When David Fitzpatrick brought his knowledge of worm gear design and production technology to the U.S. from England in 1912, he dreamed of creating one of the leading-edge gearing technologies in the U.S.
This year, Cleveland Gear (originally Cleveland Worm & Gear), founded by Fitzpatrick, F.M. Gregg and C.J. Fitzpatrick, celebrates its 100th anniversary in the worm gear manufacturing business.
"Few companies get to experience a "Centennial Celebration" with the same name and in the same location, as the average life expectancy of the typical large American enterprise is less than 50 years," said Dana Lynch, president of Cleveland Gear. "When you think, in the last decade alone, of the long list of big corporate failures, it makes you proud that Cleveland Gear is enjoying record sales and prosperity, celebrating its 100th year of operation."
When Cleveland Worm & Gear began assembly, 20 employees were producing 2,000 sets of gears. By its sixth year in business, the company employed 300 individuals who produced 80,000 worm sets of gears for the automotive industry. In 1920, David Fitzpatrick earned U.S. patents for his material design concepts and production tooling.
Throughout history, Cleveland Gear's innovations have continued to contribute to a variety of industries, including Construction Equipment, Steel Production and Processing, and Oil and Gas Exploration and Production. The company's most creative designs were the first worm gear speed reducer, the first box-type housing, the Speedaire line of fan-cooled worm gear speed reducers, the Cleveland "M" series modular speed reducers and the establishment of Cleveland Custom Parallel Shaft Reducers.
Some of Cleveland Gear's most influential recognitions are for its involvement with the U.S. military. In 1943, 1944, and 1945, Cleveland Gear received the Army-Navy "E" Award for its contributions to World War II by supplying worm gearing and worm gear drives for ships, airplanes, and other war-related vehicles and machinery, according to Cleveland Gear. In 2006, employees of Cleveland Gear were asked to provide custom gear for the Navy's USS Essex (LHD 2).
Today the company has an inventory of more than 10,000 hobs and master worms that can adequately duplicate essentially every worm and gear ever created by Cleveland Gear since its establishment.