Oil Field Engine News

The Lunkenheimer Co. Part 2

| June 2006

  • Lunkenheimer.jpg
    Lunkenheimer exhibit at the 1915 San Francisco International Exposition.

  • Lunkenheimer.jpg

From the beginning of Frederick Lunkenheimer's son, Edmund's, presidency, the company began to expand. During the 1890s it expanded its 8th Street plant. Employment there rose from 199 in 1891 to 254 in early 1893.

In January 1893 "Lunkenheimer Brass Mfg. Co." officially changed its name to "The Lunkenheimer Co." Edmund had legally changed his name to Lunken the year before, but the family refused his request to change the company's name in the same style. At this time, the company capital was raised to $500,000, with almost all the new shares allotted to Edmund in payment for some of his patents. He then held just over half of the total shares.

Not all of Lunken's initiatives prospered, however. Two new lines of valves, the "Lunken" and the "Elk," proved disappointing and were dropped.

In 1898 he invented the "Peggy," a small brass container with a spike inside to store used chewing gum until the next use. He failed to sell this device to the Wrigley Co., but he and his associates certainly derived much amusement from it.

In 1896 Edmund moved to Denver, Colo., to pursue a venture into the mining business as president of the Little Jane Gold Mining Co. The gold mining business eventually proved to be a disappointment and, after paying off the losses incurred by Cincinnati investors, he returned to the city in 1903.

Also during this time, the company explored the possibilities of manufacturing a gasoline-powered automobile. It contracted the services of Harry W. Sumner to design two prototype models in 1902. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported on the first automobile races in the Midwest held in Cincinnati on Oct. 5, 1901: