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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

LAWRENCE, WASHINGTON H. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

LAWRENCE, WASHINGTON H. (17 Jan. 1840-23 Nov. 1900) was a pioneer in the manufacture of electricity who organized and served as president of the National Carbon Co., forerunner of Union Carbide & Carbon Corp.

Born in Olmsted to Joel and Catherine (Harris) L., Lawrence attended Olmsted common schools and Baldwin University. In 1864 he moved to Cleveland and became involved in the manufacturing and sale of sewing machines and, later, the manufacturing of bolts in Elyria. In 1874 Lawrence sold these business interests and turned his attention to electricity. Recognizing its commercial value Lawrence invested as a stockholder in the Telegraph Supply Company which later merged into the Brush Electric Company.

Lawrence associated himself with Charles F. Brush and provided a significant portion of the original capital for establishing the Brush Electric Company. Lawrence served as general manager until he retired in 1882 and sold his company interests. Lawrence briefly turned his attention to real estate investments.

In 1886 Lawrence returned to the electrical manufacturing business when, with associates Myron T. Herrick, James Parmlee and Webb C. Hayes, he purchased an interest in the Boulton Carbon Company, took over the Boulton plant, and organized the National Carbon Company. In 1891 Lawrence purchased the carbon department from Brush Electric. After fire destroyed the Boulton plant in 1893, Lawrence moved National Carbon to W. 117th & Madison Ave. in Lakewood.

Lawrence married Harriet Collister on June 29, 1863. They had seven daughters. Lawrence is buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.

Borchert, Jim & Susan. Lakewood: The First 100 Years (1989).

Last Modified: 18 Jul 1997 10:51:12 AM

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