen who understood the iron business, Chisholm was a carpenter, but with wonderful business capacity. Henry Chisholm came to America in 1842 a penniless youth, and attained the distinction of being one of the great manufacturers of any country. He was born in Lochgelly, Fifeshire, Scotland, April 27, 1822. His father died when he was ten years old and to help the family he left school two years later and apprenticed himself to a carpenter in the City of Glasgow. After five years as an apprentice he started business for himself as a journeyman carpenter. He was then seventeen years old. The opportunities of the New World appealed to him and he sailed for America, locating first at Montreal, Canada, where he worked at his trade. He became a master carpenter and took contracts, continuing the same line after he came to Cleveland and until he joined with the Jones in the iron business. He had a younger brother, William Chisholm, who was a sailor for many years, but finally settled down as a contractor in Cleveland. It is interesting to note in discussing the industrial growth of the city that many of the successful manufacturers and large employers of labor came up from the ranks and did not start in an office with their feet under mahogany furniture with a "boiled shirt" and a spotless collar.

From 1857 to 1863 Chisholm, Jones & Company operated the Cleveland Rolling Mills in the manufacture of railway and bar iron. At the latter date a joint stock company took over the business under the same leadership, and the business grew until the works covered thirty acres of ground and the products included Bessemer steel, iron and steel rails and fastenings, spring steel and wire of all kinds, steel horse shoes, tires, axles and other forgings, boiler plate, galvanized and black sheet iron, corrugated roofing and siding and a multitude of miscellaneous articles. In the '70s this company was capitalized at $2,000,000, had a yearly payroll of over $2,000,000, an annual coal consumption of 250,000 tons, and used 150 teams besides locomotives and cars, all owned by the company and used in transporting their products. It produced 110,000 tons of steel and iron rails annually, 21,000 tone of wire, and of this amount 8,000 tons were of grain binding wire alone. It had its own mines in the Lake Superior region of Michigan, and Henry Chisholm, the sturdy Scotch boy, who left school to support his widowed mother in the days of adversity, was president of this great industry. The consolidation of this industry with the American Steel and Wire Company is a later history, but a part of Cleveland's industrial upbuilding.

The Cleveland Paper Company was organized in 1860. The original stockholders were M. C. Younglove, John Hoyt, Hiram Griswold, N. W. Taylor and George Worthington. It was capitalized at $100,000. This was later increased. This company manufactured all varieties of paper. The principal office was on St. Clair Street. It had branches at Broadway and Forest (East 37th) streets and in other cities. The officers in the '70s were N. W. Taylor, agent, S. W. Whittlesey, secretary and treasurer, E. Mills, superintendent (warehouse), J. W. Brightman, superintendent (mills). The present officers of the Cleveland Paper Manufacturing Company are Francis W. Treadway, president, Harry W. Newcomer, vice president, and James D. Sackett, secretary and treasurer.

The Novelty Iron Works began operation at Wason (East 38th) and Hamilton in 1860. Its building was 90 by 157 feet and Thomas R. Reeve was in charge as proprietor. It manufactured iron bridges, buildings, roofs, railroad frogs, and general machine work was turned out. In the '80s it employed 75 men, who received an average of $12 per week. This firm has gone out of business or been absorbed by others.

The Standard Oil Company began operations in Cleveland in 1861 as a small copartnership formed by John D. Rockefeller and Henry M. Flagler. In 1870 a stock company was formed. The first board of directors consisted of five men, John D. Rockefeller, Henry M. Flagler, Samuel M. Andrews, Stephen V. Harkness and William Rockefeller. It was capitalized at $1,000,000. The works were located on Kingsbury Run. Ten years after it organized the officers were John D. Rockefeller, president, William Rockefeller, vice president, Henry M. Flagler, secretary, O. H. Payne, treasurer, S. Andrews, superintendent, G. L. Vail, auditor, and L H. Severance, cashier. It would require a volume in itself to follow out the activities of this great company that began its life in Cleveland in a small way, but soon became nationally and internationally known, its head to become known as the richest of Americans, and perhaps the richest man in the world. It has been said that with the possible exception of the iron industries the Standard Oil Company made larger additions to the wealth and growth of Cleveland than any other one branch of trade or manufacture.

The Merriam & Morgan Paraffine Company was formed in 1863 by Morehouse & Merriam. It was first called the Paraffine Oil and Wax Company. Two years later the company was styled the Morehouse & Merriam Company and in 1874 the corporate name was The Merriam & Morgan Paraffine Company. Its place of business was Central Way and Ohio Street (now Central Avenue). It was capitalized at $100,000. In the '80s its officers were E. P. Morgan, president, J. B. Merriam, vice president, William Morgan, superintendent, Herman Frasch, chemist, and C. T. Carruth, secretary.

