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FIGGIE INTERNATIONAL, INC.

FIGGIE INTERNATIONAL, INC.

FIGGIE INTERNATIONAL, INC., a diversified operating company, was organized by Clevelander Harry E. Figgie, Jr. in Dec. 1963 when he bought the "Automatic" Sprinkler Corp. of America. Through acquisitions he made Figgie Intl. the 367th-largest corporation in the U.S. "Automatic" Sprinkler originated from the merger of 4 small companies in 1910 and was incorporated in Delaware in 1919. The firm was bought by 1926 by John A. Coakley, whose family owned it until 1963. Its main offices, located in New York City, were moved to Cleveland and then to Youngstown in 1936, where the plant was located. A sales office remained in Cleveland. The firm's profits were slim in the early 1960s, and Harry E. Figgie, Jr. bought it for $5.8 million on 31 Dec. 1963. With an office in Cleveland's CEI Bldg. Figgie began to diversify the company, targeting 4 markets: fire protection; fluid controls and hydraulic equipment; industrial labor-saving equipment; and electronic instrumentation and components. Between 1965-69, "Automatic" Sprinkler acquired more than 50 divisions to serve these markets and increased its sales from $25 million in 1964 to $379 million in 1969; net income rose from $1.2 million to $8.6 million during the same period. The firm became A-T-O Inc. on 29 Oct. 1969 to reflect its multiple interests, and in August 1970 moved its headquarters from Youngstown to a new building at 4420 Sherwin Rd., Willoughby. Concentrating on internal growth and efficiency, the firm transformed its service centers in data processing, corporate insurance, and real estate into autonomous profit centers serving both the company and outside businesses. Net income was $25.7 million on net sales of $769.9 million by 1981, when it was renamed Figgie Intl., Inc. In 1982 it moved its administrative headquarters to Richmond, VA; however, the computer group, "Automatic" Sprinkler Corp., and Western Reserve Container Corp. remained in the Cleveland area. The company suffered losses in the recession of 1982-83 and began to sell, close, or consolidate its weaker divisions. In 1989 the Fortune 500 company worth $1.2 billion returned to Willoughby and announced it would build a 200,000 sq. ft. world headquarters and commercial complex on 630 acres of land owned by Cleveland in Warrensville Twp. Figgie and the Jacobs Group, mall developers based in WESTLAKE, had equal ownership of the development project known as Chagrin Highlands, with Jacobs as the managing partner. Figgie Intl. sustained a net loss of $185.6 million in 1993, and Figgie's son, Harry E. Figgie, III, was forced to resign from the company in March 1994. In May his father, Harry E. Figgie, Jr., retired as CEO.