Baldwin Corporate Remains

Discussion related to Baldwin Locomotive Works, Lima Locomotive Works, Lima-Hamilton Corporation, and Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton.

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Baldwin Corporate Remains

Postby Tadman » Sat Aug 12, 2006 1:29 pm

What happened to BLW after they quit making locomotives? I've gathered they were part-owned by Westinghouse after 1948, but that's about it.

Also, did they go into other business afterward, such as PC going into insurance or Alco becoming part of Studebaker-Worthington.
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Postby GOLDEN-ARM » Sat Aug 12, 2006 2:39 pm

Again, the GURU of Eddystone, is summoned. The ALL knowing, ALL powerful Hank Rentschler, is called upon.................. :-D
HE is the authority, on Baldwins last few decades. Ask, and ye shall receive................(please, Hank!!!)
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Postby conrail_engineer » Sat Aug 12, 2006 5:43 pm

BLH became in time a unit of Michigan-based Clark Equipment...the focus was on construction shovels and other unglamorous offerings.

My knowledge comes from the Lima end, as I live not that far from Lima and the remains of the Lima Works have been an ongoing concern since Clark abandoned them in the late 1970s.

What of Baldwin? Who knows?
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Postby hankadam » Sun Aug 13, 2006 1:32 pm

PART 1 - - - Thank goodness my "sponsor" has increased my pay so that I now get $1.00/reply plus all the water I can drink. Oh my - - - our readers, in one-liners, have asked some complicated questions, and would take many pages to reply, but I will try to condense over 100 years of history, in Part 2. STAY TUNED. But in the meantime I want to list some books, and a great link - - - the first is THE BALDWIN DIESEL ZONE - - - this can be found with GOOGLE and Mark Laundry has done a terrific job of assembling photos, history, and current information. Second, IF one can find a copy (very rare) refer to John Kirkland's THE DIESEL BUILDERS - VOLUME THREE (Baldwin Locomotive Works) which he brings all the way up to the 1990's and the demise of the Baldwin-Hamilton Company (supplier of renewal parts until the very end). Kirkland writes in a narrative style, with incredible detail based on his 50 years of direct association with BLW, BLH, later later BH. It is the definitive history. The other two are still in print (the LIMA book was recently reissued, and the BALDWIN book has had seven printings). THE BALDWIN LOCOMOTIVE WORKS 1831 - 1915 by John K. Brown, and LIMA THE HISTORY by Eric Hirsimaki. Both are classics explaining the great success of these pioneer Companies, and decline. Lots of fun. Part 2 follows - - - All the best, Hank R.
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Postby hankadam » Sun Aug 13, 2006 2:37 pm