In 1864 the Cleveland Foundry was opened on Winter Street by Bowler & Maher. In 1870 C. A. Brayton entered the firm and it was called Bowler, Maher & Brayton. This company employed 100 men in the manufacture of car wheels and street railway goods, and equipment for rolling mills and blast furnaces. N. P. Bowler, Thomas Maher and C. A. Brayton constituted the firm.

The same year another firm began operations at the corner of Elm and Main streets, known as Bourne & Knowles. Their product was hot and cold pressed nuts, washers, chain links and rivets. Mr. Damon entered the firm and its name was changed to Damon & Company and then to Bourne, Damon & Knowles.

About this time the Union Steel Screw Company was organized with a capital of $1,000,000 by Amasa Stone, William Chisholm, Henry Chisholm, A. B. Stone and H B Payne. This great company manufactured only screws, but its market was the world, and it employed a large force of men. It ranked as one of the great industries of the city in the years following the Civil war.

The Grasselli Chemical Company has a history dating back to 1839, when it commenced operations in Cincinnati. In 1866, with the entry of Cleveland into the list of manufacturing cities, it was moved there and has since been a leading firm of the city. During the World war it was much interested in supplying the country with dye stuffs that had previously been imported. The present officers are C. A. Grasselli, chairman of the board, Thomas S. Grasselli, president, Eugene R. Grasselli, first vice president and treasurer, Edward W. Furst and Albert C. Bailey, vice presidents, and Eugene R. Bailey, secretary.

The Taylor & Boggis Foundry Company that began operations at Central Place in 1868 in the manufacture of wood patterns, foundry, machine and metal patterns; the Cleveland Spring Company, capitalized at $200,000, that located on West River and Winslow, making steel springs for locomotives, cars, carriages and wagons, were two important additions to the early manufacturing interests of Cleveland. The officers of the latter were E. H. Bourne, president, William H. Corlett, vice president, and H. W. Knowles, secretary.

The following year the Cleveland Steam Gauge Company, with a capital of $50,000, was organized with D. W. Cross as president, J. P. Holt, in some capacity, W. S. Dodge, secretary and treasurer, and J. E. French, general manager. This company was organized to manufacture Holt's patent steam gauges for locomotives and stationary engines, spring balances, water gauges, test pumps, syphons, brass cocks, air and vacuum gauges, and Emery's universal cotton gin, and other similar products. The location was and has remained on Merwin Street. The city directory of 1906 gives the officers as L. D. Dodge, president and treasurer, W. S. Dodge, vice president, J. C. Gerstenecker, secretary. The office of the company is now at 1100 West Ninth Street.

The White Manufacturing Company was organized in 1870 with a capital of $200,000. It was incorporated by Thomas H. White, Rollin C. White, George W. Baker, Henry W. White, and D'Arcy Porter for the manufacture of sewing machines under a patent by Thomas White. Later the name was changed to the White Sewing Machine Company. The location was Canal Street. This company has been a leading factor in the upbuilding of industrial Cleveland. It has taken up in later years automobile manufacture, but in 1880 it employed from 500 to 600 persons, paying an average salary of $75 per month. As an indication of the volume of business done, the company, in a period running from July in 1876 to the close of 1877 manufactured from 150 to 200 machines daily. The officers in that period were Thomas H. White, president, R. C. White, vice president, S. H. Henderson, secretary, H. W. White, treasurer, and D'Arcy Porter, superintendent. Later the officers included Thomas H. White, president, 'Windsor T. White, vice president, Walter C. White, second vice president, William Wayne Chase, secretary, F. M. Sanderson, treasurer, C. H. Porter, assistant treasurer, W. Grothe, superintendent of the sewing machine factory, and R. H. White, superintendent of the automobile factory.

A year after this company started in business the King Iron Bridge and Manufacturing Company was formed, but the history of this industry dates back to 1858 when Zenas King, on a capital of $5,000, began building arch and swing bridges. When the stock company was formed the stockholders were Zenas King, Thomas A. Reeve, A. B. Stone. Charles A. Bernard, Charles A. Crumb, Dan P. Bells and Henry Chisholm. The works were on Wason and Hamilton streets. In 1880 the officers were Zenas King, president, James A. King, vice president, Harley B. Gibbs, secretary, and A. H. Porter, engineer. A history of this company and its activities up to the present time would include much of public improvement forwarded by the city and county, and its handiwork is seen all over the country. Its bridges replaced the wooden bridges of pioneer days.

