The "Barrel Making Machine"
The story of what is today
Greenlee began in Crawford County,
Pennsylvania over 160 years ago.
Born on the family farm in April
of 1838, Robert and Ralph were the
twin sons of Edmund Greenlee, a
farmer of some ingenuity. Among
the labor-saving devices Edmund
created was a line of wooden barrel
making machines he patented when the
boys were young. Growing up in this environment seems to have fostered
some valuable skills in the brothers; both demonstrated mechanical
aptitude and inventiveness, and, before they were 20, proficiency as
coopers (barrel makers).
A company biography, Round Bits...Square Holes, written in 1962, stated,
"No training could have been more timely." Indeed, shortly after the
twins turned 21 in 1859, Edwin Drake drilled the region's first
successful oil well only a few miles from the Greenlee home, others soon
followed, and the resulting demand for oil storage barrels soon exceeded
1,000 per day, "more than all the barrel makers in northeast
Pennsylvania combined could produce." Ralph and Robert put their
father's machines to good use; what would one day become Greenlee
Textron had begun...