I got to visit Tom at Ohio Brush

During a discussion a year or so ago, when I posted that I was working in the same area as his company, Tom said to drop on in for a tour. I didn't make it
then, but found myself in the area once again, so I decided to take him up on the invite. Surprised him, but he cheerfully showed me around the place, Ohio Brush. Ohio Brush is in an old industrial area of Cleveland, called the Buckeye-Woodland area as I recall. Judging from the buildings being torn down in the same area, it may be one of the last companies on the block.
It was quite interesting, and a real contrast to the ultra high-speed brush machines shown on "How it's Made". Ohio Brush has been family owned since 1879, and some of the machines are nearly a century old. One machine is the first one he designed, when he was 16! It had what looked like a giant chain saw blade, and each tooth grabbed a bundle of wires as it came by and moved them into position. It's pretty neat watching the machines drilling holes and stuffing bristles in them, all done by mechanical cams, no electronics.
The wooden brush heads are made from polished select maple, not a blemish in sight. Tom explained that his market is primarily specialty brushes, since the cheap imports have taken over the common brushes. Many of the brushes being made I have never seen before, such as the double sided brushes (one side with flattened scraper wires, the other with standard bristles) with 4' long wooden handles for reaching deep into commercial grills or ovens to clean them.
They machine their own tooling on site, with several vintage lathes. One Warner & Swasey turret lathe was dedicated to roll engraving and threading some small parts. There were two more lathes in the tooling area, one was Reed-Prentice. A Brideport stood a short distance away. Machinery is tucked into every available corner. The air is filled with the smell of freshly cut wood, and a steady chung, chung, chung from the machines.
Tom is a very nice guy, and I certainly hope that he and Ohio Brush continue making quality brushes in the good ol' US.
--
Dennis


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I was on good behavior that day! Next time, come for lunch! There are a few nice hole-in-wall restaurants in the area that have good food and vintage atmosphere. I'm glad you enjoyed your visit and you were lucky to see the cats awake...a rare sight, unless they are hunting.
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Hi Tom, Too bad I was not aware of your company when I visited Cleveland in 2004. Came to Cleveland to see if there were any remaining remnants or the Hungarian immigrant community. The answer was no. Like good Americans they had assimilated, married others and moved away. I'm sure part of it was the 'urban flight' phenomena seen throughout the country in the 50's and 60's. My parents (and others in the 50's) always spoke of Hungarian friends and the great community in Cleveland. We did visit the Hungarian museum, found three restaurants and 4 bakeries. All had to be tried. Visiting you brush factory would have been a lot more interesting than the Rock and Roll Museum.
Tom, keep on making brushes. One day I will also come and visit.
Ivan Vegvary, (stuck in Oregon where most of the residents think that a Deli is where you play lottery games). Oh, the wonderful ethnic foods and Delicatessen's in Cleveland!!!!!
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On Fri, 16 May 2008 09:57:21 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@wowway.com (DT) wrote:

Lasst summer my pal Norm Jones and I visited Tom also. Photos are here:
http://neme-s.org/Oshkosh_2007/Ohio_Brush/ohio_brush_company.htm
Regards,
Errol Groff
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Errol Groff wrote:

Thanks Errol. Those are great, it's nice to be able to put a face on another one of the names here in RCM. ...lew...
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(DT)

Errol Photochopped my pictures, I really have more hair and I'm much thinner!
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On Fri, 16 May 2008 22:49:58 -0400, with neither quill nor qualm, "Tom

At least you didn't lie about those damned blinding legs, Tawm.
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"Fat" chance. :)
Tom Gardner wrote:

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On Fri, 16 May 2008 16:11:34 -0400, with neither quill nor qualm,

Ohmigod! NOT the one of Tawm in the shorts in the sunlight, blinding everyone with his lily white legs!
Another fun field trip report. Thanks, Errol.
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DT wrote:

Dennis, you're a lucky guy. Sounds like Tom's factory is quite a place. If I was on the same continent, I'd love to visit!
Best wishes,
Chris
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On Fri, 16 May 2008 09:57:21 -0500, with neither quill nor qualm, snipped-for-privacy@wowway.com (DT) quickly quoth:

Cool field trip report, Dennis. Atta Boy, Tawm!
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(DT) quickly quoth:

It's so cool to have visitors, I'm always happy to show people around and I notice they always find my little treasures like Dennis found my Reed-Prentice and Errol found my Arter. Nobody's noticed my air pumps are on pallet racks, which I think is especially cool 'cuz they take little floor space. I do have to apologize about the clutter that I'm oblivious to, yet shows up nicely in photos.

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I'd love to see your place one of these days. You are about 7 hours from where I live. It would be cool to stop by the day before NAMES next year. I could leave home at 5am and be there by noon. Not much earlier leaving the house than a normal work day.
Wes
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wrote:

Noon's good, coincides with "Lunch"...mysteriously!
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I'm a big fan of lunch.
Wes
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On Sat, 17 May 2008 10:48:36 -0400, with neither quill nor qualm, "Tom

Yeah, cameras are notorious for that, aren't they? You'll note that I never take shots of my shop. Shit, I can hardly walk around in there. A fire marshall would have a field day there.
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I bet my shop is nastier than yours. (I may have competition from dark horse candidates though)
Wes
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Even my pack-rat second son claims to have trouble navigating my "shop" Gerry :-)} London, Canada
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On Sun, 18 May 2008 21:13:28 -0400, with neither quill nor qualm,

Maybe, if we had fewer than sixteen dozen projects running at the same time...
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Gunner gingerly raises his hand...knocking over a pile of Stuff
Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical liberal minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.
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