The Otis Iron and Steel Company, now called the Otis Steel Company, and one of the mammoth industries of Cleveland, began on a capital of $300,000 and located on Lake Avenue, the manufacture of iron and steel in all of its branches. It was formed by Charles A. Otis, W. S. C. Otis, E. B. Thomas, W. S. Streator and Dan P. Eells. In the '80s the officers were Charles A. Otis, president, Joseph K. Bole, secretary, and S. T. Williams, superintendent.

Three years after the Otis Iron and Steel Company was formed, that is, in 1876, the Warswick Manufacturing Company was added to the industrial plants of the city. It had a capital of $100,000 and engaged in the manufacture of wrought iron pipe, iron fittings, brass goods for steam, oil and water use. It located at Center and Merwin streets. The officers in the '80s were J. R. Warswick, president, John A. Prindle, vice president, W. F. Brown, secretary, and John F. Taylor, treasurer.

From this period, the close of the '70s, when the city had a population of 150,000, the multiplication of her industries began in earnest. It will be only within the province of this chapter to point out some of the more important, without attempting to even enumerate them all. It will be just a glimpse at industrial Cleveland. There is the Cleveland Tool and Supply Company, making machine tools, power transmissions, mill supplies and steel tubing; the A. Teachout Company, manufacturers of sash, doors, interior finish, etc.; the Glidden Varnish Company, producers of varnishes, enamels, stains and paint specialties; the Benjamin Moore & Company, making paints, varnishes and muresco; the Forbes Varnish Company, making a specialty of finishing varnish; the Great Lakes Refining Company, oil compounders. The manufacturers of automobiles and especially automobile parts, in which the city leads, are numerous. There is the Peerless Motor Car Company; the White Company, of which we have spoken, manufacturing White cars and White trucks; the Grant Motor Car Company, making the "Grant Six"; the Chandler Motor Car Company, making the "Chandler Six"; the Steel Products Company, turning out automobile parts; the Parish & Bingham Company, making automobile frames; the Standard Parts Company, who manufacture automobile products and perfection springs; the K. D. Carburetor Company, making carburetors; the Otto Konigslaw Company, making automobile parts; the Eberhard Manufacturing Company, who manufacture carriage, saddlery and automobile hardware; the Hydraulic Pressed Steel Company, making automobile frames, stampings, concrete forms, pressed steel wheels, steel barrels and bicycle sprockets; the Guide Motor Lamp Company, making automobile lamps, the Interstate Foundry Company, making automobile and heavy castings; the Cleveland Worm and Gear Company, which makes worm gearing for automobiles and for general engineering purposes; the National Carbon Company, which manufactures electric carbons, dry cells and automobile batteries, and the Theodore Kundtz Company, with two large plants, which manufacture church and auditorium furniture and automobile bodies.

We should mention the Park Drop Forge Company, making crank shafts and heavy drop forging; the Cleveland Milling Machine Company, turning out milling machines, special tools, reamers, etc.; the Torbenson Axle Company, manufacturing axles for motor trucks; the Hunt & Dormer Company, making metal stamping; the National Acme Company, turning out machines, taps and dies, and screw machinery products; the Cleveland Twiss Drill Company, making drills and reamers; the Foster Bolt and Nut Company, making bolts, nuts and rivets; the Lamson & Sessions Company, who manufacture bolts, nuts, rivets, wrenches, wire rope, clamps, etc.; the Osborne Manufacturing Company, making molding machines, accessories and foundry supplies; the Hill Clutch Company, turning out power transmitting equipment and elevating, conveying and cement machinery; C. E. Squires & Company, making steam and gasoline traps, valves, pump governors, controllers, etc.; the Globe Machine and Stamping Company, making steel boxes, tumbling barrels, etc., etc.; the West Steel Castings Company, making small castings, truck wheels, anvils, lathe dogs; the Lucas Machine Tool Company, who specialize in drilling and milling machinery and forcing presses; the C. O. Bartlett & Snow Company, whose main line is mill machinery; the National Tool Company, making milling cutters and special tools; the National Screw and Tack Company; the Draper Manufacturing Company, making steel barrels; the Acme Manufacturing Company, making bolt, nut and forging machinery; the Champion Machine and Forging Company, making forgings; the Lake Erie Iron Company, making nuts, bolts, rods and railway material, which are leading firms in their various lines.

