Lima’s 95th

A longstanding Ohio armature shop celebrates a milestone

In 1923, Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge both sat as President. The New York Yankees played their first game in the original Yankee Stadium. Warner Brothers film studio was established in Hollywood. The first issue of Time Magazine was published. Equally significant, in our eyes, Lima Armature Works was founded in Northwest Ohio. The company turned 95 years old this year.

Homer E. Reeder, who bought out his employer’s motor repair business for himself, founded the Lima Armature Works during that memorable year. Seven years went by before a fire forced the company to move to a new location in Lima and set up shop all over again. During the depression, Mr. Reeder bought the Phoenix Electric Motor Co. in Mansfield, Oh., and The Lima Motor Company was ultimately formed. This would later become a separate company from LAW, according to the company’s history page.

LAW continued to repair electric motors and equipment during World War II, simultaneously producing magnetic separators under the name of Homer Magnetics. In 1948 the company moved again, this time to the corner of Pearl Street in North Lima.

The company now services and repairs AC and DC electric motors and generators, power tools, centrifugal pumps, gear motors, hoists and portable heaters.

“What started off as an electric motor company in 1923 has grown over the last 95 years to a business that offers pool pumps, a full-service machine shop, fabrication services and more. Homer Reeder began Lima Armature Works Inc. with electric motor repair equipment he had bought from his previous employer, Harry Tibbet, an electrical contractor for the city of Lima,” hailed the Lima News, who first reported the story October 12.

As the company began its transition to a full-service facility, Jim Smith, who had worked for the company for 20 years, was elected vice president and general manager in 1978. He then became the owner in 1985 when Reeder died.

The Lima Armature Works expanded at their new factory and Homer Magnetics was bringing in one-quarter of a million dollars every year. The Lima Armature Works sold this division in 1956 to the Ohio Electric Company in Cleveland. To replace the loss of Homer Magnetics the Lima Armature Works began buying and rebuilding larger electrical units and centrifugal pumps. This company continues today.

“Electric motors is the most popular service,” owner Jim Smith told Camri Nelson of the Lima News. “The main difference between when I started and now is that throw-away motors are the small motors. They are priced so cheap that it’s better to buy a new one than to put repair work into them, except for a special type motor.”

Special services include press work, machine work for custom balancing, spray welding of worn parts, key ways cut, boring and brush and specialty welding. The business is also a distributor of various types of motors, gear reducers, fuses, brushes, v-belts and pulleys, penetrating lubricant, couplings and phase converters. It also sells used and rebuilt motors, capacitors, transformer oil, fan blades, speed controls, portable heater parts, power tool parts, and automotive and tractor starters.

Lima Armature Works Inc. covers most of the Lima area and has worked with companies like Joint Systems Manufacturing Center and Superior Coaches.

Customer service is what sets the company apart, said Rick Smith, Lima Armature Works Inc. current president.

“We bend over backward for the customer,” said Rick Smith. “There is more industrial and commercial work because we are smaller, and I think we can spend more time and our people can spend more time with the customer.”

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