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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

ALUMINUM COMPANY OF AMERICA

ALUMINUM COMPANY OF AMERICA

The ALUMINUM COMPANY OF AMERICA (Alcoa) was founded in 1888 as the Pittsburgh Reduction Co., and since 1900 has had a branch in Cleveland, locating the headquarters of its forging division here in 1977. Alcoa established a sales office in Cleveland's Cuyahoga Bldg. in 1900; it moved to the Garfield Bldg. in 1907, the same year the company changed its name to the Aluminum Co. of America. In May 1909 it opened its first production facility in Cleveland, establishing a sand foundry at 6205 Carnegie Ave. In 1917 Alcoa opened a mold plant on farmland at 2210 Harvard Ave. During World War II, the company invested $15 million to expand its Cleveland facility and became a principal supplier of forged aluminum for aircraft parts, such as propeller blades. The Cleveland Works employed 10,300 people in 1943-44 and by 1945 had grown to include "the world's largest aluminum and magnesium forging plant." In May 1955 Alcoa opened a $40 million plant that it built for and then leased from the U.S. Air Force to make light alloy forgings for military aircraft; Alcoa bought the plant from the government in 1982. By 1965 3,000 people worked at Alcoa's Cleveland facilities, and the company expanded the works to include the forging of titanium. Between 1970-77 Alcoa invested $21.5 million to modernize and upgrade its Cleveland facility, including the construction of a wheel line facility in 1972. In July 1977 Alcoa consolidated its forging operations in Vernon, CA, with its Cleveland operation to create the Alcoa Forging Div., with headquarters at 1600 Harvard Ave.

As of 2003 Cleveland was home to two Alcoa business units. Located on South Marginal Rd., Howmet TMP Corporation is a designer and manufacturer of wax, plastic and ceramic tools and molds; wax and ceramic injection machinery, and investment casting patterns and assemblies. Alcoa Wheel Products, headquartered at the Harvard Rd. facility, produces forged aluminum disc wheels and accessories for heavy-duty trucks, buses, motor homes, pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles and recreational vehicles. Alcoa also has Ohio operations in Canton, Grove City, Medina, Northwood, Sidney and Warren.


Finding aid for the Frank Jardine Papers. WRHS.