Finding aid for the Towmotor Corporation Records

Repository: Western Reserve Historical Society
Creator: Towmotor Corporation
Title: Towmotor Corporation Records
Dates: 1915-1977
Extent: 3.20 linear feet (4 containers)
Abstract: Towmotor Corporation was a Cleveland, Ohio-based company founded by Lester M. Sears in 1919 which produced industrial tractors and fork lifts. His father, F.W. Sears, became co-partner, retaining that position until his death in 1934. The first Towmotor plant was located on Bliss Road in Euclid, a suburb of Cleveland. The plant later moved to 1226 East 152nd Street and then to 16100 Euclid Avenue. Small tractors were produced for the first 14 years, and in 1933, Lester Sears produced the first gasoline-powered fork lift. Towmotor continued to grow during World War II and during the 1950s and 1960s, acquiring Gerlinger Company of Dallas, Oregon in 1956, and began international distribution. In 1963, the company acquired Ohio Gear. Also in 1963, Towmotor merged with Caterpillar Tractor Company of Peoria, Ill. By the 1970s, the Towmotor name was dropped from vehicles. After a 1983 strike over cheaper labor costs in Korea, the Towmotor plant was closed in 1985. The collection consists of administrative, legal and financial records, correspondence, manuals, publications, advertisements, memorabilia and newspaper clippings relating largely to the formation, organization, and functioning of Towmotor Corporation, particularly during the 1920s and 1940s. In addition to the business records of the company, the collection includes valuable information pertaining to technological advancements in the material handling industry and personal material relating to Lester M. Sears, Mary Ann Swetland, and other Sears family members.
MS Number MS 4593
Location: closed stacks
Language: The records are in English