Originally founded by Denton K. Swartwout (b. Aug. 27, 1861-d. Mar. 22,
1940), in 1901 as a manufacturer of industrial fans and air-handling
equipment, by 1907 the Ohio Blower Co. was also producing stamped metal
products for Cleveland's fledgling automobile manufacturers. Several years
prior to their 1919 reorganization as Ohio Body & Blower Co., they began the
production of complete composite wood and metal automobile bodies,
specializing in closed bodywork.
The four-year-old firm was split in two in late 1923, with the Swartwout
Co. remaining in the air handling business and Ohio Body & Blower retaining
the firm's auto body division. In addition to its popular air-handling
products the Swartwout Co. entered the pre-fab metal building business in
the late-1920s, but withdrew at the start of the Depression.
During its two-decades in the business, Ohio Blower/Ohio Body & Blower
Co. produced bodies for Diana (Moon), Gardner, Jordan, Moon, Owen-Magnetic
and Stearns. They also marketed a line of replacement bodies for Ford Model
T under the trade name "Lindividual" and "Master" during the early-to-mid
Denton Kenyon Swartwout was born on August 27, 1861 in Red Creek, Wayne
County, New York to Simeon and Louisa (Frost) Swartwout. Born in 1836,
Simeon was the son of Peter and Diana (Cuddeback) Swartwout two native new
Yorkers who operated a farm in Wolcott, Wayne Co., NY. Simeon married Louisa
Frost sometime prior to the start of the Civil War and to the blessed union
were born seven sons; Milton (b. 1860, NY), Denton K. (b.1861, NY), Myron
(b. 1864, NY), William D. (b.1866, MI), Burton (b. 1868, MI), Guy (b. 1869,
MI) and Jay (b. 1871, MI).
(Family data spells Simeon's name three ways: typically Simeon, but
sometime listed as Simon, and Simonian. Another reference gives his wife's
name as Sarah, not Louisa, however Denton K. Swartwout alsways lists Louisa
Frost Swartwout as his mother)
In 1865 the entire Swartwout family – Peter & Diane; Simeon & Louisa; and
Simeon's three sons, Milton, Denton and Myron, moved to the town of Eckford,
Calhoun County Michigan. The 1870 US Census lists Peter and Diane Swartwout
as the next door neighbors of Simeon and Louisa Swartwout.
The 1880 US Census lists Denton K. Swartwout as a boarder on the farm of
William Corliss, a farmer in Fredonia, Calhoun County, Michigan, his
occupation, laborer. His name appears in a couple of issues of the Marshall
(MI) Statesman under the 'Fredonia Freaks' and 'Ceresco Cults' news and
gossip columns as follows:
May 25, 1883: "Mr. Denton Swartwout has been quite ill with measles white
attending school at Valparaiso, Ind., and is .expected home this week.
Sept 12, 1884: "Mr. Denton Swartwout will attend the fair in Toledo.
The 1890 census reveals Denton K. Swartwout had relocated to Saginaw,
Michigan, his occupation, traveling agent for the Allington-Curtis Co., a
manufacturer of dust and wood chip separators for wood planing mills. Soon
afterwards he married Gertrude Final (b: Sep. 19, 1865, Saginaw, MI-d. Jun.
15, 1947) to William (b: Nov. 1819, Maine) and Hannah Minerva Johnson Final
(b: 1829, Newbury, Geauga Cty, Ohio).
On July 5, 1892 the marriage was blessed by the birth of a son, Denton K.
Swartwout Jr. (b. Jul. 5, 1892-d. May 1965, Scottsdale, AZ). Denton K.
Swartwout III (b. Apr. 8, 1918) to D.K. Swartwout Jr. and Frances Preyer.
(2nd Marriage ?) Elizabeth married Denton Kenyon Swartwout of Shaker
Heights. OH . a manufacturer, then film maker (Swartwout Productions Inc.,
6736 East Avalon Drive. Scottsdale. AZ). Their business interests took them
and their two children. Denton Kenyon III and Marian Frances to Arizona.
Denny is father of three sons, of whom Charles Swartwout now heads Swartwout
Swartwout is listed as a witness on the November 30, 1886 patent
application of William E. Allington and William H. Curtis. Their sheet metal
dust collector and separator was awarded US patent 394,240 on December 11,
1888. An article in the February 5, 1910 Marshall (MI) Daily News revealed
that held a substantial interest in the firm even at that late date:
"Apologizes and Gives Up Stock
"Denton K. Swartwout, Settles a $25,000 Libel Suit brought by Saginaw
"The sensational libel suit for $25,000 damages brought here last
November by W.E. Allington against Benton K. Swartwout of Cleveland,
formerly a Marshall man was settled out of court Friday and with other
litigation between the parties, both of whom are prominent manufacturers.