Part 2 - - - BLW became BLH in 1950. Many Product Lines still exist, (check Google) but the Corporation is totally gone (more about Westinghouse later). And for LIMA and CLARK EQUIPMENT, this was addressed earlier (scroll down to LIMA FACTORY, July, 2005). So here goes with a condensed history - - - BLW sold 500.000 shares of common stock to Westinghouse (WEST) in 1948, giving WEST about 22% ownership and effective control, and helped insure the continuation of WEST's electrics and traction motors in BLW diesels. The control was cut in half with the LH merger in 1950, and no further purpose was served by WEST's minority control so BLH reacquired these shares in May, 1954. But for Eddystone the "handwriting was on the wall." It became increasingly inefficient, and "retreat" was the order of the day. All locomotive production ended by 1955/56 and sale of acreage started. Then the weakened Company (weak in manufacturing but a pristine Balance Sheet) became involved in several corporate takeovers. These all resulted in gains for the shareholders, but did nothing to stem the decline of manufacturing capability not only at Eddystone, but also at Lima and Austin-Western. Armour (yes, the meat packers) obtained control in July, 1965, and in turn they were gobbled up by Greyhound (yes, the bus line) in 1970. Greyhound wanted Armour's Dial soap, but not the heavy manufacturing of BLH and immediately started selling plants, product lines and other assets. That is when Clark bought LIMA and AW for their earth-moving equipment. Eddystone was so big and complicated that it was sold piecemeal. One of the first parts to go was the very profitable renewal parts business (diesel parts, along with heat exchangers and hydraulic and mechanical presses) later named the Baldwin-Hamilton Company. I was privileged to manage that neat business until we were closed in 1991 (prematurely, in my opinion). The liquidation of Eddystone took the better part of two years, but all sales resulted in big $$$. Many product lines thrived when removed from the constraints of the huge, but aging factory (as did BH in a more favorable environment). Kirkland states that "... $312 million was raised from these sources." Since Armour (and BLH, etc.) "only" cost about $400 million Greyhound had a huge cash infusion retaining the very profitable soap, and meat lines. Greyhound has since been liquidated, by spinning off most everything, all to the great advantage of the shareholders. In these days of corporate scandals it is nice to recall how the demise of BLW, BLH, and others, while painful, was accomplished in a CLASSY fashion and financial rewards. Even many employees, while out of a job, could claim pensions and termination pay, far different from the suffering steel companies, airlines, etc. End of story - - -
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Postby hankadam » Sun Aug 13, 2006 2:55 pm

OUCH - - - E-Bay has one Kirkland book listed "Dawn of the Diesel Age" but does not list which volume (# 3 was BLW, but others were LH, FM and ALCO). Price is "only" $595.04. No description of condition, or whatever. Buyer beware!
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Postby GOLDEN-ARM » Sun Aug 13, 2006 9:52 pm

Thank You, Hank, for that very interesting insight, into the loss of the Builder. Kudos, again!!! :-D
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Postby Tadman » Mon Aug 14, 2006 4:11 pm

Yeah, excellent details! Thanks for the update.

For those keeping score, Clark Equipment was just over the border from my hometown in South Bend, IN (Buchanan, MI) and they left quite a while back for the south, and the far east. The current state of the Clark factory is a rusting crumbling hulk, except for Clark Engineering, an unrelated durability lab in on of the buildings. Further, the other big Clark plant is in Aurora, on CB&Q just past Enola yard. It has been turned into an incubator, but I was not allowed in to see it. From what I hear, most of Lima has been bulldozed recently.

A few more questions:
1. Is any of eddystone still standing? If so, how old are these portions?
2. Where was the BH replacement/spares biz located?

Thanks for your help, folks. I'm not writing a book, just very curiuos about the corporate history of great american companies.
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Postby conrail_engineer » Tue Aug 15, 2006 12:55 am

hankadam wrote: In these days of corporate scandals it is nice to recall how the demise of BLW, BLH, and others, while painful, was accomplished in a CLASSY fashion and financial rewards. Even many employees, while out of a job, could claim pensions and termination pay, far different from the suffering steel companies, airlines, etc. End of story - - -


It's off-topic...but the "good-old days" weren't always so good. BLH and Greyhound may have liquidated in an orderly, renumerative fashion...but automaker Studebaker simply shuttered its American (and later Canadian) plants, ending some profitable offerings, and abruptly terminating the pensions of thousands of retirees.

There is nothing new under the sun...
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Postby hankadam » Tue Aug 15, 2006 8:30 am

