Ajax-CECO (formerly The Ajax Manufacturing Company), founded in 1875 by Mr. J.R. Blakeslee Sr., was primarily a manufacturer of bolts, nuts, spikes and rivets to supply the railroad industry, but grew to include the designing and building of the first general purpose Forging Machine in 1885.
In 1888, to further meet the needs of the forging industry, the Ajax Manufacturing Company stopped producing parts and turned all of their efforts to building machines. In 1898 Ajax built a complete line of Forging Rolls. The first 7” Ajax Forging Machine was constructed in 1910. With a gross weight of 150,000 lbs., it was by far the largest machine ever constructed. A catastophic fire destroyed most of the original factory and in 1925, Ajax moved from its location in Cleveland on Lake and Watson Streets to Chardon Road in Euclid where the plant still stands. Also in 1925, Ajax designed the first Solid Die Forging Machine which produces such items as cannon balls.
In 1932, after considerable engineering design and development, Ajax introduced the first direct air-operated friction clutch, a product of the pioneering engineering work of the Ajax Manufacturing Company that is still acclaimed as the greatest single improvement in the development of forging equipment during that era.
Introduced to the forging industry in the early 1930's, the Ajax Forging Press, which has an indisputable international reputation, has since established itself as an invaluable production machine in the modern forge plant. The first Wire Drawer was built by the Ajax Manufacturing Company in 1934. In 1942, Ajax had such a great demand for their product they had to add an extension to the Euclid plant. In 1944, Ajax built their largest Tube Upsetter, a 12”. Ajax had yet another great achievement when they built the first 6000 ton Forging Press in 1946.
The first 6,000 ton Forging Press they sent to Japan was in 1966. This was the first of many machines in the Orient. In 1974, Ajax had invented a new type of machine, the Insta-Kut, which shears steel. In 1979 Ajax sold their first 10” Tong Feed. A Tong Feed allows the parts to move from station to station without and operator. The introduction of a four-point suspension, wide ram Trimming and Coining Press in 1981, has enabled the Ajax Manufacturing Company to supply fully engineered turnkey forging systems from its comprehensive range of forging equipment.
In 1987 The Ajax Manufacturing Company was acquired by the Crawford Group and in 1996 they became part of Park-Ohio Industries. They are a major company in the Park-Ohio Capital Equipment Group. In 1996 Park-Ohio was ranked No. 2 of northeast Ohio’s top companies. Their profits rose 93 percent in one year alone. Park-Ohio has also been named by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as “one of the best companies in the state”.
In December 2004, Ajax was successful in negotiating the acquisition of all of the intellectual property (drawings and records) of the former Chambersburg Engineering Company, enabling Ajax to rename its Forging Parts business unit Chambersburg Equipment Company (CECO). Parts inventory is housed in Cleveland, OH and a Sales and Service office is maintained near Chambersburg in the borough of Shippensburg, PA. Chambersburg was responsible for the development of the CECO-Drop and Impacter. The CECO-Drop, its electrified brother the Model “E”, the Die Forger, the Model “C” Impacter and programmable conversions of CECO-Drops, Board Hammers, Steam Hammers and new programmable hammer designs made Chambersburg a company for the century.
Ajax is preparing for the 21st century by redesigning its product range. Mindful of the commercial pressures on its customers, Ajax is positioning itself to be flexible in meeting its customer’s needs for new, used, or rebuilt equipment that will positively impact the forging industries productivity, competitiveness, and its ability to provide close tolerance parts. As another century mark passes, Ajax will continue to provide equipment that is in the forefront of Metal Forming Technology.