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CIark Brothers, Inc.

| November/December 1992

One of our subscribers, Mark Corson of 9374 Roosevelt St., Crown Point, IN 46307 sent us information he found on the Clark Brothers Company of Olean, New York. The data was included in the book Enchanted Land, 1776-1976, compiled by the Bicentennial Committee of Olean. The following paragraphs are excerpted from this book.

In 1880, two brothers, William P. and Charles E. Clark, decided to go into the manufacturing business together in Belmont, New York. Under the name of 'Clark Bros. Co.' they began operations in a small shop with a handful of men.

During the first few years, production was confined principally to farm implements and equipment for sawmills. The first item manufactured was a unique type of hayfork, similar in looks to a harpoon, and designed to lift greater quantities of hay than by the hand fork. But expansion in local oil production had its effect on the course that the company was to follow. Gradually, over a period of years, the company turned its attention from the lumber business to oil production and eventually identified itself with all phases of the oil and gas industry.

One of the first Clark engines to be built for use in the oil fields was a slow speed, horizontal steam engine. This old work horse was the mainstay of the business until 1905, when it was superseded by Clark's 'Bogart' gas engine, the Clark Corliss and the slide valve steam engine.

A disastrous fire in 1912 destroyed the old plant at Belmont. Instead of rebuilding in Belmont, the company was moved to Olean. A new plant, the beginning of the present group of buildings, was erected.

The years 1918 and 1919 saw the entire of Clark Bros. Co., Inc. into the oil field business with a definite development program for the rapidly growing industry. Engineers designed their first horizontal gas-engine driven compressor during this period and also developed a four-cylinder, four-cycle, drilling engine especially adapted for use in the oil fields. These steps marked the beginning of the changeover from steam engine driven equipment in the drilling fields. The next ten years saw radical changes in the products that they were building. The now famous super two-cycle engine was turned out and found to be far more reliable and simpler to operate than the four-cycle type. Not long after this development, the Clark Angle engines were offered to the oil industry and were received enthusiastically. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s constant improvements were being made in our engines and compressors-improvements that meant higher performance from the product and lower cost to customers. Through research and the skill of those who were building Clark equipment, plus an alert sales organization, the company, though one of the smallest in its field, stayed ahead of its competitors. Production increased slowly but steadily.

9/16/2014 4:45:49 PM

Just ran across this article while searching for info on Clark Brothers engines. If anyone can point me to pictures, data or anything of interest to a motorhead It will be much appreciated. My dad worked for Clark Brothers in Olean during the 50's and took me on a tour of the plant when I was about 10 years old. The size of those big 10 cylinder engines left a lasting impression on me, especially when I saw a man sitting inside the engine, measuring one of the cylinders.

5/17/2012 6:39:55 PM

William P. Clark was my Great Grandfather


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