Swartwout was a stockholder in the Allington & Curtiss Manufacturing company
of Saginaw, and following trouble over its internal management, issued a circular letter in January, 1908,
and later wrote four other communications to the stockholders attacking
Allington personally and charging that he had run the company for his own
"Shortly afterward Swartwout commenced suit against the Allington &
Curtiss company to secure possession of its books, records and papers with
which to substantiate his accusations and force the removal of Allington as
president. This suit was never tried. Allington brought his action for
libel, causing Swartwout's arrest while on a visit in Saginaw last fall.
By the terms of the settlement Swartwout has written a letter of apology
on the stationary of the Ohio Blower company, of which he is president, retracting all the
allegations against Allington in his communication and also surrenders all
of his stock in the Allington & Curtiss company, amounting to $2,500 par
value to Allington. Swartwout also dismissed his suit against the company."
While he was still with the firm, its plant had been totally destroyed by
the Great Saginaw Fire. The May 22, 1893 fire destroyed much of the firm's Saginaw, Michigan
manufacturing facility and was covered in many of the nation's papers. The
Logansport (IN) Journal's coverage follows:
"RUIN AT SAGINAW: Fire Destroys Property in the Michigan City Valued at
"SAGINAW, Mich., May 22.—Saturday afternoon the metropolis of the Saginaw
valley was visited by the worst conflagration in her history and one of the
most destructive which ever visited any city in the state. The loss will amount to about $900,000,
The total insurance will aggregate about $600,000. The extent of territory which was burned is
about twenty-five squares, and includes large portions of the Sixth and
Seventh wards. This territory was swept nearly clean of every building. A
close estimate places the number of buildings destroyed at 375. Over 200
families are homeless, and 800 men are thrown out of employment.
"Tour of the Flames.
"The first alarm was turned in at 3:45 o'clock from box 53. The
department was called to the mill of Sample & Camp on what is termed the
'middle ground,' south of Bristol street and on the east side of the river.
Just how the fire started is not certain, but it is supposed it caught from
sparks, possibly from a passing tug boat. This building was not occupied and
the loss was a few hundred dollars. A strong gale from the southwest drove
the flames to 700,000 feet of lumber owned by Brown & Ryan. The sparks from
this set fire to the eastern span of the Bristol street bridge, burning it
down and cutting off street railway communication. From the bridge thence
the flames leaped to the east side, just below Bristol street and north of
the city hall, where were located a large number of buildings, including
hose house No. 6, J. P. Winkler's ice houses, all residences on Tilden
street and on both sides of Washington avenue down to Holden street. These
were quickly licked up.
"More Big Factories Burn
"Then the sparks were carried across the old bayou into the premises of
the George F. Cross Lumber company, the Planing-Mill Lumber company, the
yard and a dozen tenement houses melting like snow. Next came the Allington
& Curtis Manufacturing company's extensive plant and Passolt's soap factory,
all of which were wiped out. Here the fire struck Jefferson avenue, and in an
hour some of the finest residences in the city were in ashes,
the sweep being north to Emerson street, where the fire continued eastward,
south of and along Emerson street out toward the city limits. It cut a wide
swath on Owen, Howard, Sheridan and Warren avenues and other streets east.
St. Vincent's orphans' home succumbed early but the inmates
were all removed to places of safety. The patients were all removed from St.
Mary's hospital, which was in extreme danger for a time, but was saved.
"An old man named Robert Turner, 89 years of age, lost his life, his body
being found in front of his residence burned to a crisp. This is the only
known casualty, although several persons are reported missing. People were
frenzied in their desire to remove household effects. Drays, delivery, wood,
ice and coal wagons, buggies, handcarts and everything in the shape of a
vehicle was pressed into the service. All the hacks in the city were pressed
into the service to remove invalids, old people, ladies and children to
places of safety. The majority of the losses are sustained by people
who are in comfortable circumstances. A plan has been
formulated for the care of all the needy ones, and no appeal will be made
for outside aid."
The Allington-Curtis Manufacturing company was included in the list of
losses at $125,000 "well insured."
Allington-Curtis rebuilt, remaining in the dust separator business for
the next half-decade. He remained with the firm until the end of the decade
when he decided to branch out on his own. Swartwout moved to Cleveland, Ohio
sometime around the turn of the century and on November 6, 1901, established
the Ohio Blower Company.
