GOODRICH LANDING GEAR has been the world's largest manufacturer of aircraft landing gears. Founded in 1894 as the Union Electric Co. by Claus Greve, the company manufactured electric generators for 4 years before turning to the manufacture of pneumatic tools. The Cleveland Pneumatic Tool Co., as it was then called, made drills, valves, and couplings. In 1908 it produced the rock hammer drills used to dig the Panama Canal. With the onset of World War I, the company moved to a new factory at 3734 E. 78th St. To compensate for a small tool market after the war, the company introduced the Gruss Air Spring, a shock absorber used on luxury cars. By 1926 it had adapted this pneumatic technique to aircraft and built the first aircraft landing gear, which became standard throughout the industry. Cleveland Pneumatic's growing expertise made it the major landing-gear supplier for military and commercial aircraft. During World War II it trained other companies to produce its product, thus laying the groundwork for postwar competition. Aside from landing gear, Cleveland Pneumatic's product line included hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical, and electromechanical equipment and air-frame components. Founder Claus Greve's son, LOUIS, contributed approximately 50 patents during his career, including the Aerol Strut for aircraft. For a time Cleveland Pneumatic was unique, because it was owned by its employees. In 1953, 2 employee trusts were established and financed by company contributions. Disagreement over management of the trusts led to several bitter strikes in the 1950s and to stockholder discontent. Eventually Cleveland Pneumatic was acquired by Textron, which had managed the trusts through its 60 Trust of Boston arm. Textron opened stock ownership to the public and moved the company headquarters to Boston. In 1984 the company was acquired by IC Industries, which sold it 4 years later to Pneumo Abex of Hampton, NH. B.F. Goodrich of Bath, OH, purchased Cleveland Pneumatic in May 1993. The company maintained its local plant at 3781 E. 77th St., as well as a second plant in Tullahoma, TN, and an overhaul facility in Miami, FL., although the address of the Cleveland plant shortly changed to 8000 Marble Avenue. On June 1, 2001, B.F. Goodrich shortened its name, and the operation became the Goodrich Landing Gear Division.

Article Categories