Center for Archival Collections

Archival Chronicle

August 2012: Volume 31, Number 2

Industry in Northwest Ohio | Archival Chronicle Index | CAC Homepage

Daybrook Hydraulic Corporation:  A Bridge to Freedom

Daybrook Industries--An Ohio Company

   Daybrook Hydraulic Corporation, Bowling Green

In 1939, Andrew F. Brooker was working as a salesman for the GarWood Corporation of Detroit. His travels took him through Bowling Green, where he stopped to chat with local officials to ask about the business climate here. Mayor Alva W. Bachman was happy to assist Brooker and his partner, engineer Herbert O. Day, in securing a work site on Lehmann Avenue. The land and buildings had formerly been used by the Gramm-Logan Company and the Modern Automobile plant, both of which were truck manufacturers. It was the ideal location for a business which was to manufacture hydraulic cylinders that would power truck equipment.  Herbert Day was responsible for all the patents used by the company.  When the United States entered World War II. Day invented a flexible pontoon bridge for use by the Army.  The government contract brought secure manufacturing employment to Northwest Ohio.

Daybrook Factory Floor, ca. 1939-1940   

At right, the original body shop at Daybrook.  The company made hydraulic cylinders for use in raising the beds of dump trucks and for similar heavy construction equipment.

 Daybrook Hydraulic Corporation, Bowling Green, ca. 1940s

Radio station WOWO held an interview on the factory floor in Bowling Green.  Daybrook CEO Herbert Day (center) and Chief Engineer A. F. Brooker (at right) explained their company's contribution to the war effort.

 

"Jungle Tracks" designed for the U. S. Army Engineers

Like a gigantic set of snow chains, these tracks could be installed on very heavy trucks to help with traction in areas where roads were destroyed or were non-existent.

Lifts for raising the beds of supply trucks

Seen in operation and in close-up, this equipment designed by Daybrook Hydraulics made loading cargo planes easier.  Similar devices are used today.

Products of Daybrook, 1941  

These views, left and right, show a tank-mounted scissor bridge in action at a demonstration in Bowling Green. This equipment, similar to that used by other Allied powers, was manufactured for the U. S. Army Engineers by Daybrook, using hydraulic power to lift and extend the bridge.  Today, similar scissor bridges are still in use by the armed forces and can be installed in less than five minutes.

 

 

On August 8, 1945, a ceremony recognized Daybrook's outstanding war production record with the Army-Navy "E" Award. In a letter notifying the company of the award, Undersecretary of War Robert F. Patterson wrote: "Your patriotism, as shown by your remarkable production record, has helped our country along the road to victory. May I extend to you men and women of The Daybrook Hydraulic Corporation my congratulations on your great accomplishments.  In conferring this Award, the Army and Navy will give you a flag to fly above your plant and will present to every individual within it a lapel pin symbolic of leadership on the production front."

Daybrook in the Field

Bridge Construction Look Right

The U. S. Army Engineers rig up a trestle across a stream at an unidentified location in the Netherlands, to prepare to build a new bridge.  Bridges were common war targets because their loss slowed the movements of enemy troops. Once the position was won, however, the lack of bridges slowed the Allied advance  Different terrain required different bridge spans, and speedy construction was crucial.

 

 

Look Left A Rubber Ponton Bridge, ca. 1944

A ponton bridge floats on the surface of the water, with the pontoons supporting the bridge deck. The Army Engineers used three types: a Light Ponton Bridge M1938, capable of carrying 10-ton traffic in one direction, a Heavy Ponton bridge M1940, able to carry a 25-ton weight, and  a Steel Treadway Bridge, designed to carry medium tanks.  Daybrook manufactured the treadway bridges pictured here.  At right, a rubber ponton is lifted into position before being carried to one of the Moselle River crossings in France.  Ponton-style bridges have the advantage of being quick to construct and, if necessary, easy to collapse and carry along.

 

Heavy Ponton Bridge, in transit, 1945 Look Right

A heavy engineer vehicle of the U. S. First Army carries rubber pontons toward the Roer River in Germany.   (Bowling Green residents referred to this truck as "the Monster." ) They made up part of the foundation for the construction of a Treadway Bridge.  The ever-increasing size of military equipment throughout the war challenged the engineers to design bridging which was light enough to be erected quickly, yet able to carry the weight of tanks.

 

 

 

Look Left Treadway Bridge Construction

At right, engineers assembling a Treadway Bridge in Luxembourg.  Once the pontons laid the bridge foundation, the treadway units provided the bed of the temporary river crossing.  Temporary bridges of this kind provided the backup crossing when the Ludendorf Bridge collapsed at Remagen

Daybrook After World War II

  Daybrook Product Flyer

The post-war years were a difficult transition time for many manufacturers.  In August 1945, however, A. F. Brooker wrote, "Our company is in an enviable position. Practically  no plant changes will be necessary to shift our production from war materiel to our regular products, steel dump bodies and hydraulic hoists. There should be no lay-offs or closing of the plant to make the change-over." There were hundreds of post-war uses for hydraulics and dump trucks. The company's slogan was "Daybrook Products are built to one standard--the Best." From a small start-up firm founded just before the war, the company quickly gained a national reputation.  

Products of Daybrook, 1948 

A trade show in Chicago gave Daybrook an opportunity to show its line of truck adaptations, in this case, a "double-acting power tailgate truck." The company became the Daybrook Hydraulic Division, L. A. Young Spring & Wire Corporation, in the spring of 1954.

THE PHOTOGRAPHS IN THIS ISSUE feature the Daybrook Hydraulic Corporation Photograph Collection (MMS 890).