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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

PETTIBONE OHIO CORP., A DIVISION OF THE PETTIBONE CORP.

PETTIBONE OHIO CORP., A DIVISION OF THE PETTIBONE CORP.

PETTIBONE OHIO CORP., A DIVISION OF THE PETTIBONE CORP., existed for many years as the Cleveland Frog & Crossing Co. Geo. C. Lucas and N. P. Bowler organized the Cleveland Frog & Crossing Co. in 1884 to produce their patented railroad frog which permitted a train traveling on one track to pass over an intersecting track. All the major railroads were counted as its customers by 1893 and its product line had expanded to include switches, guardrails, and special track and curves. Their product was so popular that by 1904 the partners had a new factory and office building at 6917 Bessemer containing some of the most specialized frog-making equipment in the country. After Bowler died in 1909, Lucas brought in Washington W. Balkwill to help operate the company. In 1949 Balkwill's son, George, attempted to sell his controlling interest in the company to an agent for the Pettibone Milliken Corp. of Illinois. After a 3-year battle, the court ruled that his sale was legal and the new owners changed the firm's name to Pettibone Ohio Corp. Among its leading products was the Pettibone Speed Swing Loader used during railroad construction and maintenance of track right-of-way.

Pettibone Corp. of Chicago, the parent company, emerged from a 3-year bankruptcy reorganization in 1988. At that time its Cleveland subsidiary and its 116 employees were still making railroad track and specialty maintenance products but accounted for less than 10% of the parent company's business. In 1995 Cleveland Track Material, Inc., operated the Bessemer Ave. plant.