ACME-CLEVELAND CORP. was formed in 1968 by the merger of the Cleveland Twist Drill Co. and the Natl. Acme Co. By 1980 it was one of the largest machine-tool manufacturers in the U.S., with net sales of $405 million. Cleveland Twist Drill began when JACOB COX invested in a Dunkirk, NY, machine shop, which he moved to Cleveland in Sept. 1876. In 1880 Cox sold 40% of the company to FRANCIS F. PRENTISS. The firm of Cox & Prentiss became the Cleveland Twist Drill Co. in 1883, and in June 1888 moved to its long-time location at Lakeside and E. 49th St. Growth came through such acquisitions as the Bay State Tap & Die Co. of Massachusetts and the Eastern Machine Screw Co. of Connecticut.
The Natl. Acme Co. began in Hartford, CT, as the Acme Screw Machine Co., founded in 1895 by mechanics Edwin C. Henn and Reinhold Hakewessell. In 1901 the company moved to Cleveland, merging with the Natl. Mfg. Co., a parts manufacturer using Acme machines, to form the Natl. Acme Mfg. Co., located at 7500 Stanton Ave. In 1916 the company was incorporated as the National Acme Co. and began building a new plant at E. 131st St. and Coit Rd. They ceased to manufacture and sell screw machine products, concentrating instead on the production and sale of the machines themselves. After suffering through an industrywide depression shortly after its formation, Acme-Cleveland sought to expand by acquiring other companies. Such expansion increased sales to more than $400 million in both 1980 and 1981, but Japanese competition, a recession, and corporate inefficiencies led to a loss of $31.9 million in 1983. To reduce operating costs, Acme-Cleveland began to restructure operations in 1982, selling off some subsidiaries and cutting its workforce from 6,300 in 1980 to 2,000 by 1993. It maintained a stockroom and its 2 original plants in Cleveland: Cleveland Twist Drill on E. 49th and National Acme on E. 131st.
In 1984 Acme-Cleveland acquired Communications Technology Corp., a manufacturer of products serving the regional Bell operating companies and others, the first of its emerging technology growth businesses. In 1994 Acme-Cleveland acquired TX Port, Inc., a manufacturer of network access equipment based in Madison, AL. Other Acme-Cleveland subsidiaries include Namco Controls Corp., a manufacturer of electronic sensors located in HIGHLAND HTS., and M&M Precision Systems Corp., a manufacturer of precision measurement products, located in West Carrollton, OH. Also in 1994, Acme-Cleveland sold the Cleveland Twist Drill Co. to Greenfield Industries, Inc., a leading cutting tool manufacturer. In 1995, the National Acme subsidiary was sold off to DeVlieg-Bullard Inc., a larger corporation with a number of machine tool company subsidiaries. Acme-Cleveland itself was aquired by Danaher Corporation, a producer of tools, components, and process and environmental controls, in mid-1996 for about $200 million. Danaher had corporate headquarters in Washington, D.C., in 2002.
Acme-Cleveland Corp. Records, WRHS.
Acme-Cleveland Corp. Communique (June 1976, Cleveland Twist Drill Co. Centennial Edition).
Chapin, Frederick H. National Acme: An Informal History (1949).