APPLIED INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIES (formerly known as Bearings, Inc.) is one of the country's largest distributors of ball bearings, bearing specialties, and power transmissions. Joseph Bruening founded the Ohio Ball Bearing Co. in 1923 as a sales, distribution, and service organization selling mainly automobile and truck replacement parts. As industry began using more individual motors to operate machinery, Ohio Ball Bearing focused on industrial customers for its replacement bearings. With the increase in business and the number of product lines handled, Ohio Bearings moved from its original location at 6715 Carnegie Ave. to larger quarters at 6537 Euclid Ave. in 1927, and established branch stores in Cleveland, Youngstown, and Cincinnati. The company changed its name in 1953 to Bearings, Inc., a reflection of its expansion beyond the confines of Ohio. The company then established 2 subsidiaries, Dixie Bearings in 1957 and Bruening Bearings, Inc., in 1960, and a West Coast Division in Oct. 1967. By 1973 the company covered the 25 states where about 80% of American industry was located. Under the leadership of President John Cunin, Bearings entered the New England market and expanded in the Southwest between 1980 and 1984. In 1994 the company generated $936 million in annual sales, marking the seventh consecutive year of improved sales. Under chairman John C. Dannemiller, Bearings, Inc. expected to reach a company milestone by exceeding $1 billion in sales in 1995.
In 1996, the company changed its name to Applied Industrial Technologies to reflect its manufacture of electrical and mechanical drive systems, industrial rubber products, and other specialty industrial products. In the mid 1990s, company officials gained nearly $35 million in incentives to keep the firm based in Cleveland and the company's three-story, 150,000 square foot facilty on Euclid Ave. is at the center of the city's redevelopment of the Midtown area. By 2002, Applied Industrial Technologies could boast annual revenues of $1.45 billion and 4,500 employees.
Bruening, Joseph M. Keeping Industry in Motion for 50 Years: The Story of Bearings Inc. (1973).