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Who is A. O. Smith?

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Quick Answer

Arthur Oliver Smith was the son of the founder of C.J. Smith and Sons, the company that would go on to be known as A.O. Smith Corporation. He is best known for developing the first pressed steel vehicle frame.

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Full Answer

Smith was born in 1859. His father, Charles Jeremiah Smith, founded C.J. Smith and Sons in 1874. The company originally manufactured bicycle parts and baby carriages but branched out into automotive parts with Arthur's development of the pressed steel frame. They supplied frames to Ford, Cadillac and the Peerless Automobile Company and became the nation's largest automotive frame producer. Arthur took control of the company when his father retired. The company changed its name to the A.O. Smith Company in 1904.

Arthur ran the company until his death in 1913, at which point his son Lloyd Raymond took over. The company went on to manufacture bomb casings and aircraft parts for the United States during World War I and II and gradually branched out into many other products such as water heaters, treatment tanks and electric motors. As of 2015, the company retains Arthur's name and specializes in water products. Its headquarters in Ashland City, Tennessee is home to the world's largest water heater factory.

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