The Ideal Electric & Manufacturing Company

The Ideal Electric & Manufacturing Company, of Mansfield, was organized in May, 1903, with C. H. Voegele as president and treasurer; S. Glen Vinson, secretary and general manager; and William Dow, vice president. The remaining directors were: John Krause, M. L. Branyan, John F. Stine, and T. R. Barnes. The company was organized with a very moderate capital, $50,000 authorized, but with $16,500 issued.

The company began the manufacture of direct current motors with elevator motors and electro plating generators as specialties. Most of these motors built in 1903 are still in operation. When the company was first organized in 1903 it was located in frame buildings, previously owned by the Mills Ellsworth Company, at the corner of East Fifth and Elm streets. These buildings soon became inadequate and a brick building was erected on Fifth Street in 1907. The north wing or extension was added in 1914. A second brick building to house the punch press shop was built to the north along the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1917. In the fall of 1919 it was decided that in going into the manufacture of larger apparatus, it would be necessary for the company to build a new plant, suitable for handling this larger equipment. A tract of 26 acres was purchased in the southeast section of the city on Oak street, First Street, and Bowers Avenue. The main building of the new plant was erected in 1920 and the new equipment installed and the plant put in operation the same year. The office, however, was not transferred from the old plant to the new until the second building was erected at the new location in 1923, when the office force was transferred. Portions of the old plant are still being used for storage purposes.

The early history of the Ideal Electric Manufacturing Company is identified with the old Card Electric Company of Mansfield. George F. Card, who was chief engineer and managing director of the Card Electric Company, was originally from Cincinnati, and did considerable research work in the electrical field in the early nineties. In fact, it was Mr. Card who originated the old Triumph Electric Company of Cincinnati, and who designed their first direct current motors. He later organized the Cincinnati Electric Motor & Dynamo Company. While Mr. Card was located in Cincinnati, he conceived the idea of building a direct current street railway motor with a split frame, so that after mounting the motors on the trucks of street cars the car could be run over a pit, the lower half of the motor frame dropped on a hinge arrangement, and the armature and fields easily removed for repair, without the necessity of entirely removing the motor from the car. Mr. Card came to Mansfield in 1894 and interested local capital in the organization of the Card Electric Company to manufacture these street car motors. A few motors were built and installed on cars in the city of Mansfield, which therefore became one of the first towns in which electric street cars were operated.

Mr. Card had filed application for patent on this particular construction of street railway motors, but George Westinghouse set up an interference and the patent was never issued to Mr. Card for this feature, but went to the Westinghouse Company instead. After the loss of this patent Mr. Card was forced to change his plans of manufacture for the company. He decided to manufacture direct current motors and generators; electro plating apparatus, etc. Such a line of apparatus was then developed and the Card Electric Company's new plant was built near the Ohio State Reformatory about 1895. The company continued its work in the development of the new direct current lines adding elevator motors as a specialty.

In January, 1898, S. Glen Vinson came to Mansfield and accepted the position of sales manager of the Card Electric Company. In July of that year the company went into the hands of a receiver, with liabilities of approximately $200,000. In October, Mr. Card was unable to cooperate properly with the receiver and resigned. With his son, John, he left Mansfield and moved to Three Rivers, Mich. When the Cards left Mansfield in 1898, the entire responsibility of the management of the Card Electric Company was assigned to Mr. Vinson. By 1901 the old indebtedness of the Card Electric Company had been liquidated and the business reorganized as the Phoenix Electric Manufacturing Company under a West Virginia charter. Mr. Vinson continued with the Phoenix Electric Manufacturing Company until May, 1903, when he withdrew from the organization and organized The Ideal Electric & Manufacturing Company, with the help and assistance of C. H. Voegele, who became president and treasurer of the company. Mr. Voegele died in August, 1926.

Charles Scheska, of the brass finishing department, Charles Massa, of the assembling department, and Dick Zerbe, of the winding department, are the oldest employes of the Ideal Electric & Manufacturing Company, having been similarly employed by the Card Electric Company when Mr. Vinson came to Mansfield in 1898.

In 1905 the company engaged Justin Lebovici, a young Roumanian engineer, to design a line of induction motors, and it was he who developed the company's first line of squirrel cage and slip ring alternating current motors. In fact he developed the first high torque squirrel cage motors used for elevator service, so that the company is responsible for the development of the first high torque squirrel cage single speed motor for elevator work. These motors were put on the market in the fall of 1906. In 1909 Martin Berthold was engaged as chief engineer and remained with the company until August, 1912, when Harry Bewlay succeeded him. He redesigned the entire line and put it on a more commercial basis. He continued with the company until March 1, 1926, when Theodore Schou, the present chief engineer, was engaged principally with the idea of developing a line of synchronous motors. O. J. Fink is vice president and works manager. F. L. Hanson is vice president and sales manager. O. H. McDaniel is secretary and treasurer, having been with the company for 15 years, working up from cost clerk to his present position of responsibility.

History of North Central Ohio
Embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne,
Medina, Lorin, Huron and Knox Counties
BY: William A. Duff
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1931

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