Tyler Elevator Products, originally known as the Cleveland Wire Works, was founded in 1872 by Washington S. Tyler. Born in OHIO CITY in 1835, Tyler attended school in Connecticut, but later returned to Cleveland to work. Before starting his own company, Tyler was employed at E.I. Baldwin & Company.
Cleveland Wire Works produced quality wire screens, screen machinery, elevator entrances, elevator cars, wire cloth, trellises, and arches out of copper, brass, steel, and iron. The company's innovative "double crimping" technique, in which the different wires were wrapped around each other for extra centering and support, set it apart from its competitors. In September 1889, the company changed its name to the W.S. Tyler Company. Its patrons in Cleveland included Citizen's Savings & Trust, old City Hall, and later Higbee's Department Store in the TERMINAL TOWER.
The company's first location was a modest, two-story building on St. Clair Avenue. As the company grew, new buildings were erected on the site at 754-760 St. Clair, creating a company campus. By 1910, the company owned almost all the land between its location on St. Clair and Superior Avenue. Plans were then initiated to complete the expansion to Superior, and land was purchased from Lake Shore Sawmill and Lumber Company. The new, four-story brick building at 3615 Superior Avenue was completed in 1913 with electric lights, steam heat, and cement floors. This building would serve as the company's headquarters until the 1960s.
Washington S. Tyler died unexpectedly in 1917, but his company continued to grow. In 1918, the company absorbed the Standard Company, another wire works. At its height the company owned ten acres of land and 24 separate buildings, connected together by a series of bridges, which allowed employees to move around the complex without going outside. Branches were opened across the United States, and as many as 1,100 workers were employed at the Cleveland factory.
In 1962, the company moved its headquarters to Mentor, Ohio, and became a subsidiary of Combustion Engineering in 1970. At this time, the Superior Avenue location still housed the elevator cab manufacturing division, but the company soon began to dissolve the factory complex. Between 1975 and 1978, the complex was sold to Anthony Asher. Tyler Elevator moved to VALLEY VIEW, Ohio, in 1984. It is currently (2015) located in Twinsburg, Ohio.
Jennifer Graham, Western Reserve Historical Society
Tyler Elevator records WRHS