Biography of Washington S. Tyler
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

WASHINGTON S. TYLER. An extensive manufacturing industry, one of the contributors to Cleveland's greatness in that field, stands as a monument to the genius and enterprise of the late Washington S. Tyler, who for nearly half a century was a liberal minded and highly efficient business man, citizen and worker for the public welfare.

He was born in Ohio City, now known. as the West Side of Cleveland, April 10, 1835. His parents both represented pioneer families of the Western Reserve. His father, Royal W. Tyler, was born in Connecticut, and in the early part of the last century came to Cleveland and settled in what was then known as Ohio City. He acquired extensive property interests in Ohio, but spent his last years in Connecticut.

When Washington S. Tyler was a small boy his parents returned to Connecticut, and he was educated in that state, in the public schools and at Bacon Academy at Coichester. For three years he gained some valuable training as an employe of a dry goods store in Hartford, Connecticut. Then, returning to Cleveland, he became an employe of E. I. Baldwin & Company, pioneer dry goods merchants, and eventually his industry and good judgment won him a partnership in that firm. He withdrew in 1872 to found the manufacturing establishment which is now half a century old and is still known as the W. S. Tyler Company. This company was one of the pioneers in making use of steel wire for the manufacture of a wide range of specialties and standard products, and the company is one of the largest in that field in the United States. Like many other large and successful businesses it had a modest start. The first plant was in an old two story frame building. The business of today has a group of brick and steel buildings on eight acres of ground, and every few years sees additions made to the plant equipment, due to increasing demand for its services andoutput. It includes one of the finest office buildings owned by any industry in the city. In early years the company had only a local reputation, but long before the death of Mr. Tyler its manufactured goods were sent all over this country and entered into the export trade.

Mr. Tyler founded his business only a short time before the great financial panic of 1873. He kept the plant going in that and subsequent crises, and from a solid foundation he kept his business growing to meet future needs. One important source of his success was his relations with his ernployes. He gave them his personal loyalty and demanded in turn their allegiance, and of his original group of ernpioyes most of them remained to advanced years, and when he died several of his original force of workmen were still on the payroll. All the executive oflicers of the company came up from the ranks. The business is still in his family, the principal owner being his daughter, Mrs. E. C. T. Miller.

Mr. Tyler was also interested in other financial organizations, being a director in the National Commercial Bank, and in various manufacturing concerns. He was a trustee of the Children's Aid Society and of the Lakeside Hospital, and was a member of the Governiiig Boards of Western Reserve University, Adelbert College, Hiram House and the Old Stone Church. As noted elsewhere, many of his philanthropies are continued by his daughter, Mrs. Miller. Mr. Tyler was a member of the Union, the Clifton, the Roadside, the Country and the Mayfield clubs and the Chagrin Falls Hunt Club.

His daily life was a consistent exemplification of his deep Seated Christianity. He gave unstintedly and from impulses deep within his character and never for the sake of public praise. He was a plain, unassuming gentleman, shunning publicity, and seeking the reward of his own conscience. After an active and useful career of more than four score years he passed away May 17, 1917.

In 1869 Mr. Tyler married Miss Marion A. Clark, who survives him. She was born in Cleveland, daughter of James F. and Eliza Ann (Murphy) Clark. Her father was born at Cooperstown, New York, and her mother in Connecticut. James F. Clark was an early business man of Cleveland, at first a hardware merchant, and later for many years a banker. Mr. Tyler was survived by one daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth C. T. Miller, mention of whom is given in the following sketch.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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