Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

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Lehman Brothers Collection

Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Eaton Yale & Towne Inc. - Lehman Brothers Collection

Eaton Yale & Towne Inc.

List of Deals

Eaton Yale & Towne was incorporated in Ohio on August 28, 1916, as the Torbensen Axle Company to acquire the business of a New Jersey company formed in 1911 and called the Torbensen Gear & Axle Company.

In 1923 Eaton Yale & Towne acquired the property of both the Eaton Axle Company, created in 1920, and the Perfection Spring Company, established in 1906. As a result of these acquisitions, the company changed its name to Eaton Axle & Spring Company on May 17, 1923.

In August 1923 Eaton purchased the patents, goodwill, and trademarks of Cox Brothers Manufacturing Company. In 1925 it organized a subsidiary, Eaton Spring Corporation, which acquired the plant and business of the American Auto Parts Company and into which subsequently the company's spring operations were merged in July 1926.

Eaton continued to grow through a series of acquisitions over several years. In 1928 it purchased the Easy-On Cap Company, manufacturers of gas tank caps and filler necks. It acquired all of the outstanding stock of Peterson Spring Company in 1930 for 16,650 shares of common stock and a large interest in Wilcox-Rich Corporation. In 1931 Eaton bought all of the assets of the Reliance Manufacturing Company, a maker of screw and washer assemblies, and in 1932 it added Holley Permanent Mold Machine and purchased most of the assets of Holley Carburetor Company. In 1933 Eaton joined with Detroit Metal Specialty Corporation in forming Eaton-Detroit Metal, and in 1937 it acquired a 100 percent interest in the company. Eaton bought Detroit Motor Valve in 1935.

Eaton grew as the country prospered in the years following World War II. The products manufactured by Eaton expanded to include a wide assortment of valves, clutches, gauges, brakes, and other types of hardware used in the manufacture of automobiles, trucks, outboard motors, farm machinery, airplanes, and railroads. In the years after the war, sales grew enormously, partly because of the steady stream of acquisitions. In 1947 sales were $99.6 million with net income of $7.4 million. Six years later, sales had doubled to $201 million and net income was $9.7 million.

Eaton helped expand its product base by continuing to acquire companies. In 1954 it purchased Spring Perch Company, of Lackawanna, New York, a producer of chassis springs. It bought Automotive Gear Works of Indiana in 1956, and in 1958 Eaton acquired Fuller Manufacturing, a producer of heavy-duty truck transmissions, as well as Shuler Axle Company and Unit Drop Forge. The following year Eaton added two more businesses: Cleveland Worm Gear, producer of worm gears and worm gear reducers, and William Howe Industries, of Ontario.

Eaton continued to make acquisitions during the 1960s. In 1960 they added Dearborn Marine Engines and formed a new subsidiary in Argentina. In 1961 they bought Dill Manufacturing Company, a producer of tire valves, and acquired a 70 percent interest in Earon Livia S.p.A. of Turin, Italy. In 1962 they bought E.N.V. Engineering Company, Ltd., of London, and in 1963 they added Dole Valve.

In 1963 Eaton acquired Yale & Towne Manufacturing Company and merged it into a newly formed subsidiary. By 1966 Eaton Yale & Towne had grown into a company with $795.6 million in sales and earnings of $51.4 million.

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