Copeland Corporation, a division
of Emerson Electric, has been a fixture on the local scene since 1937. The firm traces its
origin to Edmund Copeland (pictured at right), a Michigan inventor, who founded his
own company in Detroit in 1921. The company made compressors for the refrigeration
industry. The first successful mechanical refrigeration system developed by Copeland is in
the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. After financial problems developed during
the Great Depression, Edmund Copeland went into the railroad business while Dallas Winslow bought the company assets and moved the business here.
Winslow was a liquidator who specialized in bankrupt firms. He was also
involved in two other Sidney companies, Peerless Bread and Prima Washing Machine. Seeking only to eventually
resell the assets, by 1937 the firm, (because it had not invested in new engineering), was
left with an obsolete and expensive product.
Oskar Buschmann, Frank Gleason, Harry Thompson, and Charles Curtis - four young,
aggressive Copeland managers, wanted to buy the company from Mr. Winslow in 1939. The four
could raise only $15,000. Mr. Winslow made the deal on the promise of the 'Four Horsemen,'
as they were called, to pay him back. They did.
Copeland has grown steadily since, and became a subsidiary of Emerson Electric Company
of St. Louis in October, 1986. The company once again set an industry standard by
producing the new Compliant Scroll Compressor in 1987. It was the first and only American
manufacturer to produce scroll compressors for the residential air conditioning and heat
pump market. "Popular Science" magazine recognized the company for the first
significant development in the HVAC industry in many year.
Today Copeland employs over 6,000 workers at five U.S. and several international
facilities. The Sidney locations include the main plant at 1675 Campbell Road, the Shelby
Mfg. operation on Adams Street and a facility on the south end of Brooklyn Avenue.
The Four Horsemen -- Oskar Buschmann, Frank Gleason, Harry Thompson and Charles Curtis.
written in January, 1998 by Rich Wallace
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