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Manufacturers Index - R. K. LeBlond Machine Tool Co.

R. K. LeBlond Machine Tool Co.
Cincinnati, OH, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Metal Working Machinery

History
Last Modified: Apr 3 2020 7:59PM by Jeff_Joslin
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

Richard K. Le Blond was a machinist who had worked for five years at Lodge & Davis Machine Tool Co., when in about 1880 he left that business to open his own shop at 168 Vine St. in Cincinnati. Under the name R. K. Le Blond he produced small tools, gear-making machinery, special machinery, and—though the evidence for this remains somewhat thin—engine lathes and gauge lathes. By 1890 Robert A. Le Blond was a junior partner and the business was operating as R. K. Le Blond & Co.

In about 1894, Robert left the business to become a law student, and instead R. K. Le Blond partnered with local machinist and lathe designer Nicholas D. Chard. The two operated as Le Blond & Chard. Only a year later, though, the business name was back to R. K. Le Blond again; Chard, meanwhile, went on to co-found turret lathe manufacturer Barker & Chard Machine Tool Co.

In 1898 Le Blond's shop moved to 4609 to 4621 Eastern Av.; in 1899 the business became R. K. LeBlond Machine Co. The firm started making milling machines in 1900. Around this time the company was gaining a reputation for their lathes. World War I created a tremendous boom in demand for engine lathes; the end of the war led to a protracted depression in the machine tool business. The LeBlond company weathered this depression and emerged as one of the leading makers of mid-sized engine lathes, and a preferred supplier to the US Government. In 1931 they introduced their "Regal" line of lathes which were lighter and more affordable. World War II saw a tremendous number of LeBlond lathes manufactured to satisfy both domestic and overseas demand. The US military left many of those machines behind

In 1981 the company merged with Japanese machine tool maker Makino Milling Machine Co., the new entity being LeBlond Makino Machine Tool Co. In 1997 the name became Makino Milling Machine Co., Ltd., and the following year a subsidiary was formed to provide parts and service for the older LeBlond machines, LeBlond Lathe Ltd.


From the 1907 book, "Modern American Machine Tools"

Information Sources

  • American Lathe Builders: 1810-1910 by Kenneth L. Cope, 2001 page 89
  • Tony Griffiths' page on LeBlond
  • Ad in 1886 Williams' Cincinnati Directory: "R. K. LeBlond, Manufacturer of fine tools & machinery (gives address as SE corner of Second and Plum Streets)."
  • 1890 Williams' Cincinnati Directory lists "LeBlond R. K. & Co. (R. K. LeB. & Robt. A. LeBlond), Manufacturers of Fine Tools & Machinery, 191 W. 2nd, s.e.c. Plum". The same listing appeared in the 1891, '92 and '93 directories.
  • 1894 Williams' Cincinnati Directory: "Le Blond & Chard, (R. K. Le B. & N. D. C.) Machinists; Manufacturers of Machine Tools, Gear Cutting and Special Machinery, s.e.c. 2d and Plum"; they are listed under Dies, Machinery, Special Machinery, Machinists, Model Makers, Printers' Machinery, and Tool Manufs.
  • 1895 Williams' Cincinnati Directory: "Le Blond R. K., Machinist; Manufacturer of Machine Tools, Gear Cutting and Special Machinery, s.e.c. 2d and Plum". The same listing appears in '96 and '97.
  • 1898 Williams' Cincinnati Directory: the address has changed to "4609 to 4621 Eastern Av."
  • 1899 Williams' Cincinnati Directory: "Le Blond The R. K. Machine Tool Co. R. K. LeBlond, President; John J. Hay, Secretary and Treasurer; Machinists; Manufacturers of Machine Tools, Gear Cutting and Special Machinery, 4609 to 4621 Eastern Av." Same in 1900, '01.
  • 1902 Williams' Cincinnati Directory: the Secretary/Treasurer has become George F. Pritchard, and F. E. Le Blond is Manager. The listings in 1903 is the same as '02.
  • 1903 Williams' Cincinnati Directory: J. A. LeBlond is added as Vice President; the rest of the listing remains unchanged from 1902/03. The 1904 and '05 listings are unchanged from 1903.
  • 1906 Williams' Cincinnati Directory remains unchanged, viz.: "Le Blond The R. K. Machine Tool Co., R. K. LeBlond, President; J. A. LeBlond, Vice President; Geo. T. Pritchard, Secretary and Treasurer; F. E. LeBlond, Manager; Machinists; Manufacturers of Machine Tools, Gear Cutting and Special Machinery, 4601 to 4621 Eastern Av.; Telephone Ease 253". The 1907 '08, '09 listings are identical.
  • 1910 Williams' Cincinnati Directory: "Le Blond The R. K. Machine Tool Co., R. K. LeBlond, President; J. A. LeBlond, Vice President; Edward G. Schultz, Secretary and Treasurer; F. E. LeBlond, Manager; Machinists; Manufacturers of Machine Tools, Gear Cutting and Special Machinery, 4601 to 4621 Eastern Av.; Telephone Ease 253". The 1911, '12, '13, '14, '15, '16 listings are unchanged.