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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

GREVE, LOUIS WILLIAM

GREVE, LOUIS WILLIAM

GREVE, LOUIS WILLIAM (2 Nov. 1882-2 Feb. 1942) industrial designer and pioneer in the aerospace industry, was born in Cleveland, the son of Claus and Clara (Zimmerman) Greve. Educated in public schools and Central high school, he worked in his father's company, CLEVELAND PNEUMATIC TOOL, beginning as an office boy and later worked as a mechanic in the shop. He was made a director and treasurer of the company in 1904 and was elected president in 1931, serving until his death. An industrial innovator, Greve was head of the company's product improvement and was instrumental in utilizing the firm's automotive shock absorber technology to cushion aircraft landings. Greve studied experimental aerols (shock absorbers) by taking motion pictures of their action from underneath an airplane as it taxied down the runway. Under his leadership, the company's design and manufacture of airplane landing gear became an industry standard. Greve had approximately 50 patents during his career, including the Aerol Strut for aircraft.

An early promoter of the NATIONAL AIR RACES, Greve insured participation of the Cleveland chapter of the National Aeronautics Association in the first races held in Cleveland in 1929, and the following year he served as president of the event. In 1934, the Louis W. Greve trophy was first offered as a prize at the National Air Races for an international free-for-all race by planes not exceeding 550 cubic inch displacement.

Greve married Elsie Baldwin in 1906, and they had three children, Fred B., Janice Roberts, and Doris Wagenlander. He died suddenly of a heart attack at age 59 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Internment was in Cleveland at LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.


The Cleveland Pneumatic Tool Co. WRHS.