Friday, August 21, 2015

Vanished Tool Brands: Bingham's Best Brand, Cleveland, Ohio

Above, an unusual pair of pliers of this brand.

William Bingham and Henry C. Blossom founded the W. Bingham Company in 1841, after purchasing the hardware stock of Clark and Murfey.  The company was incorporated in 1888 and went on to become of the Midwest's largest hardware concerns.  In 1915, they got out of retail entirely, becoming a wholesaler to outlets in 12 U.S. states.  They were large enough to have tools made for them, marketing them under the "XLCR" ("Excelsior") and "BBB" ("Bingham's Best Brand") trademarks.  They also owned the Standard Tool Company of Cleveland.  Their warehouse closed down in 1961, reportedly because of delining market share brought on by the increase in discount stores and trading stamp premiums.  Around 300 employees in Cleveland were put out of work, along with 100 in other cities.   A group of company officers bought the industrial division and continued on as Bingham, Inc., which no longer manufactured tools under the Bingham brand.  In the 1970's the company went through several purchases, eventually being owned by Formwell Products of Cleveland. The last location for the company was Solon, a suburb of Cleveland, in 1994, when it had been reduced to 24 employees.

The original warehouse in Cleveland was converted to apartments.  In 2010, Resource Real Estate successfully bid on the property, which had been in foreclosure.  It has since been developed into the Bingham Apartments, tony lofts for the moneyed set.

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