Cleveland Gear was founded in 1912 as Cleveland Worm & Gear by F.M. Gregg, C.J. Fitzpatrick and David Fitzpatrick, the latter of whom brought his knowledge of worm gear design and production technology to the United States from his native England. In the first year of operation, Cleveland Worm & Gear produced 2,000 sets of gears with 20 employees. In just six years, the company reportedly employed 300 individuals and produced 80,000 worm gearsets for automotive applications. It also introduced the first standard worm gear speed reducers, earning recognition by the AGMA who established their design as standard for the industry. In 1920, David Fitzpatrick received U.S. patents for material design concepts and production tooling and machinery that remain relevant today.
The company continues to be the innovator of many worm gearing, and enclosed drive designs. Throughout its history, these innovations have included the first worm gear speed reducer designed specifically to handle high over-hung loads; the first box-type housing, which increased heat dissipation during operation; the CU unit, designed specifically for driving induced-draft cooling tower fans; the Speedaire line of fan-cooled worm gear speed reducers that set a new standard of worm gear performance by increasing the unit's thermal horsepower capacity while reducing its overall size; the Cleveland M series Modular speed reducers, expanding Cleveland's product range down to 1.33" CD; and the introduction of Cleveland Custom Parallel Shaft Reducers.
Cleveland has been recognized for its involvement with the U.S. Military. In 1943, 1944, and 1945, Cleveland Worm & Gear was awarded the Army-Navy "E" Award for distinguished service to the World War II war effort for supplying worm gearing and worm gear drives for ships, airplanes and other war-related vehicles and machinery. In 2006, Cleveland Gear employees were called upon to supply a custom gear for the U.S. Navy's USS Essex (LHD 2), based in Yokosuka, Japan. They machined and shipped the gear to Japan in less than 72 hours.
Cleveland Gear continued manufacturing its product offerings at the E. 80th Street plant through two acquisitions. In 1959, Cleveland Worm & Gear was acquired by Eaton Axle & Spring (later called Eaton Yale & Towne and, today, Eaton Corp.). The company was then known as the Industrial Drives Division of Eaton Axle & Spring until its acquisition in 1980 by Vesper Corporation of Brecksville, Ohio, now called The Industrial Manufacturing Company.
Cleveland Gear Co., celebrating 100 years of operation, manufactures worm gearing, speed reducers, standard and custom drives and speed variators for a variety of industries, including Construction Equipment, Steel Production and Processing, and Oil and Gas Exploration and Production. Boasting an inventory of more than 10,000 hobs and master worms, the company is capable of accurately duplicating virtually every worm and gear manufactured by Cleveland Gear over the past 100 years.