LINCOLN, JAMES F. (14 May 1883-23 June 1965), head of LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO. from 1914 until his death, was born near Painesville, Ohio and studied electrical engineering at Ohio State University, leaving without his degree in 1907 due to typhoid fever; he was awarded his degree in 1926. In 1907, Lincoln joined his brother's Lincoln Electric Co. as a salesman, becoming general manager in 1914, and president from 1928-54, when he became chairman of the board. An inventor, Lincoln received 20 patents; his engineering enabled him to make the technological improvements necessary to make arc welding a dependable and commercially viable process of joining metals.
Lincoln was a defender of individualism and critic of the New Deal. During WORLD WAR II, Lincoln Electric Co.'s incentive bonus payments from government war contracts raised the suspicions of government officials; in May 1942, the company was investigated by the House Naval Affairs Committee, and in 1943 the Price Adjustment Board ordered Lincoln to return $3.25 million, which it claimed was excessive profits. Lincoln fought the charge and defended the incentive payments. The Treasury Dept. later charged the company with tax evasion; Lincoln was acquitted of all charges, however. Lincoln was a prolific author, writing letters to the editor, pamphlets on political and social issues, and 3 books on industrial economics and the Lincoln incentive plan. He was also active in Republican politics. Lincoln in 1908 married Alice Patterson, who died in 1954. In 1961 he married Jane White.
Finding aid for the James F. Lincoln Papers, WRHS.