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LEAR SIEGLER, INC., POWER EQUIPMENT DIVISION

LEAR SIEGLER, INC., POWER EQUIPMENT DIVISION

The LEAR SIEGLER, INC., POWER EQUIPMENT DIVISION, a major designer and manufacturer of electromechanical equipment for aerospace, missile, and ordnance applications, was established in 1962 when Lear, Inc., merged with the Siegler Corp., the parent company of Jack & Heintz, at 17600 Broadway in MAPLE HTS. Jack & Heintz, Inc. had been cofounded by machinist Wm. S. "Bill" Jack and chemical engineer Ralph M. Heintz in 1940 to manufacture precision parts for airplanes. While Heintz directed the engineering and technical operations, Jack oversaw production, making the company a model of enlightened paternalism. He offered the "associates," as Jack called his employees, medical, accident, and life insurance, free medical care, free meals, and good pay. In return Jack expected them to work 12-hour shifts, 7 days a week with time-and-a-half for more than 40 hours a week. Noted for efficiency in fulfilling its defense contracts during World War II, Jack & Heintz grew from 56 employees in 1940 to 8,700 in 1944, sharing its extra profits with the associates. After a postwar business slump in 1946, the company merged with the Precision Prods. Corp., becoming Jack & Heintz Precision Prods. Siegler acquired the firm in 1961 and merged with Lear the following year, creating the Lear Siegler Power Equipment Div. In 1963 the division employed 2,200 people in the Cleveland area, including a plant in Elyria, 2 plants on Solon Rd., and the Broadway Ave. facility where a new aerospace engineering center was located. By 1964 division sales reached $40 million annually. In 1985, however, the company was forced to lay off 387 local employees following an unfavorable investigation into quality control problems related to a lucrative government contract for the developing and manufacturing of parts for the Patriot Missile System. And in 1988, after a brief financial rebound in 1987, Lear Siegler was purchased by Britain's Lucas Industries for $32.2 million dollars and renamed Lucas Aerospace Power Equipment Corporation.


Jahco News, 26 June 1942 and 24 July 1942, WRHS.

Lear Siegler, Inc. Annual Reports, 1983 and 1984.

Theodore Hall Papers, WRHS.