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Manufacturers Index - Lane & Bodley

Lane & Bodley
Cincinnati, OH, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Steam and Gas Engines

Last Modified: Dec 21 2018 1:03PM by joelr4
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The Lane & Bodley factory, from the 1879 Cincinnati Illustrated
1875 Factory View

This firm was established by Philander P. Lane in 1850, as a small machine shop operating under the owner's name. In 1852 he was joined by Joseph T. Bodley and the name became Lane & Bodley, with Lane running the office and Bodley in charge of the shop. In 1853 they moved from their original location on Pearl Street to a five-building complex at the corner of John and Water Streets, which they shared with another manufacturer, Reynolds & Kite. They bought out Reynolds & Kite in 1858. Bodley died in 1868, just as the business was expanding in the aftermath of the Civil War. The company incorporated as the Lane & Bodley Co. in 1876. Lane died in 1889, having retired some years previous. By that time, the business was run by his son, Henry M. Lane.

Throughout its history the firm made wood-working machinery and steam engines. Their woodworking machinery line included large planers and circular saws, flooring machines, surfacers, and sash molders. Sawmill equipment was a specialty. In 1874 they developed a line of hydraulic elevators that sold well for the next twenty years or so.

The business suffered a devastating fire in December of 1900. They were involved in 1901 merger negotiations to create an "American Steam Engine Co.", but that effort did not amount to anything. They built new facilities at Paddock and Tennessee streets, where they continued to operate until 1920. In 1901 and 1905 they introduced improved steam engine designs. After 1905 the company's fortunes appear to have headed downhill, and other than directory listings we find little evidence that they were still in business. In 1921, their address was the same as Henry Lane's home address. Lane died in 1929, age 75, in a fire at the Cleveland Clinic where he was receiving treatment.

Information Sources

  • American Steam Engine Builders: 1800-1900 by Kenneth L. Cope, 2006 page 138
  • Steam Power on the American Farm by Reynold M. Wik, 1953 page 252
  • Sketches and statistics of Cincinnati in 1859By Charles Cist, pages 302-303
  • Carriage and Wagon Makers Machinery and Tools by Kenneth L. Cope, 2004 page 129
  • Transactions of the American Institute for the year 1856, including that year's Fair of the American Institute: Lane & Bodley, Cincinnati, Ohio, for the best morticing and boring machine. (A silver medal having been before awarded.) Diploma.
  • Ads in 1857 and 1866 Scientific American.
  • 1872 mention and 1879 article in Manufacturer & Builder.
  • Listing in the 1874 work, Wiley's American Iron Trade Manual of the Leading Iron Industries of the United States: "Portable and stationary engines, circular saw-mills, wood-working machinery, etc. Corner of John and Water Streets."
  • Listed in a work published by the United States Centennial commission, Official Catalog of the 1876 International Exhibition, as a maker of power mortising machines and sawmills.
  • From Reports and awards for the Centennial Exhibition, 1876: "The Lane & Bodley Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, U. S. PORTABLE CIRCULAR SAW MILL. Commended for sound construction and good design of a circular saw mill, with quick return of the carriage, rapid cutting, and with the log clearing the saw on return motion."
  • 1882 ad: "The Lane & Bodley Co's No. 1 Plantation Saw Mill. / Solid Iron Frame, Wrought Iron Independent Screw Head Blocks, Driven Dogs and Friction Feed. / Can be Run Successfully with 10 or 12 Horse Power Steam Engines. Designed to Carry our Saw 50 inches in Diameter and Under / PRICE OF MILL, WITHOUT SAW, $200.00."
  • Ca. 1880s catalog of 24 pages, entitled, "Portable & circular saw mills."
  • An 1884 gang-edger patent was assigned to this firm.
  • From the November 22, 1895 issue of The New York Times has an article on the prizes given out at an exhibition in Atlanta. "Land and Bodley Company, Cincinnati, Ohio" won a gold medal for its exhibit of steam engines.
  • History of the American Steam Fire-Engine, by William T. King, 1896, his this tidbit:
    For several years, the firm of A. B. & E. Latta did quite an extensive business, with little or no opposition. In 1863, they sold out their business to Lane & Bodley, who built seven or eight machines from the old patterns and transferred the business in 1868 to the Ahrens Manufacturing Co.
  • From the December 14, 1900 issue of The New York Times:
    Heavy Fire Loss in Cincinnati
    CINCINNATI, Dec. 13.—The building, foundry, and machinery of the Lane & Bodley Works, at John and Water Streets, were burned to-night, the total loss being from $200,000 to $250,000. They were large manufacturers of sawmill machinery, traction engines, and many other articles, and about 200 men will be thrown out of work. Capt. Packer of the Fire Department was seriously injured while working at the fire. The building and machinery were partially insured.
  • From the April 21, 1901 issue of The New York Times:

    Steam Engine Builders and Mining Machinery Makers Consolidating their Respective Interests

    Announcement from Milwaukee of the prospective alliance of the Pennsylvania Iron Works Company with a group of kindred corporations is regarded here as indicative of the formation of two large combinations, one of the builders of steam engines, the other of makers of mining machinery. It is said that negotiations for both combinations are now in progress, but that both are still incomplete.