Swartwout's first patent, for an exhaust gas separator, US Patent 767,721
was awarded on August 19, 1904 (filed on May 18, 1904. His next patent was
for a particle separation system which was awarded Patent number 815,656 on
March 20, 1906. A sheet metal roof ventilator was awarded Patent number
1,059,010 on April 15, 1913.
H.H. Lind, secretary of the firm was awarded US Patent number 1,222,554
for a ship-style cowl ventilator and fan on Apr 10, 1917. Swartwout's
railcar ventilator system was awarded patent number 1,271,494 on July 2,
1918. His rotary cowl ventilator, of the type still found in many buildings
today was awarded patent number 1,272,872 on July 16, 1918.
Swartwout applied his talents to help improve the airflow inside closed
automobiles bodies starting in 1921. Although it wasn't awarded until
October 4, 1927, he had applied for an automotive-style cowl ventilation
system, US Patent number 1,643,966 six years earlier, on October 1, 1921. An
improved system, Patent number 1,622,359, originally filed on November 23,
1921, was granted on March 29, 1927.
Before the introduction of Swartwout's cast iron exhaust separator, live
steam was discharged directly to the atmosphere where it condensed creating
numerous problems for property owners such as rusted and rotted roofs, walls
etc. The company's literature explains how they were able to solve the
"When steam is exhausted from an engine to the atmosphere, some form
of exhaust head should be used to catch and return the oil and condensation.
Such heads may be made of galvanized iron or cast iron, and should be so
designed as not to cause back pressure. The steam passes through a long
helix, from which it emerges with a whirling motion. The particles of water
which have been thrown into the outer surface of the tube are flung forward.
The extension of the tube forms an annular chamber in which the water
collects, and from which it is removed through the drip."
Centrifugal separators followed shortly thereafter; then "Hydromatic"
steam traps, rotary ball bearing ventilators, feed water heaters and
industrial drying ovens. The September 1905 Engineers Review included the
"THE OHIO BLOWER CO., Dept. S-3, Cleveland, O., have issued a folder
which is intended to prove that the Swartwout exhaust head gives
satisfaction and meets with the approval of large manufacturing concerns. On
the left hand page is shown the photograph of an order for four exhaust
heads for the National Tube Co., Pittsburg. It is dated Jan. 5, 1905. On the
opposite page is the photograph of another order, from the same company, for
eleven exhaust heads. This order is dated July 3, 1905, nearly six months
later. It is reasonable to suppose that the second order would not have been
given if the first heads were not satisfactory. The Ohio Blower Co. will be
pleased to correspond with any company requiring an exhaust head."
The May 1906 issue of Engineers Review included more information on the
"RARELY DOES THE TRADE obtain such a chance of becoming posted on steam
separators as is given in a 10-page booklet, with 10 attractive
illustrations recently issued by the Ohio Blower Co., Cleveland, O. This
booklet entitled "What a good separator does," is worth a whole lot to the
man anxious to be inculcated with advance ideas. This separator is the
outcome of years of tedious and expensive experiments by its inventor Mr. D.
K. Swartwout from whom it takes its name, and it is a separator that, it is
said, does the work honestly, simply and effectually. As a suggestion we
advise everyone interested in power plants to obtain a copy of this bookie
by writing to the manufacturers, the Ohio Blower Co., Cleveland, O."
The March, 1907 issue of Engineering Magazine included another
article/advertisement in its Improved Machinery supplement:
"THE accompanying illustration is a reproduction of one of three
fourteen-inch Swartwout double angle type steam separators recently
constructed for the Utah Copper Co., Garfield, Utah, the largest copper
smelting plant in the world. These separators are built for a working
pressure of 175 pounds and each weighs 3,750 pounds. These three large
separators were only a part of the entire order, which included sixteen
Swartwout steam separators and two thirty-six-inch Swartwout exhaust heads.
"The Swartwout productions (separators and exhaust heads) are constructed
upon the principle of centrifugal force. In the separator the steam comes in
contact with a helical worm, causing it to violently rotate, developing
centrifugal force, which hurls the water to the peripheral walls of the
separator, when by gravity it is deposited at the bottom of the receiver and
escapes through a drip pipe. The exhaust heads operate upon the same
principle by forcing or rotating the water from the steam through a helical
guide. Further particulars may be had on application to the manufacturers.
The Ohio Blower Company, Cleveland, Ohio."
The March 1908 issue of Engineering Review told of the firm's great
"The Growth of the Ohio Blower Company
"Six years ago two men and an office girl started the business of the
Ohio Blower Co. in a second story room on Michigan street, Cleveland, O.
