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Ohio Body & Blower Co.
Ohio Blower Company, 1901-1919; Ohio Body & Blower Co., 1919-1928; Ohio Body Co. (sales only), 1924-1926
Associated Builders
Swartwout Specialty Division, Ohio Body & Blower Co.; Swartwout Co.

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 1920s.

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 Productions

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 Manufacturer

"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 benefit.

"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 $900,000.

"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 problem:

"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 following article/advertisement:

"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 firm:

"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:

"Swartwout Separators.

"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 success:

"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, as follows:

"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, Sec."

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 Bank."

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, 1921.

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 Desired.

"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, Cleveland, Ohio"

The following classified ad appeared in the December 17, 1924 Chester (PA) Times:


"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 Street, Philadelphia"

The March 15, 1925 Coshocton (OH) Tribune announced a local firm was carrying Master Bodies for Fords:


"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 Coshocton County"

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:


"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:


"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 plant:

"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:


"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 $2,315,200."

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 longer standing.

© 2004 Mark Theobald -







The Book of Clevelanders, A Biographical Dictionary of Living Men of the City of Cleveland, Burrows Book Company, pub. 1914

Moodys Manual of Railroads and Corporation Securities, 1922 edition

Swartwout Metal Buildings 28pp catalog, pub 1922

Swartwout Industrial Ovens 24pp catalog, pub 1922

Ohio Blower & Body Power Plant Equipment 36 pp catalog, pub 1922

Beverly Rae Kimes - Packard: A History of the Motorcar and Company

Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark Jr. - Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942

Hugo Pfau - The Coachbult Packard

George H. Dammann - 90 Years of Ford

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