General Machinery Corp. -- which traced its start in Hamilton to the 1840s -- included Niles Tool Works and the Hooven, Owens, Rentschler Co. (HOR). In its final years, through mergers, it became Lima-Hamilton and Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corp. (BLH). Over the decades, company leadership had included Clark Lane, Job E. Owens, George A. Rentschler, Frederick B. Rentschler, Walter A. Rentschler, Henry C. Sohn, J. C. Hooven, George H. Helvey, James E. Campbell, Alexander Gordon, James K. Cullen, R. C. McKinney, Sidney D. Waldon and others among Hamilton's industrial who's who of the 1845-1960 period.
For decades, GMC workers cast and crafted all or components of large artillery pieces, tanks, ship armor, aircraft parts, diesel engines and other transportation and military hardware for U. S. and allied armed forces in addition to presses and a variety of machinery for other manufacturers. The most obvious World War II products were Liberty engines, 2,500-horsepower steam powerhouses for the Liberty ships that supplied the world. (See separate entry on General Machinery Corp. and the Liberty engines.)
At their war peak, the GMC shops -- a 30-acre complex along North Third Street -- employed about 4,500 men and women, many working 11-hour shifts five to seven days a week. It was the locally-owned General Machinery Corp. until a series of post-World War II mergers transformed it into Lima-Hamilton and finally Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton. BLH completed moving its Hamilton operations to Eddystone, Pa., by January 1960. Aug. 2, 1960, BLH announced the sale of the majority of its former Hamilton Division buildings to Champion Papers (later Champion International). Champion acquired four factory structures, a steam plant and two office buildings. (See Champion Warehouses and Niles Tool Works)