LAMSON AND SESSIONS CO., one of the nation's leading fastener manufacturers for over a century, was, in 2004, the leading domestic producer of thermoplastic electrical conduit, wiring devices, and related products. The company dates back to Oct. 1866 when brothers Thos. H. and Isaac P. Lamson joined with Samuel W. Sessions to form a partnership to run the Mt. Carmel Bolt Co., a small maker of carriage bolts in Connecticut. Three years later, Cleveland's expanding markets and the availability of raw materials prompted them to move their plant to 2188 Scranton Ave. Lamson & Sessions helped to establish the Cleveland Nut Co. in 1872, which provided the partnership with a full line of fasteners. In 1883, the partnership was incorporated in the State of Ohio as the Lamson & Sessions Co.
Demand for the company's products increased steadily in the first half of the 20th century and, in 1928, shares of Lamson & Sessions Co. began trading on the Cleveland Stock Exchange. By 1930, Lamson & Sessions had eight plants nationwide, with a combined sales of $11 million. During World War II, the firm concentrated on engineering durable fasteners for military equipment and was one of the largest makers of nuts and bolts in the United States. In the 1950s, Lamson & Sessions reinstated its acquisition program aimed at further growth in the fastener industry, but also with the desire to enter new businesses, such as industrial equipment, automotive accessories, metal stamping, and aerospace components. In 1950, the firm built a new plant in nearby BROOKLYN to consolidate most of its acquired Cleveland-area plants. In 1979, Lamson & Sessions acquired the local holding firm Midso, Inc., which included the Midland Steel Prods. Co. (see MIDLAND-ROSS CO.), the country's chief manufacturer of mid-sized truck frames, and the Forest City Foundries Co., one of the oldest (1890) gray iron foundries in the area, which was closed during the recession of the early 1980s.
By 1980, executives at Lamson & Sessions, facing increasing foreign competition, decided on a major strategic shift by divesting itself of its ailing fastener business. In 1981, the company sold its industrial fastener business to Cleveland's Russell, Burdsall, and Ward Corp. Five years later, the company acquired CARLON PRODUCTS CO. and thus marked Lamson & Sessions shift from metal to plastic products. After the merger, Lamson & Sessions moved its main office into Carlon's BEACHWOOD headquarters. Carlon, a major manufacturer of plastic sewer pipes and conduit for the electrical and communications industries, would be the first major acquisition in what would become Lamson & Sessions's core business. This shift led to the sale of Midland Steel Products (1994) and Valley-Todeco (1995). Lamson & Session's solidified this new focus in 2000 through the acquisitions of Pyramid Industries (of Ft. Myers, FL) for $65 million and Ameriduct Worldwide, Inc. (of Erie, PA) for $52 million. Both purchases gave the company a firm hold in the telecommunications infrastructure industry. Unfortunately, the market for telecommunications infrastructure softened soon after these mergers, and in 2002, the New York Stock Exchange warned Lamson & Sessions that the company was in danger of being delisted if it did not reduce its total market capitalization. Hopeful for the future, Lamson & Sessions reported a net loss of just over $1 million on sales of $343.8 million for the year ending in 2003. In 2004, Lamson & Sessions maintained its headquarters at 25701 Science Park Drive.
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Case, George, Jr. Lamson & Sessions—Starting a Second Century of Industrial Fastener Development and Production (1965).