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Manufacturers Index - Osterheld & Eickemeyer

Osterheld & Eickemeyer
Yonkers, NY, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Steam and Gas Engines

History
Last Modified: Oct 18 2010 9:34PM by Jeff_Joslin
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The principals of this obscure partnership were George Osterheld and Rudolf E. Eickemeyer. They are known to have been in business 1864-1892, and possibly extended earlier than that. They manufactured patented hat-making machinery, a steam-engine governor, and they also made an unusual copy lathe that used 4 rat-tail cutters. In their later existence they were an important early manufacturer of electric motors; as a result of their electrical expertise they were acquired by General Electric in 1892.

An 1864 directory of Westchester County lists this firm as machinists in Yonkers, with an address of "Chicken Island". This firm was listed as "machinists" in the 1870 and 1872 issues of "Boyd's Business Directory of New York State".

An article in the 11 May 1867 issue of Scientific American features "Eickemeyer's improved governor for marine and stationary engines", and mentions that it is manufactured by Osterheld & Eickemeyer.

By the late 1880s, Osterheld seems to have been inactive in the company, although his name still appeared over the door. Eickemeyer's son, Rudolf Jr., is listed as co-signer of papers incorporating related businesses. Rudolf Jr. later became well known in his own right, as a photographer.

Osterheld & Eickemeyer made important contributions to the development of electric motors. In 1889 they had started to manufacture electric motors, and hired one Charles Steinmetz, who had just emigrated from Germany. While working for Osterheld & Eickemeyer, Steinmetz developed his famous "law of hysteresis". General Electric bought Osterheld & Eickemeyer in 1892, and Steinmetz stayed on with the new owners.