Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Thew Shovel Ad – July 17, 1949

Here's a reminder of the good old days when Lorain was truly an industrial giant, and its name was known all around the world thanks to Thew Shovel. It's an ad commemorating the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of the company, and it ran in the Lorain Journal on July 17, 1949 – 64 years ago today.

The ad gives a nice snapshot history of the company.

Our Town – The Story of Lorain (July 1953) included a few paragraphs about the company and the man behind it. It noted, "Another industry responsible for Lorain's tremendous growth in the last ten years of the Nineteenth Century was the Thew Shovel Company. The inventor of the first successful commercial shovel was Captain Richard Thew. Captain Thew was a lake captain and he got the idea of the full revolving shovel while he was sailing. He gave up sailing and settled in Cleveland. The shovels were manufactured there from 1892 to 1899. In that year the company was moved to Lorain and became the Thew Automatic Shovel Company."

Part of the former Thew complex on W. 28th Street today
"Captain Thew took an active interest in community life in Lorain. He was active on many committees and boards in the city. He helped establish and was the first president of the Lorain Banking Company. After he sold the controlling interest in the company in 1920, he divided his time between Lorain and California. In 1923, while out in California, he contracted pneumonia and died. His body was returned to Lorain for burial. It rests in the Thew Mausoleum in Elmwood Cemetery."

The Thew Shovel Company was purchased by the Koehring Company in 1964. The facility closed in 1974.

In 1987 Koehring was acquired by Northwest Engineering, which later changed its name to Terex.

Today the former Thew complex is home to P. C. Campana.

Here's a link to an excellent article about Thew Shovel on the Construction Equipment® website.

Greg Holcomb – who is a regular reader of this blog – found this old Thew-Lorain envelope while assisting his mother with the cleaning of his grandmother's house a few months ago. (She had passed away and I extend my belated condolences.)

Greg's grandfather had worked at Thew, and the envelope was in a pile of old paper work. Greg figured the envelope was at the very least 37 years old. Thanks for sharing, Greg!


Ken said...

I remember as a kid seeing in the Journal pictures of Thew equipment around the world in exotic places. When I first moved to Houston in 1993, with all the (constant) construction on the freeways, I still saw heavy equipment with the huge LORAIN lettered on them, and felt a thrill of pride. As the years went by, more and more likely to see KOMATSU.

Drew Penfield said...

Look up "Thew shovel" on YouTube to see videos of restored ones in action. Very cool to see.