Inside of a year the second story was outgrown, a land lease of the present
premises was acquired and a two-story building put into condition for
occupancy. Within two years both floors were outgrown and an adjoining
two-story building was annexed. The capacity of this building is fast
approaching the limit and in the near future it will be necessary to provide
larger manufacturing quarters. The principal business of these years,
particularly of the last three, has been in the line of
the "Swartwout" steam specialties, including cast-iron exhaust heads, steam
and oil separators. The designs for this class of apparatus are all based
upon the helico-centrifugal principle, under which a helix is employed to
give a whirling motion to the steam, and centrifugal force is thereby
enabled to separate the heavy water and oil particles from the far lighter
body of steam. An extensive business has also been established in the
manufacture of gravity closing ventilators.
"In the second year, it is stated, the aggregate sales of the company
increased 120 per cent, over the first year; in the third year they were
nearly 200 per cent, greater than in the second, while the increase in five
years, it is stated, has been over 600 per cent. This growth has been the
direct result of extensive and systematic advertising of a product having
evident merit and backed by a broad business policy. The capital stock has
recently been doubled to meet the requirements of rapid increase in
business. A new catalogue is now on the press and will soon be ready for
distribution. Advance requests for this catalogue will receive attention in
the order of their receipt."
The 1908 Motor Cyclopedia listed the firm under Automobile Bodies: Metal,
"Ohio Blower Co., The.—330 Prospect Ave., N. W., Cleveland, O. Mfrs.
hoods', bonnets, drip pans, fenders, tanks, guards, seats, bodies, brazed
and bent tubing, and sheet metal parts. Est. 1902. D. K. Swartwout, Pres,
and Treas.; J. D. Swartwout, Vice-Pres.; Edward Covey, Mgr., and H. H, Lind,
The June 1910 issue of Foundry News announced the planned enlargement of
the firm's factory:
"The Ohio Blower Company have purchased approximately two and one-half
acres in the center of the manufacturing district of the East Side of
Cleveland, accessible to both the Erie and Pennsylvania Railroads. They
propose to start within the year a factory building of the latest type with
every modern advantage. The products of the company are automobile sheet
metal parts, such as hoods, fenders, tanks, underbonnets, etc., "Swartwout"
cast-iron exhaust heads, steam and oil separators, ventilators, automatic
safety water gauges and gauge cocks. In addition, they design, manufacture
and install modern dust-collecting systems, and supply mechanical heating
and ventilation in factories and other large buildings. The Ohio Blower
Company are an Ohio corporation of $50,000 capitalization, organized a
little over eight years ago by D. K. Swartwout and J. D. Swartwout and
associates. They commenced business in a modest way. occupying about 3,500
square feet. A year later they were forced to take larger quarters. Two
years later they were again obliged to lease the building next to them, and
now have to go out for more room. The present active organization consists
of D. K. Swartwout. president and treasurer: J. D. Swartwout. .Saginaw,
Mich., vice-president: H. H. Lind, secretary."
The firm utilized a number of Cleveland addresses in its early days which
include; 49 Michigan St., 330 Prospect Ave., N. W., and 5120 Perkins Ave.
The August 6, 1919 issue of Engineering & Construction announced
plans for another enlargement:
"Ohio, Cleveland—Hunkin-Conkey Construction Co., Century Bldg.. awarded
contract for addition to the Ohio Blower Co.'s plant at W. 93rd St. and
Detroit Ave. N. W.. which will cost $200,000. Osborn Engineering Co.,
Prospect Ave. S. E., Engrs."
On November 11th, 1919 the Ohio Body & Blower Company, 9300 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, Ohio was
organized with a capitalization of $550,000 and
incorporated in the state of Ohio on November 19, 1919 to take over the
business of the Ohio Blower Co., which was incorporated in Ohio November 6,
1901. At that time the firm listed its principle products as automobile bodies,
sheet-metal buildings, sheet iron ventilators, cast iron exhaust heads,
steam traps, steamship ventilators, feed water heaters, valves etc.
Its general office was located at 9300 Detroit Ave., Cleveland,
Ohio with its main plant situated on the south side of Detroit Ave., between
91st and 93rd Sts., on the New York, Chicago & St. Louis R. R., with two
switches leading directly to the plant.
The main Detroit Ave. manufacturing plant consisted of a four and five
story concrete and brick building with a floor space of approximately
305,000 sq. ft. connected with a 162,000 sq. ft. one-story office and
manufacturing building. One of the firm's original plants, a three-story
structure located at 5120 Perkins Ave. provided additional manufacturing
capacity as well as the foundry used to create the firm's cast-iron exhaust
separators. By the time of the reorganization the entire Detroit Ave. plant
was devoted to the manufacture of automobile bodies with a reported output
of 65 to 75 bodies per day.
