Claiborne Pirtle - President Electric Controller & Manufacturing

298 Corning Drive
Claiborne Pirtle
Claiborne Pirtle

Claiborne Pirtle, a leader in the electrical business, was an engineer, manufacturer, and economist. Claiborne Pirtle was known as a strong individualist and, from that point of view, took an interest in labor problems and a wide range of economic questions. He published frequent articles on such subjects.

Claiborne Pirtle was born on December 4, 1874, in Jefferson County, Kentucky, to Major John Barbee and Mary Belle Pirtle. He was a member of an old Louisville family, and his father had been a Confederate Army officer.

Claiborne was educated at Rose Polytechnic Institute in Terre Haute, Indiana. He spent several years after graduation with the General Electric Company before coming to Cleveland.

For about twenty years, Mr. Pirtle was with the Electric Controller company, first as a sales manager, next as vice-president and general manager, and as president from 1916 until 1924.

From the American Plan Association organization in 1920, Mr. Pirtle was actively connected with its work and was on the governing board until his death. The board adopted a resolution recalling “his fine personality, broad vision, and conception of duty,”

Claiborne brought Kentucky his fondness for horseback riding, and he kept a pair of stirrups on his desk at the Controller plant.

He resigned as president of Electric Controller in March 1924, saying he desired to give younger men a larger management share. One of the company's officers stated that he might have believed his health required him to lighten his work.

Social memberships included the Canterbury, Union, and University clubs.

Mr. Pirtle was taken ill on the evening of July 9, 1924. Physicians said his trouble was with the heart muscles. Claiborne died on July 25, 1924, at age 49.

Claiborne Pirtle married Mary Agatha Stamm in 1908. She was born on November 14, 1876, in Aurora, Indiana. There were no children.

Mary was widely known for her work and financial support of civic, musical, and educational projects.

Mary was an active supporter of the Red Cross, Community Fund, and other civic organizations. One of her chief benefactions was aiding deserving young people in preparatory schools and obtaining a college education.

Mrs. Pritle was a member and supporter of the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Musical Arts Association. She also aided the Case Institute of technology.

Mary had traveled widely, having visited nearly every country in the world.

Mary Agatha Pirtle died on July 3, 1957, leaving no known surviving next of kin. Most of the estate was in the Square  D Company's common stock, which had acquired Electric Controller & Manufacturing in 1929.

The net income of the trust estate and the net proceeds of any stock sale were distributed one-third to the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Case Institute of Technology to be used as each governing board determines. The Musical Arts Association received the final third with the net income to support the Cleveland Orchestra.

A special bequest was made to each person in her employ for one full year before her death. Each received $1,000 for each year of continuous employment, not to exceed $5,000.

Mary was buried alongside Claiborne in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentuck