An Ohio charter was granted in 1938 for the formation of Lewis Welding and Engineering Corporation. J. T. Lewis, Jr. had been assistant works manager of the Cleveland Crane and Engineering Company. He became president of the new company which carried his name, locating first on Addison Road in Cleveland in December 1938. The first shipment from this location was made in February 1939.
Many welding shops were in existence at the time in the Cleveland area. The intent of Lewis Welding was to provide welding design for customers as well as welding itself. Thus, the company combined manufacturing and engineering talent.
The move to Bedford took place in October 1940. The company employed 28 people at the time of the move. By December 1940 there were 39 people at the company. A former McMyler-Interstate building was used in Bedford for offices and manufacturing.
Rapid growth took place during World War II. By 1945 Lewis Welding employed 180 people, and was recognized for excellence when it received the Army-Navy “E” Award in August 1945 for its production efforts during the war.
By the summer of 1948 Lewis Welding had employees. In the same year, on December 4, hosted an Open House, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. become one of the major employers in Bedford grown to 280 1948 the company Lewis Welding had at the time.
A major expansion took place in 1950 with the purchase of a large machine shop in Euclid, Ohio. A Machine Division was established in Euclid, and operations in Bedford became the Welding Division. Total employment in 1952 was 600.
The latest item in the Bedford Historical Society’s Lewis Welding collection is a letter from the company, dated June 5, 1953, indicating donations to the Bedford Library. These are now located in the Bedford Museum.
Written by R.W.Bell