The success of the firm's automotive body business facilitated the need
for a satellite operation for the firm's foundry and air-handling
operations. Consequently an 11-acre site was purchased along the
Pennsylvania R.R. on N. Main St. in Orrville, Ohio, upon which a 30,000 sq.
ft. one-story building was erected for that purpose. By 1919 the bulk of the
firm's non-automotive products – exhaust heads, ventilators, valves, feed
water heaters, etc. - were manufactured at the Orrville plant.
At the time of the reorganization the firm's offices were as follows:
D.K. Swartwout, Pres.; H.H. Lind, V-P & Treas., Cleveland. O.; W.E. Clement,
Sec; J.B. Davis, Asst. Treas.; H. Rohan, Pur. Agt., Cleveland, O. Its
directors included: D.K. Swartwout, H.H. Lind, T.E. Borton, W.M. Pattison.
T.G. Mouat, Roger Hyatt, Cleveland, O.; J.D. Swartwout, Saginaw, Mich.; N.A.
Middleton. Boston, Mass.; W.H. Raye, South Norwalk, Conn.
The December 1919 issue of the Automotive Manufacturer announced a
planned annual capacity of 30,000 automobile bodies:
"Ohio Body & Blower Co., Cleveland, has disposed of the offering of stock
recently made for the purpose of financing the handling of part of the body
business now being offered it In the Cleveland territory. When plant
extensions now planned are completed, the company will have a capacity of
30,000 automobile bodies per annum."
The "Body Builders" column in the January 1920 Metal Industry
gave more details:
"The Ohio Body & Blower Company will take over three plants from The Ohio
Blower Company. Plant No. 1 is the three-story plant on Perkins avenue,
Cleveland, which served for five years as the exclusive home of the company.
Plant No. 2 is the new plant housing the home offices, on Detroit avenue, on
the West side of the same city. Plant No. 3 is the modern foundry at
Orrville, Ohio, which operates exclusively on Ohio Blower Company work.
These three plants provide employment for more than 600 workers in 150,000
square feet of floor space. Spring will see these figures increased to 1,000
workers and 350,000 square feet of floor space by the completion of another
unit of Plant No. 2, to be devoted to the building of closed bodies."
As did the February 1920 issue of Southern Engineer:
"News of the Industry.
"THE OHIO BODY & BLOWER COMPANY brings to public attention another
chapter in the growth of a progressive concern. The Ohio Blower Company,
from which the new corporation is an outgrowth, has long possessed an
enviable reputation in the steam engineering field. Starting modestly,
almost without capital, in small space in an already-old building in
down-town Cleveland, backed largely by hope and vision, its initial
stock-in-trade with which to enter the national market was the Swartwout
helieo-centrifugal exhaust bead. This cast-iron exhaust head was a pioneer
of its kind. The sole other activity of the new company was the manufacture
and erection of dust-collecting systems. The latter department over the
decade to follow was the wheel-horse of the company and remains today a
considerable factor. The exhaust head proved to be the daddy of a long line
of kindred steam specialties including steam and oil separators, the
hydromatic steam trap, water-level control valves, and feed-water heaters.
"The Ohio Body & Blower Company will take over three plants from the
older company. Plant No. 1 is the three-story plant in Perkins Avenue,
Cleveland, which served for live years as the exclusive home of the company.
Plant No. 2 is the new plant housing the home offices, on Detroit Avenue on
the West Side of the same city. Plant No. 3 is the modern foundry at
Orrville, Ohio, which operates exclusively on Ohio Blower Company work.
These three plants provide employment for 600 workers in 150,000 sq. ft. of
floor space. Spring will see these figures-increased to 1.000 workers and
300,000 sq. ft. of floor space by the completion of another unit of Plant
No. 2, to be devoted to the building of closed bodies. The paid-in capital
of the Ohio Body and Blower Company is approximately three times that of
The Ohio Blower Company and affords ample resources for further expansion in
plant and business. The change will not affect the personnel of the
management in any way. The officers of the older company, Mr. D. K.
Swartwout, president, and Mr. H. H. Lind, vice-president, assume the same
offices in the new corporation and will be backed up in their efforts by the
same corps of able assistants in all departments."
The "Body Builders" column in the February 1920 issue of the Automotive
Manufacturer included more autobody-related information:
"Ohio Body & Blower Co., Cleveland. O., during February will occupy its
new plant and by March 1 the company's body production will be doubled.
