Born in Ireland in 1836, William Gleason believed that the post-Civil War railroad expansion in the U.S. pointed to metalworking and machinery as keys to the future. Gleason started a one-room shop with a handful of employees in 1865 and by 1875 he acquired the Kidd Iron Works. This move, along with patents he received for several developments, allowed Gleason to focus on the business of gear machining processes. In 1874, Gleason invented the first bevel gear planer, modernizing the gear-making process and spurring a new industry – bevel gears.
From the start, William Gleason recognized the growth opportunities represented by overseas markets. The first bevel gear cutting machine sold overseas went to Italy in 1877. His daughter, Kate, shared her father’s business vision for international markets, securing orders from England, Scotland, France and Germany during her first trip abroad in 1893.
To commemorate the milestone, Gleason will host a number of events throughout the year at various global sites, highlighted by a Gala Celebration Event in June 2015 for employees, customers, suppliers and community representatives, and the Gear Solutions Forum, a major educational event for customers and other invited guests, displaying the latest in gear technology, in September. Both of these events will take place in Rochester.
More information on Gleason’s 150th anniversary is available at http://www.gleason150.com.