MIDLAND-ROSS CO. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
The MIDLAND-ROSS CO. was a diversified manufacturer of consumer and industrial products, aerospace and electronic components, and capital goods. It began as the Parish & Bingham Co., founded in Cleveland in 1894 to produce bicycle, wagon, and trolley parts. On 21 March 1923, ELROY J. KULAS† merged Parish & Bingham, the Detroit Pressed Steel Co., and the Parish Mfg. Co. into the Midland Steel Prods. Co., with 2 Cleveland plants. It quickly became the largest producer of automobile frames. A brake division was established in 1928, producing mechanical and air brakes and air compressors. During World War II, Midland manufactured jeep and truck frames and parts for shells and tanks. In the mid-1950s, the Board of Directors initiated a program of diversification resulting in the formation of the Midland-Ross Co. on 7 Dec. 1957, when Midland Steel Prods. merged with the J. O. Ross Engineering Co. By 1960 the company had 12 divisions with 20 plants in 8 states and Canada. In 1961 Midland-Ross acquired Cleveland's Industrial Rayon Corp., a manufacturer of automobile tire cord and rayon yarns organized in 1925. Another major Cleveland firm purchased in 1965 was the Natl. Castings Co., a leading producer of railroad equipment founded in 1868 as the Cleveland Malleable Iron Co. Midland-Ross continued its acquisitions until 1969, when its new president, Harry J. Bolwell, restructured Midland-Ross by selling some of these companies, including Industrial Rayon in 1969, and focusing on 3 core areas--thermal processes, castings, and aerospace and electronic products. It sold the original Midland Steel Prods. Co., which was acquired in 1978 by LAMSON AND SESSIONS CO. and continues to operate in its plant at Madison & W. 106th St. By 1981 Midland-Ross, with its international headquarters in Cleveland, had 19 divisions and subsidiaries operating 57 plants in 18 states and 9 foreign countries, with annual sales of over $900 million. In July 1986 the company was bought by Forstmann Little & Co. and the Cleveland offices were closed shortly thereafter.
Last Modified: 21 Jul 1997 10:44:44 AM
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