Later in the spring it is proposed to commence activities in still another
plant so that by July 1, 1920, the company should reach its scheduled
capacity of 30,000 bodies a year."
The firm's rapid expansion resulted in the purchase of the recently
vacated Cleveland Milling Machine Co. factory at 18511 Euclid Ave.,
Cleveland. The Financial Notes column of the January 2, 1920 Boston Globe
announced the availability of 100,00 shares of Ohio Body & Blower which was
listed under OHIO BODY on the stock exchange:
"The committee on stock listing of the Boston Stock Exchange have
admitted to trading, beginning today, temporary certificates for 100,000
shares capital stock of the Ohio Body & Blower Company, which are
non-assessable and without par value. The local transfer agents will be the
International Trust Company and the local registrars the First National
Coinciding with the 1920 Boston Auto Show, the firm placed a display ad
in the March 17, 1920 Boston Globe:
"Where Fine Cars Gather
"Wherever fine cars assemble there you may inspect examples of individual
art and craftsmanship. Seven motor car manufacturers whose products range in
price from twenty-five hundred to eight thousand dollars are using
Lindividual Motor Bodies in order to match their perfection of motor and
mechanism. The Ohio Body & Blower Co., Cleveland.
"Lindividual Motor Bodies made by the Ohio Body & Blower Co."
March 17, 1920 Boston Globe Business Page:
"Reports from the industry invariably tell of increased business this
being reflected in the delay in making deliveries. Naturally enough,
business in kindred lines such as automobile bodies, is brisk, the
authoritative statement being made that the Companies manufacturing this
important part of the car are tremendously rushed. So insistent is the call
for bodies that it is understood that one of the leading ear producers is
not showing a closed car at the Boston exhibit because of an inability to
fill the orders for closed cars now on the market, for the automobile body
stocks, in keeping with this situation, shows a steady price appreciation.
In New York the purchase of only a few shares of Fisher Body is sufficient
to advance its quotation several points while locally sellers of Ohio Body
and Mullins Body find their offerings absorbed quickly."
July 15, 1921 Oakland Tribune:
"CLEVELAND, July 15.—The Ohio Body and Blower Company, makers of auto
bodies and ventilating systems, report that last week's business was the
best recorded this year. The plant is operating 80 per cent of capacity."
The December 30, 1921 Washington Post financial page mentioned the
quantity of bodies being turned out at that time:
"With the approach of the new year interest in the affairs of some of the
motor accessories companies is accentuated. Most of these corporations have
been unable to obtain releases for 1922 business. This situation now has
changed as automobile manufacturers get a clearer view of the potential
future demand. Recently the Mullins Body Company obtained releases on work
for next year, and it is understood that the Ohio Body Company has obtained
releases which call for the delivery of 25 bodies per day for six months on
one contract. Recent additions to the plant admit of a daily production of
70 bodies, a figure which, it is expected, will be reached before the end of
the 1922 season."
The January 14, 1922 issue of the Syracuse Herald mentioned the firm's
contract with Jordan:
"Motor Body Stocks.
"Ohio Body, Mullins Body, Parish & Bingham and Fisher Body of Ohio,
preferred, all advanced with the motor stocks. Ohio Body makes bodies for
the Jordan Company and is now at work on an order that will keep it busy for
some months to come. Orders coming in will about double its former capacity.
"Mullins Body makes bodies for a number of motor companies and despite a
lockout of several months the company went through last summer will make a
very good report for 1921."
Nathan Atherton Middleton, a Gardner consulting engineer may have been
responsible for the Ohio Blower's close association with the Gardner Motor
Car Co. of St. Louis, Missouri as he served on the board of directors of
both firms during the 1920s. Although Fisher built most of the bodies for
Cleveland's Chandler Motor Co., Manhattan broker and banker James A. Fane
served on the boards of both Chandler and Ohio Body & Blower.
Packard stylist Werner H.A. Gubitz (Werner Hans August Gubitz, b. 1899-d.
1971) worked at Ohio Blower & Body soon after his emigration from Germany.
After a short stint with Cleveland's Peerless, the noted designer and
illustrator took a position with Fleetwood, served under Roland Stickney at
Locomobile, and in 1922 took a positions with J. Frank de Causse. He was
subsequently recruited by LeBaron in 1923, and followed Ray Dietrich to
Detroit where he worked for Dietrich Inc. between 1925 and 1927. He then
went to Packard and eventually became their chief designer in the 1930s.