I can provide more details, and will do so, with the request that any "locals" check out the Lima site. TRAINS had an article some years ago showing how all the Works was demolished after a failed attempt to turn it into an Industrial Park. Was the power plant ever built on the South side? Now then, the former BLH President came from Aurora, IL where he owned the Austin-Western Company, brought into BLH shortly after the LH merger. He was the largest single shareholder in BLH and owned a huge estate to the west of here in Glenmoore, PA. Just died a few years ago, and is buried at the Episcopal Church near Honeybrook, PA. The Aurora factory was limited in size and immediately after the BLH acquisition the WESTERN dump car business was moved to Eddystone, where it thrived. Jess Mossgrove, from AW did a great job, and BH ended up with the drawings, and surviving business. Renewal parts were terrific, especially from Southern Peru Copper, Magma Copper, and GECAMINES in what was ZAIRE. Also we licensed the business to several established car builders, and it thrived again with new and modernized designs, using our basic drawings. Now to Eddystone - - - the beautiful office building remains, and completely redone, with all new elevators, HVAC, and sealed bronze windows, fully occupied. All the factories are gone (replaced by McDonalds and WalMart) except for one long, relatively small building along the RR tracks between Philadelphia, Wilminton, DE and points South, and it was occupied by Frank Hake and Co., experts in very heavy hauling. I haven't stopped by there for years = too many ghosts. The Renewal Parts Business (Baldwin-Hamilton Company) first settled at the East end of Wilmington, DE, East 7th Street, next to the Old Swedes Church, in the shadow of the same RR tracks mentioned earlier, just north of the passenger station. The building still exists, although I had our very visible sign painted over when we left in 1975. BH then moved into new office space on Rte. #29 (Malvern, PA post-office) which we shared with the much larger division of Ecolaire, Incorporated, Allen-Sherman-Hoff (ASH), along with a beautiful new warehouse and light manufacturing, again to the West, at Honeybrook, PA. BH was there until the end (September, 1991) when we ceased accepting orders, of any kind, after a going-out-of-business sale that took 8/10 months to conclude. I am not aware of any legitimate parts available today, but hear of an active program in parts salvaged from the remaining BLH diesels. All of our drawings, and records were donated to various Museums, where they reside today. Take care, Hank
Henry A. Rentschler
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Postby hankadam » Tue Aug 15, 2006 8:34 am

PS - - - I did not name the former BLH President = he was McClure Kelley, well over 90 years old, when he passed away.
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Postby Tadman » Tue Aug 15, 2006 10:26 am

So is that old Aurora plant actually from Austin/Western, and not Clark? It's visible from google maps, look for Eola, IL, then scan west along the tracks to Farnsworth Road. Switch to map/satellite hybrid, and its in the SE corner of the overpass/tracks junction. I thought it was Clark because some old-timer around there told me it was, I really have no proof.
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Postby hankadam » Tue Aug 15, 2006 10:49 am

Yes, the AW plant, partly, goes back to the late 1800's. McClure Kelley merged the Western Wheeled Scraper Company, and the Austin Manufacturing Company, (perhaps in the '30's ?) and the first name of the Company was Western-Austin Company (try saying that 10 times in rapid succession) Sensibly they reversed the order. Western dump cars were all over the Panama Canal, and other huge construction projects, worldwide for decades. They were the most convenient way to move large quantities of material in the many years before these giant rubber-tired trucks. (Of course the trucks are far more mobile since they are not dependent on RR tracks). AW later pioneered hydraulic cranes, but management (Charlie Lippincott, a "bean-counter") cut R & D so GROVE and others took the lead, and AW succumbed. Clark is a "Johnny-come-lately" but didn't do much for either AW or LIMA. Too bad. Now then, I'm going on vacation for a couple of weeks, so please hold further questions. All the best, Hank R.
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Postby GOLDEN-ARM » Tue Aug 15, 2006 4:19 pm

For those not "in the know" Henry was the last president, of Baldwin Hamilton. His knowledge come from the first hand experience, gained through years of work, in the company. Thanks again, Hank!!!
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Postby hankadam » Sat Sep 16, 2006 5:35 pm

DEFINITIVE DATE: The AW Plant, mentioned earlier was first put in place by the WESTERN WHEELED SCRAPER COMPANY, Aurora, Illinois, in 1877. By the early 1900's the plant covered 48 acres - 500,000 square feet under roof. (Source = General Catalogue No. 60). Take care, Hank Rentschler.
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