William McCool (1850-1923)
William Allen McCool, prolific inventor and manufacturer,
was born in Ashland, Ohio on April 21, 1850, son of James and Rhoda McCool.
His father was a native of Ireland.
After being educated at Country schools, he learned the machinist's
trade in Ashland. Moving to Perryville, Ohio, in 1870, he began the manufacture
of steel plow points and road scrapers.
McCool Guide Boards
In 1872 he organized the Ohio Guide Board Co. to manufature an invention
of his, a guide board for country crossroads. In the same year he patented
a process and machinery for drawing cold steel and for two years was associated
with the Hartman Steel Co. in Beaver Falls, PA. This business was sold
later to the Carnegie Steel Co.
In 1884 he organized in Beaver Falls the Union Drawn Steel Co., of which
he was superintendent and general manager for the next fifteen years.
In the same year he organized the McCool Tube Co. in Beaver Falls and
manufactured cold drawn steel tubing under his patents until 1904 when
the company was purchased by the U.S. Steel Corp.
James McCool set out to get away from the road sign and tubing business
to develop a typewriter and other inventions. He used the first decade
of the 20th Century to build the now legendary machine that he patented
in 1910, a year after he started to advertise it.
McCool Sewing Machine
That same year McCool patented a blind stitch sewing machine and he founded
the Acme Keystone Manufacturing Company in Beaver Falls, Pa, for the production.
McCool also invented a bicycle tyre and a wood-tex paving block constructed
of asphalt and cypress sawdust. For a while he was vice-president of the
Eclipse Bicycle Co of Beaver Falls.
The McCool typewriter was not a great success. It is estimated
that less than 1000 machines were built. (For more information on the
machine, check Collection/Keyboard typewriters.)
McCool Disney World
It is hard to imagine for a man of such entrepreneurial energy, but McCool
suffered from bad health. In 1888 he travelled to Florida where he bought
a large tract of land near Kissimmee. He cultivated part of it to be a
park, and in 1920 he sold the rest of it. (Incidentally, half a century
later this piece of land would be the basis of Disney World Floriday.)
McCool finally retired to his Florida estate where he died
on Feb. 23, 1923. He and his wife had three sons, Howard, William and
(This article includes original research
done by Mike Brown for the Typex newsletter - Nov. 1997)