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Jacob Dolson Cox Jr. - President of Cleveland Twist Drill

10401 Lake Shore Boulevard
Jacob Dolson Cox
Jacob Dolson Cox

Jacob Cox Jr., president of the Cleveland Twist Drill Co., was a pioneer in profit sharing and employee stock participation planning. Withdrawn from contact with others, Few persons outside his direct business and social circle knew Mr. Cox. Much of his income was devoted to philanthropy.

Jacob Dolson Cox Jr. was born in Cleveland on November 1, 1881, to Jacob and Ellen Cox and grew up in the family mansion at 3411 Euclid Avenue. His grandmother was a lineal descendant of Elder William Brewster of the “Mayflower.”

Mr. Cox came from a brilliant family. His grandfather worked his way through Oberlin Academy and Oberlin College after the collapse of the family fortune. He rose to major-general in the Civil War; was the 28th governor of Ohio; fought corruption in and eventually resigned for the Grant cabinet; wrote histories of the Civil War; was president of the Wabash Railway and international authority of microscopy.

Jacob attended University School went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College in 1903. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, America’s most prestigious academic honor society.

Following graduation, he began as a mechanic at Cleveland Twist Drill Company. From 1909 to 1910, he worked for the McFadden Logging Co., Ltd in Vancouver, British Columbia, but his work was often interrupted by poor health.

Jacob returned to Cleveland in 1911 to enter the Cleveland Twist Drill Co. as an assistant to his father, who founded the company in 1876—originally begun on a $2,000 loan from Mr. Cox’s grandfather to buy a 50% stake in  C.C. Newton’s small twist drill factory in Dunkirk, New York. Later that year, he moved the company to Cleveland. In 1880 the firm became Cox and Prentiss Co. Cox succeeded partner Francis Prentiss as president of the company, already called Cleveland Twist Drill Co.

Jacob Cox Jr. succeeded his father as president in 1919. The company became a leader in the manufacture of drills and other small metal-working tools.

Cox was interested in relations between management and labor. While president, there was never a work stoppage due to a labor dispute. He introduced employee benefits considered standard today, including two weeks of vacation, a share in the company’s profits at Christmas, profit sharing and participation in the company’s investment, pension on retirement at age 65, a sickness and accident fund, payments for suggestions, group life insurance, and promotion from the ranks.

He later wrote a book, "The Economic Basis of Fair Wages." His innovative policies, which included hiring disabled persons whenever possible, served as models for similar programs throughout the country.

At age 55, Jacob married Phyllis Graves on November 23, 1937. Phyllis was born on April 12, 1889, and graduated from Radcliffe College. Phyllis was the principal of Roxboro Junior High School before marriage. Jacob and Phyllis had no children.

Cox was a director of the Cleveland Trust Company, president of the National Metal Trades Association, and the Cleveland Engineering Society.

Civic activities included the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, trustee of St. Luke’s Hospital, Lake View Cemetery Association, Western Reserve Historical Society, Young Men’s Christian Association, Fenn College, and Case Institute of Technology.

In addition to Phi Beta Kappa, Jacob was a member of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology, with a mission of recognizing and promoting excellence in the science and application of psychology.

Social memberships included the Country. Kirtland, and University clubs.

Jacob died on February 16, 1953, in the Hanna House of University Hospitals. Phyllis died on August 19, 1965. Both are buried in Lake View Cemetery.