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The Oster Manufacturing Company

The Oster Manufacturing Company first saw the light of day seven years before the turn of the last century. It was founded by Herman W. Oster with a small group of friends in December, 1893, in a small one room workshop on Superior Avenue in Cleveland. Economic history records this year as a time of depression in America. Founding a company during such times called for courage and faith in the future. This courage and this faith have always characterized Oster, and have been well repaid by the growth and the development of the company since those early days.

There was an initial period of slow but steady progress. In 1898, Russel B. Tewksbury joined forces with Herman Oster and served as President until 1937 when he became Chairman of the Board. Together the two men established a firm policy of high quality production based on pride in good work.

Herman Oster and Russel Tewksbury

Throughout their long association together this was the motivating spirit of The Oster Manufacturing Co. The company grew and prospered under the leadership provided by these two men who combined engineering, financial and administrative talents.

As time went on the name Oster and its reputation for delivering customer satisfaction became known more and more widely throughout this country and the entire world. It is interesting that Oster was one of the first Cleveland firms to stress the importance of export business. Tewksbury early in this centruy, before most companies were aware of this export market, agessively pursued this foreign potential and molded Oster into an international company. Through Tewksbury's imaginative leadership, Oster became a familiar name from Iceland to South Africa.

The Original Oster Factory and Water Tower in Cleveland

The small first shop was soon outgrown. Continuous, carefully planned expansion of the Oster facilities was created by the ever-growing domestic and export demands. Oster growth was steady. New products were being developed to create "the most complete line of Power Pipe and Bolt Threading Equipment". In keeping with this pledge Oster has an impressive list of industry firsts.

  • First Power Drive
  • First Wrenchless Chuck
  • First Through the die head oiling system
  • First Rubber bonded chuck jaw inserts to give a "wrenching" action
  • First to cut threads from 2 1/2" to 8" diameter with one set of dies
  • First Nipple Chuck
  • First Automatic Opening Die Heads to stop threading at proper length
  • First Fast, safe ratchet chain hold down for abrasive saws

In 1929 a merger was made with the Williams Tool Corporation of Erie, Pennsylvania. This made possible the rounding out of the line of pipe and bolt threading equipment by the addition of heavy duty products. Succeeding his father, Roger Tewksbury became President and Treasurer of Oster in 1937. Under his guidance, the company continued to grow healthily and steadily. In 1943, the facilities of the Erie plant were consolidated with the Cleveland factory and the equipment which was not suitable to the combined operation was sold together with the Erie plant itself.

The Original Oster Factory and the Williams Factory after the merge.
A woman operating a threading machine during World War II

During World War II the company was 100% engaged in war production both directly for the Armed Services and indirectly for other manufactureres of war equipment and supplies. In addition to the regular line of pipe and bolt threading equipment, the turret lathe was added to supplement the war effort. Since Oster products are of the essential type, the company had no problems of conversion in reverting to peacetime production, and Oster further extended its reputation for products which consistently deliver the highest degree of customer satisfaction.

Through the Fifties and Sixties, Oster progress continued. Facilities at the Cleveland plant site were being expanded until 1955 when Oster moved to new headquarters in Wickliffe, Ohio; a Cleveland suburb. In 1968 the company was acquired by Teledyne Incorporated and became Teledyne Oster. Through the Seventies and Eighties Oster had reached the height of its growth and fell upon hard times as part of a corporate entity. In 1988 the Wickliffe plant was closed and all sales & manufacturing was moved to Landis Threading Systems in Waynesboro, PA.

In 1997 Superior Threading Inc. purchased the Machine and Die Head divisions of The Oster Manufacturing Company from Landis Threading Systems a division of the then Allegheny /Teledyne Corporation. All fixtures, Blueprints and Patterns were moved to Owosso, Michigan. The current owner is a former Oster employee and has been afiliated with the Oster company since 1983. Oster parts and products are the only items we manufacture and we hope to restore the product focus and spirit of high quality production based on pride in good work espoused by Herman W. Oster himself.