GOULD, INC., once a leading defense contractor in the Cleveland area, began doing business in Cleveland in 1945 as Gould Storage Battery. Known as the Gould-National Batteries Co. in 1950, it was located at 4500 Euclid Ave. The company, which had been established in 1918 in Minnesota, was primarily involved in automotive and industrial products until it purchased Cleveland's CLEVITE CORP. in 1969 in order to gain entry into the lucrative high-tech and ordnance markets. Clevite, dominant in the bearings and electronics markets, was a major supplier of ordnance and oceanographic equipment to the U.S. Navy. Renamed Gould, Inc., the firm changed the name of Clevite's Ordnance Division, located at 18901 Euclid, to the Ocean Systems Division, reflecting the integrated-technology company it hoped to achieve. Under the direction of William Laffer, Clevite's former president, Gould acquired new subsidiaries in electronic and computer technology, giving the company greater capability in producing underwater weapons systems, precision measurements, and controls; in 1971, Gould was awarded a $1.5 billion U.S. Navy procurement contract for the computerized Mark 48 torpedo. In the 1980s Gould sold off its electrical and industrial interests to obtain additional capital, selling Clevite's old bearings division and plant for $500 million by 1981. In 1985, Gould, Inc., with headquarters in Rolling Meadows, IL, employed 21,000 worldwide and had sales of $1.4 billion, most of which came from its electrical and electronics products and components, and its defense systems. Gould employed over 2,500 at its Ocean Systems, Foil Recording Systems & Controls Division in 1985 and was Greater Cleveland's largest defense contractor.
In 1987, Nippon Mining and Metals, Japan's largest non-ferrous metals smelting company, acquired Gould Inc. for over $1 billion. While the acquisition made Nippon Mining into a major electronics company, it sold off Gould's Ocean Systems Division to WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CORP., leaving Gould with no defense interests. Investing in the growing worldwide demand for copper foil, used in the production of circuit boards, Nippon Mining relocated Gould's headquarters to Eastlake, OH, the site of its foil production plant. Following the merger of Nippon Mining with Kyodo Oil Company in 1992, resulting in the formation of Nikko Kyodo Co., the new conglomerate invested $150 million in Gould in an effort to restructure the Eastlake-based company and renovate its copper foil production facilities. In 1993, after posting operating losses for consecutive years, Gould Inc. was liquidated, falling victim to declining copper foil prices and inflated estimates of the demand for copper foil. Nikko Kyodo dispersed Gould's business among two new companies: Gould Electronics Inc., based in Eastlake, to produce copper foil and Gould Instrument Systems Inc., based in Valley View, OH, to manufacture test and measurement equipment. The same year Nikko Kyodo became Japan Energy Corporation.
In 2003, Gould Electronics employed 800 workers worldwide and 400 in the United States, including 120 at its Eastlake headquarters. The company consolidated its manufacturing, administrative, and research and development operations at Chandler, AZ, during 2003 and 2004 and sold its real property in Eastlake to the Minnesota-based company, Innovex, Inc. for $7 million in 2005. The same year, Nippon Mining and Metals discontinued its U.S. operations and Ticer Technologies, led by a management group from Gould Electronics, took over the facilities at Chandler, AZ.
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