Frank Sarkis Shields
IN connection with the wonderful development of the manufacturing interests of the country, one of the leading and most valuable factors has been and is the constant improvement in design and usefulness of the tools now available in the prosecution of these industries. These improved tools and machines, especially those having to do with the work of which steel is the material, are now of such effectiveness and such reliable operation, largely automatic, that by their use the capacity of the man-power of the industries has been greatly augmented.
Of these industries in the manufacture of improved machine tools the City of Cleveland is a leading center. The prominent place attained by the city in the production of all kinds of machine work is due to the exceptional efforts of men and firms who have brought inventive skill, personal energy and well-conceived plans into play in the creation of important enterprises of this kind.
Among these men of genius one whose career and present leadership make in an especial sense representative is Frank Sarkis Shields, inventor, machinist and successful manufacturer. He was born in Harpoot, Armenia, May 22, 1881, the son of Sarkis Shields and of Youaper (Demer- jian) Shields. His father was a manufacturer and merchant, and owned a machine shop and flour mill.
Mr. Shields was educated in Euphrates College, Harpoot, Armenia, taking the general course, and after completing it began business life with his father, and developing a great liking for mechanics became a skillful machinist, and evinc-ing in Armenia the skill and ingenuity which he later brought to the United States and has turned to excellent purpose. Coming to Cleveland, he soon demonstrated his exceptional mechanical and artistic ability. He filled several important positions, gaining prominence as one of the foremost experts in machine design and construction.
He began as designer for the Lorain Steel Company, Lorain, Ohio, and after that was superintendent of the Cleveland Planer Company, and next designer for the V. D. Anderson Company, and then superintendent and designer for the National Tool Company, both of Cleveland, Ohio.
He organized and became president of the Cleveland Milling Machine Company; president and general manager of the Cleveland Planer Company and the Cleveland Machine Tool Company, and president of the Vahan Foundry Company and Vahan Products Company, of Cleveland.
In each of these companies the inventive skill and designing ability of Mr. Shields were a leading factor in success and enlarged business. He designed and patented the Cleveland Relieving Machine, designed and patented the Cleveland Milling Machine, and also designed and patented all the patented products of the Cleveland Milling Machine Company, as well as much other automatic machinery.
Mr. Shields is a master of the art of machine design and of the principles of mechanical engineering, and it has been his life study to improve and perfect machine tools adapted to the needs of varied industries. He is one of the men who have been most prominent in giving to Cleveland the place it holds as a center of the machine tool industry.
His success has been gained by his own abilities, and he has attained not only leadership in his particular line but also a prominent place in the citizenship of Cleveland. Fie is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Cleveland Engineering Society and of the Chamber of Commerce of Cleveland, and he is also a member of the Masonic Order, having the degrees of both the York and Scottish Rites.
Mr. Shields, in addition to his technical skill as engineer, possesses business abilities of a high order, and the organizing genius which has enabled him to create important business enterprises on the basis of his engineering and inventive achievements. The manufacturing organizations of which he is the head have, besides their industrial efficiency, excellent sales, accounting, and distributing departments.
The machinery and tools from these plants have a reputation more than nation-wide. They are in constant use in many of the largest industrial plants of the country, and their merit constantly receive the endorsement implied from increasing orders from all parts of the country.