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Manufacturers Index - Gleason Works
Last Modified: Nov 4 2017 6:09PM by joelr4
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1890 Gleason Works Factory View, Brown's Race
1950 Gleason Works Factory View, 1,000 University Avenue

      In 1865, William Gleason, president of Rochester machine-tool maker Kidd Iron Works, acquired that firm and operated it as Connell, Gleason & Graham. In 1888, the Genesee Foundry Co. was organized and in 1890 so was the Gleason Tool Co. In 1903 they were combined and became the Gleason Works. They continue to use the name Gleason Works, which is now a subsidiary of Gleason Corporation.

      From the time he assumed control of the Kidd Iron Works, Gleason’s focus was on gear cutting machines. He inherited a product lineup that included engine lathes, planers, and drilling machines. In 1900 the lathe and planer product lines were sold to the Pittsburg Machine Tool Co. The company's focus remains on machinery for manufacturing gears.

      Rochester has many elaborately equipped workshops and manufactories, but none so extensive in this special line of production, as that of Mr. William Gleason, whose facilities surpass those of any other house of the kind in the city. These machine works were founded in 1836 and for many years were known as the Kidd Iron Works. After several changes in the firm, it passed into the hands of Mr. Gleason in 1874.

      The works consist of a three-story building 70x160 feet in dimensions with a foundry in the rear, 60x85 which is fitted up with all modern machinery necessary for the manufacture of laths, planers, upright drills, boring machines, gear-dressing machines and general machinists' tools, the chief specialties of the house being iron planers and lathes and Gleason's patent gear-dressing machines, which enjoy an unquestioned reputation for durability, strength and efficiency.

      The trade of this house extends throughout the United States, and the products are also exported to foreign countries. This extensive establishment is a feature through which the manufacturing industries of Rochester are greatly enhanced and which has been largely instrumental in building up the city's name as a producing center for improved and reliable machinery.

From 1876 Rochester City Directory

Information Sources

  • Kenneth Cope's American Lathe Builders 1810-1910, 2001, page 67
  • Gleason's website has history information, both on the parent company and their subsidiaries.
  • Industrial Advance of Rochester 1884, pg. 152
  • The Gleason Works, 1865-1950, 1950, pg. 9