AboutClayton & Lambert Mfg. Co
Company founder Joshua Lambert, was said to be “a man who possessed a heart large enough for all, and who was ever doing in his quiet way all he could to better the condition of all who came into his life.” Following his passing in 1902, the remaining owners of the company, Nelson J. Clayton, Charles R. Lambert, Bert Lambert, and John E. Lambert, promised to “continue the business in such a manner as will tend to make it a credit to his memory.” Clayton & Lambert Manufacturing Company has been continuously operated by the Lambert family for over 130 years. More than a century later, we continue to do business with those values in mind.
From our early days manufacturing torches, firepots, and automotive stampings in Ypsilanti, Michigan; to smooth-wall storage solutions, custom stainless steel swimming pools, and clear span metal roofing; we take pride in our heritage and a History of Innovation.
A HISTORY OF INNOVATION
Joshua Lambert was born on his father Solomon’s homestead in 1837. As a formal education was not available in those early days of Michigan Statehood, Joshua spent his youth learning the trade of blacksmithing. In the early 1880’s, Joshua went into business with a man named Nelson J. Clayton, under the name “Clayton, Lambert & Co.”
In 1888, having developed new designs for blowtorches and firepots, Nelson and Joshua began operating under the name “Clayton & Lambert Manufacturing Company”. In 1891 the company was incorporated under the laws of the state of Michigan by Nelson Clayton, Joshua Lambert, and Joshua’s three sons, John, Charles, and Bert, each holding equal shares.
By 1899, demand for the Company’s products had increased beyond its production capacity, and a larger manufacturing facility was sought out. In 1902, a new factory was constructed on the corner of Beaubien St. and Trombly Ave. in Detroit. The new headquarters consisted of a two-story 117’x120’ general factory building, and a two-story 60’x217’ foundry building. By 1909, C&L had become the nation’s largest manufacturer of heat tools, having 80% of the US market along with a sizable export market.
The torch and firepot business continued to prosper, developing strong distribution throughout the United States and Canada. The Company’s products were evaluated by users as the finest of their kind in the world.
The Clayton & Lambert policy of fair, equal dealing was known and respected by all in the trade.
In the spring of 1913, Nelson J. Clayton passed away, leaving the Lambert brothers to run the company.
In 1925, Clayton & Lambert Mfg. Company sold its Knodell Division to the Hudson Motor Car Company.
In 1929, Clayton & Lambert Mfg. Company was incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware.
In March, 1961, the Louisville torch and firepot production and offices were also moved to Buckner.
In 1970, the production of gasoline torches and firepots was discontinued. Demand was practically non-existent due to the increasing use of plastics in the plumbing trade.
In 1954, Clayton & Lambert invented steel wall panels for use in the construction of swimming pools that were pre-formed, punched, curved and angled. This eliminated the necessity of doing this work at the job site, and the pool building industry embraced the products. By doing all fabrication in the factory, stronger metals could be used, creating a superior, longer lasting pool. Stainless steel swimming pools emerged as the most durable and lowest maintenance pool in the industry.