Noted body engineer George H. Woodfield went to work for the firm in late
1922 after resigning his position at the Milburn Wagon Co. The only non-
Swartwout patent assigned to the firm related to automobile bodies, US
patent number 1,534,814, was issued to William J. Seelinger on April 21,
1925 for a vehicle body, originally filed four years previous - on June 2,
The April 15, 1923 Oakland Tribune announced a new $500,000 contract with
F.B. Stearns, manufacturer of the Stearns-Knight automobile:
"Total of $1,500,000 In Auto Body Order
"The F. B. Stearns Company of Cleveland, O., has placed orders for
automobile bodies involving an expenditure of $1,150,000. One contract was
placed with the Witham Body Company, Amesbury, Mass., amounting to $400,000;
another involves $250,000 and was given to the
Bender Body Company, Cleveland, O., third one involving $500,000was placed
with the Ohio Body & Blower Company, Cleveland, for closed bodies to be
delivered on and after July 1 and bodies for the new Eight: Four."
In 1923 the firm split in two, with Ohio Body & Blower keeping the
Cleveland body-building operations and the recently organized Swartwout Co.
taking charge of the firm's Euclid Ave plant in Cleveland and the
three-year-old Orville, Ohio facility. Industrial Management magazine reported:
"The Ohio Body & Blower Co. has separated its two divisions by the
organization of the Swartwout Co. D.K. Swartwout, who was president of the
former company is now president of the new company. The officers are: W.M.
Pattison and D.K. Swartwout, Jr., vice-presidents, and W.E. Clement,
secretary and treasurer. The Ohio Body & Blower Co. will make automobile
bodies exclusively and the Swartwout Co. will continue the manufacture of
ventilators, core ovens, enameling ovens, etc. The latter company will still
be located at Euclid Ave., Cleveland, Ohio."
From 1924-1926 the Ohio Body Company sold and distributed Master bodies
for Fords which were manufactured in Cleveland by the Ohio Body & Blower Co.
The Cleveland body manufacturer was often referred to as Ohio Body Co. in
the nation's financial pages but was never legally named as such, although
many historians erroneously refer to the firm using that name.
A second unrelated firm, The Ohio Body Manufacturing Co., was a
short-lived Eaton, Ohio body builder formed by Arthur Norris and his son,
E.O. Norris in late 1926. A third unrelated firm, the Ohio Body Company of New London, Ohio,
manufactured truck bodies and trailers from 1946 to 1983.
Master Bodies were advertised in many of the nation's newspapers starting
in mid-1924. The following text is from a display ad that appeared in the June 15, 1924
issue of the Indianapolis Star:
"And it's only $77.50 More than a Ford Sedan
"If you are thinking of buying a Ford Sedan—stop and think of this! You
can buy this beautiful, big, good looking, roomy four-door Sedan for very
little more than a brand new Ford four-door Sedan would cost you.
"Buy a new Ford chassis from us or from any Ford dealer you choose. Bring
it here or to any of the dealers listed and have it equipped with the Master
Sedan Body—built by one of the largest body builders in the world. Or, if
you prefer, you can have a Master Coupe. Liberal Terms—Time Payments if
"With no trouble at all and for slightly more than a Ford Sedan would
cost, you have a beautiful car you will be proud to own and happy to ride
in. The Master Body is a fine, high class body for the dependable Ford
chassis. These bodies are 'custom-built' - they are longer, roomier and give
the car that long, low effect. The seats are wider, lower and deeper and
finely upholstered. Read the specifications. See it! Compare it! Ride in it!
"FORD OWNERS—Bring in your Ford—No matter what model it is and we will
equip it with a new Master Sedan Body and buy your old body from you.
"SPECIFICATIONS - Nickeled Radiator Shell, Sloping Streamline Hood, Sun
Visor, Cowl Ventilator, Ventilating Windshield, Vacuum System, Rear Gasoline Tank and Gauge,
Linoleum Covered Running Boards, Body and Hood painted Matter Blue, Duco Finish.
"MASTER BODIES for Ford Chassis - THE OHIO BODY COMPANY, Manufacturers,
The following classified ad appeared in the December 17, 1924 Chester (PA) Times:
"LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES WANTED
"For Master Bodies, The Only Custom-Built Bodies FOR FORD CARS
"This is worth a good man's attention. Look into this proposition and see
for yourself. It is the best proposition on the market.
