Sample Essay on How Did the Machine Tools Changed Cincinnati

Initially, Cincinnati was a small settlement known as Losantiville. It was named so because it was surrounded by Indian tribes who chose Losantiville as the location of Fort Washington. The settlement changed its name in 1790 to Cincinnati. River trade spurred the early growth of the small town. Agricultural products were transported through river Mississippi to other parts of New Orleans. Many of the residents relied on this trade (Ford & Ford, 1881). With the introduction of machine tools in most parts of the United States, many towns grew and developed into large cities. For instance, the introduction of steamboat traffic on various inland rivers and particularly in Cincinnati enhanced the movement of agricultural commodities in and out of Cincinnati. The machines also sped up the development of towns like Cincinnati and eventually made Cincinnati a base for machine tool industry (Grant, 1996).

By 1826, Cincinnati only had two steam builders and six iron foundries as its main machine plants. The town had very innovative and creative minds who continuously came up with new machine tools. By 1850, Cincinnati was ranked the second largest city in the west of Allegheny Mountains. The city gained fame as it was among the leading in the supply of manufactured goods in the United States (Zieman, 2011). The city was changing rapidly through initiating new machine tools in their manufacturing processes. For example, by 1817only one firm in Cincinnati was using lathes and a boring mill. However, by 1850s there were companies in Cincinnati that were setting up their “planning machines”(Grant, 1996).

In 1852, A. B. Latta for the first time introduced a practical steamfire engine in Cincinnati. The introduction of this machine increased the city’s revenues as most companies were able to carry out the manufacturing process effectively thereby increasing their profits. Moreover, later in the 19th century, the Houston, Stanwood and Gamble Company set up a plant and started manufacturing a variety of boilers and steam engines. The company increased their sales by selling the engines all over the United States thereby expanding and improving the development of Cincinnati (Zieman, 2011).

In the early 20th century, most of the companies were busy coming up with new machine tools. Among the successful companies were the Cincinnati Milling and Machines Co. that introduced a gear-driven power feed that replaced a hand crank in feeding the workpiece into a cutting tool in milling machines. The machine solved a lot of problems associated with feed rates. Due to these innovations, the company’s revenues increased, and it expanded its operations by moving to Oakley by 1911. In its new location, it invited a lot of companies thereby contributing to the economic development in Cincinnati City. Therefore, the machine tools facilitated the industrialization of Cincinnati (Hallez, Gardner Publications & IA Associates, 1988).

Most companies in Cincinnati highly expanded their operations during the First World War. The military of the US highly depended on the Cincinnati Machine Companies in the manufacture and supply of machines that had the ability to produce war weapons like trunks, tanks, and other items. However, as most companies specialized in weapons, at the end of World War I, some of the industries faced many challenges due to reduced market. The economy of Cincinnati slowed down at this particular moment. Nevertheless, some companies were able to sustain their workers and continued production despite the effects of the Great Depression that led to the fall of a lot of companies (Leibinger & Ingram, 2015).

During the Second World War, most machine companies from Cincinnati again increased their sales as they supplied tools necessary for the manufacture of weapons. For instance, the Avey Drilling Company grew at a high rate during this period. The company was selling its machine tools all over the world to various corporations like General Motors and Ford. In 1957, the company was claimed to be the largest supplier of machine tools all over the world. Therefore, with the expansion of these companies, employment opportunities were created in Cincinnati thereby improving the living standards of most residents. It also contributed to the entire economic development of the United States (Zieman, 2011).

However, due to the general downsizing of manufacturing especially in the United States auto industry and increased competition and growth of foreign-owned machine companies within the country, many of the machine companies in the country and Cincinnati in particular closed down. Investors opted for other ventures deemed profitable such as the service industries. Others relocated to other cities. For example, Monarch Machine Tool, which was one of the pioneer machine factories in the city, moved to New York. These factors combined with the breakdown of the traditional machines industry’s market demands saw the city lose its famed “Machine Tool Capital” name.

Evidently, machine tools had great impacts in Cincinnati. The machine tools changed the town’s activities from agriculture and river trade to the manufacturing of tools. It is through the production of machine tools that Cincinnati grew and developed into a large city. Moreover, the setting up of various industries that could produce machine tools highly led to the industrial development of the city. As a result, people changed their activities as there were new jobs created day by day. Those residents who gained from the created jobs increased their living of standards thereby speeding up the rate of economic development of the city and the US at large. Therefore, machine tools were very important aspects of the industrialization, expansion, and development of Cincinnati city in Ohio. However, changes in market demands and competition from foreign-owned companies have led to a decline in the industry in Cincinnati.


Ford, H. A., & Ford, K. B. (1881). History of Cincinnati, Ohio. Cleveland, OH: L.A. Williams & Co.

Grant, T. (1996). International directory of company histories: Volume 12. Detroit, MI: St. James Press.

Hallez, H., Gardner Publications, & IA Associates. (1988). Operating the CNC machine. Cincinnati, OH: IA Associates.

Leibinger, B., & Ingram, D. (2015). Experiences, achievements, developments: The ups and downs of the machine tool industries in Germany, Japan and the United States.

Zieman, N. (2011). Machine Embroidery With Confidence: A Beginner’s Guide. Cincinnati: F+W Media.