There is the Ferro Machine and Foundry Company, making marine engines and gray iron castings; the Fanner Manufacturing Company, putting out a multitude of hardware specialties, including store trimmings, etc.; the V. D. Anderson Company, making steam specialties and oil machinery; the Walworth Run Foundry Company, who make castings, hot air registers, furnace casing rings, etc.; the Cleveland CoOperative Stove Company, making stoves and castings; the Cleveland Heater Company; the Kelly Reamer Company, making boring tools and reamers; the Born Steel Range Company, making ranges and cooking appliances; the Bryant Heater and Manufacturing Company, making gas heaters; the Langenau Manufacturing Company, making hardware specialties; the National Malleable Castings Company and the American Range and Foundry Company, making castings; the Wellman Seaver Morgan Company, a mammoth plant building ore and coal handling machinery, steel work equipment, cranes, turbines, hoisting and milling machinery, coke ovens, and gas producers' machinery; the Brown Hoisting Machine Company, making ore and coal handling machinery, locomotive and other cranes, trolleys and grab buckets; the Browning Company, also making locomotive cranes and buckets; the Chandler Price Company, manufacturers of printing presses and paper cutters, and the Lakewood Engineering Company, making trucks, conveying machinery and cement handling equipment.

Covering other lines there is the Adams Bagmell Electric Company, making electric equipment, transformers, fans and automobile electrical accessories; the Frantz Premier Company, making electric cleaners and washing machines; the. Reliance Electric and Engineering Company, making electric motors and generators; the National Carbon Company, making electric carbons, dry cells and automobile batteries; the Domestic Electric Company, making electrical equipment, and also twenty five or more firms in addition making some form of electrical appliance.

There is the National Telephone Supply Company, which manufactures equipment for the telephone companies; the Climax Cleaner Manufacturing Company, which manufactures solely wall paper cleaner; the F. Zimmerman Company, manufacturing picture frame mouldings; the Marble & Shattuck Chair Company, an offshoot of the Bedford factory of that name; the Greif Brothers Cooperage Company, making barrels and cooperage stock; the Adam Kroehle s Sons Company, tanners and manufacturers of fine leather, including automobile leather; the Cleveland Window Glass and Door Company and the Buckeye Fixture Company; the C. F. Narwold Company, the William M. Hardie Company, the Robert F. McKenzie Company and many others manufacturing candies; the Russ Company, making soda fountains and bar fixtures; the J. L. H. Stadler Rendering and Fertilizer Company, who manufacture fertilizer, and last but not least, one of the great firms of the United States, the Cleveland Ship Building Company.

A great firm of the city is the American Multigraph Company, which manufactures multigraphs, printing and folding machines and multiple typewriters. There are the great clothing manufacturers of which the Joseph & Feiss Company and the Richmond Brothers Company are types. Of clothing manufacturers in the city, firms and individuals, there are 140. There are 30 rubber companies, 14 roofing manufacturers, 3 companies, not mentioned, manufacturing railway supplies, 23 soap manufacturers, besides the multitude in other lines that have not been mentioned, that make up the industrial life of the city in the manufacture of 15,000 different articles.

The Cleveland Worsted Mills for the weaving of worsted cloth are justly famous and it has been said that enough cloth is woven in the city each year to make 2,000,000 suits. In this plant alone over 700 looms are in operation and over 2,000 people employed. In 1906 O. M. Stafford was president, Kayfman Hayes, vice president, Martin A. Marks, secretary and treasurer, and George H. Hodgson, general manager.

The Warner & Swasey Company, engaged largely in the manufacture of astronomical instruments, opera glasses, etc., has a nation wide reputation. This company maintains an observatory at the Case School of Applied Science. It is favorably known from the philanthropy and public spirit of its founders as well as from its manufactured products. The plant is located on Carnegie Avenue. Ambrose Swasey is president of the company, and Worcester R. Warner, vice president. Frank A. Scott was taken into the company after serving at Washington during the World war at the head of one of the war boards, and is also a vice president. The secretary is Leslie L. Stauffer, and the treasurer, Philip E. Bliss.

The Cleveland Illuminating Company is one of the largest manufacturers of electric current in the country and the largest in the state and must take its place among the industrial plants. Its competitor is the Municipal Lighting Plant of the city, which has been in operation for several years.

But it is the great diversity of manufacture that stamps the industrial life of Cleveland as most interesting and it is this character that most contributes to the general growth of the city, to its steady and healthful advancement, undisturbed by so called booms. There are many large and interesting industrial plants in the city that deserve at least a mention that have not been enumerated by reason of the space allotted to this chapter. Partly commercial and partly industrial should be included the ice cream manufacturers, who also trade in milk and cream to some extent, of which there are in the city some fifteen. The most prominent are the Telling Belle Vernon Company, the J. W. Baker Ice Cream Company, the Tabor Ice Cream Company, and the Cleveland Ice Cream Company. There are fifteen ice manufacturers in the city, of which the City Ice and Fuel Company is the largest. This firm has fourteen ice stations in different parts of the city for the distribution of its manufactured product.

Cleveland is not second in her beautiful cemeteries and there are twenty two monumental works in the city, among them being that founded by Philip Binz at the entrance to Riverside Cemetery and the one founded by Joseph Carabelli at the entrance to Lake View.


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