    The steam engine combination is the larger of the two, and it is stated that if it is formed it will be known as the American Steam Engine Company, and will be capitalized for $30,000,000. Among the firms mentioned in connection with the federation are the following: Corliss Steam Engine Works of Providence, R. I.; American Wheelock Engine Company of Worcester, Mass.; Hamilton Corliss Steam Engine Company of Hamilton, Ohio; Southwark Foundry and Machine Company of Philadelphia; Lane & Bodley Company of Cincinnati; Rice & Sargent of Providence, R. I.; Robert Wetherill Chester, Penn.; Cooper Corliss Company of Mount Vernon, Ohio, and the Vieter Manufacturing Company of Milwaukee.

    The mining machinery combination will, it is said, include the Pennsylvania Iron Works, which is controlled by Elkins, Widener, and Dolan, and is largely engaged in the manufacture of gashouse supplies, although it makes some engines; the E. P. Allis Company of Milwaukee, which, although it has an engine department, devotes most of the energy to mining and flour mill machinery; Fraser & Chalmers of Chicago, which is almost exclusively a mining machinery house; the Gates Iron Works of Chicago, which building mining machinery, and the Dixon Manufacturing Company of Scranton, Penn., which makes mining machinery and locomotives.

    It is said that the object of this combination is to meet prospective competition in the manufacture of mining machinery when the Westinghouse Company completes its big plant at Pittsburg. It is stated that no agreement as to its capitalization has been reached.

    Nothing more has been found about this effort: it apparently failed and sank without a trace.
  • The July 1901 issue of American Electrician has an article on the "Twentieth Century Engine" from "Lane & Bodley Co. of St. Louis, MO":

    The accompanying engravings illustrate the new Twentieth Century Corliss engine which has just been brought out by the Lane & Bodley Company, St. Louis, MO. The photographs here reproduced show the first engine of the new line, which is exhibited at the Pan-American Exhibition.

    The loss of patterns by fire recently made it necessary to complete a new line of Corliss engine patterns, and the company took this opportunity to design an engine embodying all of the improvements which their fifty years in the steam-engine business showed them to be of value...

  • Annual Reports of the City Departments of Cincinnati, 1902, has the following entry.

    Contract No. 5, with the Lane & Bodley Company of Cincinnati, O., for the Pumping Machinery, Boilers, and Traveling-crane for the Eastern Pumping Station.

    This contract was awarded January 4, 1898, and was to be completed on January 1, 1902. It was annulled, by action of your Board, on January 16, 1900, after the Lane & Bodley Company had failed and refused to continue with the work in accordance with the terms of the contract....

    On January 31, 1901, your Board adopted a resolution demanding payment of $302,600 by the Lane & Bodley Company, for failure to complete the work under their contract.

    On March 22, 1901, suit was filed in the Common Pleas Court of Hamilton County, O., against the Lane & Bodley Company and the American Bonding and Trust Company for the above amount. On December 2, 1901, the trial of this suit was commenced, and was still in progress at the end of the year.

    The April 1912 issue of Everybody's Magazine had an article on "Big Business and the Bench" that summarizes the outcome of the trial, namely that the city won the case at the Common Pleas Court. Lane & Bodley appealed to the Circuit Court, and there the case ended in a split decision and mistrial. The article reports on the behind-the-scenes activity which imply some shenanigans on the part of Lane & Bodley to influence the outcome. The City of Cincinnati ultimately settled for a payment of $65,000.
  • The November 11, 1905 edition of Electrical Review had an illustrated article titled, "Lane & Bodley Four-Valve Shaft-Governor Engine". "The Lane & Bodley Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, has placed on the market a new line of engines of the heavy-duty, four-valve, shaft-governor type, equipped with rotary valves actuated by eccentrics and wrist-plates..." The December 1905 issue of Engineer's Review, for Stationary Engineers carried a similar article.
  • An article on Lane & Bodley by Sandra Seidman and Cory Ament has the following:
    When Philander P. Lane opened his first small machine shop in downtown Cincinnati, in 1850, he owned only three machine tools. Ten years later, he was one of the most noted and distinguished industrial representatives of the city. In 1852, Lane took a partner, Joseph T. Bodley. While Lane promoted the company, Bodley saw to the manufacturing. Together they developed the firm into one of the most successful and important manufacturing companies in Cincinnati’s early history.
  • Another article on Lane & Bodley by Sandra Seidman and Leland Hite, has more about their history.
  • Dana Batory's catalog list gives this firm as "Est. 1850".
  • The Steam Tractor Encyclopedia by John F. Spalding & Robert T. Rhode, 2011 pages 236-237.
    Lane & Bodley, corner John and Water streets, manufacturers of Woodworth planers, Daniels' planers, Lane & Bodley's patent power mortising and boring machines, sash sticking and moulding machines, tenon machines, hub boring machines, hub hewing machines, turning lathes, spoke lathes, felloe bending machines, scroll saws, wheelwright's machinery, Lane & Bodley's patent portable circular saw mill, and a great variety of other wood-working machinery. They employ fifty hands, and produce one hundred thousand dollars. Lane & Bodley's power mortising machine enjoys an enviable celebrity. Orders for them have been filled from Russia, Germany, Cuba, South America, Canada, and every State in the Union. Their circular saw mills possess some strikingly original peculiarities, that lessen the number of hands necessary to operate them, and increases their products to such an extent as to create a large demand for the article. They make every description of machinery that takes the log from the woods, and makes it up into every variety of products.