National Acme, located in Cleveland, Ohio, was one of the largest manufacturers of machine tools in the United States. National Acme began as the merger of two notable machine tool manufacturers, the Cleveland Twist Drill Company, and the National Acme Company.
National Acme’s (later Acme-Cleveland Corporation) home base was the manufacture of machine tools, but those operations soon became a drag. Between 1982 and 1983, total annual shipments of its metal cutting machine tools dropped from $5 billion to under $3 billion. Imports of those tools rose from 10% in 1974 to nearly 42% by 1984. Acme-Cleveland reported a net loss of $31.9 million in 1983 on sales of just $164 million. The number of employees dropped from 6,300 in 1980 to 2,600 by 1984,6 and down to 2,000 by 1993. Fifteen manufacturing plants for National Acme were closed or consolidated. To diversify its product portfolio with emerging technologies and to shield against the effects of a long-term slump in machine tool sales, National Acme divested itself of its metalworking operations, focusing instead on telecommunications.
The number of employees dropped from 6,300 in 1980 to 2,600 by 1984,6 and down to 2,000 by 1993. Fifteen manufacturing plants for National Acme were closed or consolidated. To diversify its product portfolio with emerging technologies and to shield against the effects of a long-term slump in machine tool sales, National Acme divested itself of its metalworking operations, focusing instead on telecommunications.
“Those who had the remaining jobs would have to buy the cheapest stuff possible with their drastically reduced wages, and in order for the manufacturers to keep that stuff cheap, it would have to be made by fifteen-year-olds in China.”
― Michael Moore
The East 131st Street plant continued to be used by DeVlieg-Bullard for the manufacture of metalworking equipment. DeVlieg-Bullard filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in mid-1999, and the factory was sold to a real-estate holding company. One-sixth of the space was leased back to DeVlieg-Bullard, which began moving machinery to its other plant in Twinsburg. In January 2002, the sales and engineering departments were relocated out of the building to Twinsburg to consolidate operations with the DeVlieg Bullard’s rebuild division. All that remained was the manufacture of the new high-precision spindle carrier for the Acme-Gridley machine – until that too was moved out.
In June 2011, Christopher L. Gattarello, on behalf of All Points, a garbage disposal company, leased the former National Acme factory for a proposed cardboard and paper waste recycling facility. That never happened – and it became a front for illegal open dumping. Piles of debris and asbestos were left open to the elements. Eventually, Gattarello and his brother were indicted on charges of unlawful open dumping and operating a solid waste disposal facility without a license.