DRAVO WELLMAN CO. was a pioneer manufacturer of steel plant equipment with an international reputation for engineering some of the largest material-handling projects ever built. The firm started in 1896 as the Wellman-Seaver Engineering Co., founded by the inventor of the first open-hearth furnace in the U.S., Samuel T. Wellman, his brother, Chas. H. Wellman, and John W. Seaver, to engineer and design steel mills and industrial plant equipment. In 1901 it constructed a plant at Central Ave. and E. 71st St. After Thos. R. Morgan joined the firm, it was incorporated as the Wellman-Seaver-Morgan Co. in 1903. That enabled it to acquire the Webster, Camp & Lane Co. of Akron, manufacturer of mining machinery and iron- and coal-handling equipment. As Wellman-Seaver-Morgan contracted business from all over the world, it concentrated on expanding its material-handling equipment. One of the company's executives, GEO. H. HULETT, had invented the Hulett unloader, which revolutionized the Great Lakes ore industry (see HULETT ORE UNLOADERS). In 1931 excavating buckets were added to its production line when the firm acquired the G. H. Williams Co. of Erie, PA. A year earlier, the corporate name had been changed to the Wellman Engineering Co. In 1954 the Cleveland-based McDowell, Inc., an international construction and engineering firm, acquired Wellman to fulfill McDowell's goal of erecting turnkey plants for basic industries. In 1963 there was an official merger of these 2 companies, producing the McDowell-Wellman Engineering Co., with its headquarters in the Vulcan Bldg. at 113 St. Clair Ave. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, McDowell-Wellman built coal docks and port loading facilities. The Massachusetts firm Helix Technology Corp. purchased McDowell-Wellman in 1978 and sold its bulk material-handling unit and research center to Pittsburgh's Dravo Corp. In 1980 Dravo reorganized the Cleveland units as the Dravo Wellman Co., which was sold off to Blyden-Alice and left Cleveland in 1988. In 1993 a division of the Swedish firm Svedala Industries, Dravo Wellman retained only a single maintenance engineer in Cleveland.

Black, white and red text reading Western Reserve Historical Society

Finding aid for the Wellman-Seaver-Morgan Company, Cleveland, Ohio, Photographs, WRHS.


Wellman Engineering Co. A Pictorial Record of Engineering Achievements (1944).

Wellman-Seaver-Morgan Co. The Wellman-Seaver-Morgan Co. (n.d.)

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