"Write for Particulars; OHIO BODY COMPANY, Phila. Branch: 1813 N. Broad
The March 15, 1925 Coshocton (OH) Tribune announced a local firm was
carrying Master Bodies for Fords:
"MASTER BODY FOR THE FORD IS A BEAUTY
"The Ohio Body Company which has been making high class automobile bodies
for years, recently entered into the building of a closed 'Master' body for Fords. These
bodies meet with such a splendid reputation that it was difficult to get
into production rapidly enough to meet the demand. The company now, however,
has made to double their production year and they do not look for any
shortages in deliveries. The Master Sedan or Coupe can be installed on
either the new or old Ford chassis and creates a rather distinctive
appearance. Its lower lines, special hood and radiator shell with the rich
Master Blue Duco finish are first to catch the eye. Upon further inspection such
added comforts as extra wide tilted seats, plenty of head and leg room,
special overlapping windshield to keep out rain and weather, a dome light
and built-on sun visor, are immediately appreciated. Master Bodies are
custom designed and built of 20-gauge steel over selected kiln dried lumber.
They have the Stewart-Warner system and gasoline gauge in the rear and are
so constructed as to eliminate any top heaviness.
"Glenn E. Smith and Clarence Couiter who is in charge of the repair shop
Central Garage, 606 Main st. visited the factory and after inspecting very
thoroughly the way the bodies are made decided to act as distributors for
An article in the October 29, 1926 Hamilton (O.) Daily News announced the
formation of a similarly-named, but unrelated firm:
"Ohio Body Mfg. Co. to Use Auto Plant
"The Ohio Body Manufacturing Co. plans to locate here in the old
Washington Motor car building. It is expected that the plant will begin
operations Nov. 1, Arthur Morris, Dayton, and his son, E. O. Morris,
Richmond Ind., are promoting the enterprise."
Further details were announced the following day in the October 30, 1926 Hamilton Evening Journal:
"NEW INDUSTRY FOR EATON IS PLANNED
"Eaton, Oct. 30.—The Ohio Body Manufacturing Co., makers of bodes for
busses and pleasure cars, will be installed at an early date in the Washington Motor car building near
the county fairgrounds.
"The new manufacturing enterprise will include departments for painting,
blacksmithing, woodworking, metal work, and general automobile work.
"The new firm is headed by Arthur Norris and his son, E.0. Norris. Both
have had experience in similar factories, the former with the Burkett Closed
Body Co., Dayton, and the latter with the Indiana Body Co., Richmond, Ind."
The introduction of the Model A Ford put an abrupt halt to the production
of Ohio Body & Blower's Master bodies and within a few short months the firm
was in receivership. The news was announced in the July 30, 1927 Warren (PA) Morning Mirror:
"RECEIVER FOR OHIO BODY COMPANY
"CLEVELAND — An involuntary petition for a receivership has been filed
and a receiver appointed for the Ohio body Co. which is seeking to liquidate
the company, due to financial difficulties. This method was chosen in order
to enable the company to complete work now on hand which will take between
30 and 60 days and also enable it probably to pay to its creditors a larger
amount on each dollar of indebtedness."
The September 10, 1927 Decatur (IL) Review announced the closure of the
"The plant of the Ohio Body Company will be closed within a week and
liquidation proceedings started says P. A. Connolly, receiver and newly
elected trustee for the company. Assets were listed at $935,753 and
liabilities at $953,398 in the bankruptcy petition."
Within three months the firm's bankruptcy was finalized as reported by
the December 22, 1927 Elyria (Ohio) Chronicle Telegram:
"OHIO CONCERN BANKRUPT
"Cleveland, O., Dec. 22. - A voluntary petition in bankruptcy for the
Ohio Body & Blower Co. Inc., was filed in federal court here Wednesday by
Wm. Chickering, secretary. The petition stated the bankruptcy action was
decided upon at a meeting of the board of directors Nov. 4th. Assets are
listed at $1,512,470 and liabilities at $2,347,018. The greater part of the
unsecured claims are composed of gold debenture bonds amounting to
The April 30, 1928 issue of The Automobile announced the public auction
of what remained of the firm's assets:
"CLEVELAND, April 30— Machinery and equipment of the Ohio Body &
Blower Co. will be sold at public auction May 23. The plant was closed in
July last after two years' operation and the equipment is
declared practically new."
Although they were bankrupt, the firm's Manhattan office at 103 Park Ave.
remained listed in the 1930 edition of the White-Orr Manhattan business
directory. The Swartwout Company
survived the Depression and remains in operation today. Its power plant line
was sold to Republic Flow Meters in 1956 and the remainder of the firm was
acquired by the Crane Co. in January 1960. Today the Swartwout Company
is a subsidiary of Tompkins Industries and is located at 19111 Detroit Rd,
Rocky River, Ohio. The firm's Perkins Ave and Detroit Ave. plants are no
© 2004 Mark Theobald - Coachbuilt.com