2021 marks the 115th anniversary of Balcrank Corporation. Below you will find topics and images celebrating Balcrank’s achievements from its inception, products and more throughout the year
Balcrank Then vs. Now
The Cincinnati Ball Crank Company was founded on July 12, 1906 by Thomas L. Pogue, Clifford Gren, James A. Forbes and Henry and Louis Wessel in the heart of Cincinnati, Ohio’s “Machine Tool Colony”. The first products produced by Balcrank were hand wheels and cranks used by the machine tool industry. The Cincinnati Ball Crank Company got its name from the production of ball-sockets and hand cranks and was commonly referred to as Ball Crank.
Balcrank is one of the oldest manufacturers of automotive lubrication products. Since its beginning, we have been providing our customers with the best products for the ever changing Automotive Commercial and Industrial markets. Our products service automotive quick lubes, dealerships, fleet, and commercial vehicle centers. Our product line has expanded, encompassing the heavy-duty market, which includes: trucking, municipalities, railroad, marine, industrial and mining. Our new line of Lion pumps, large hose reels and high volume control handles allows us to dispense oil products up to 32 gal per minute and grease up to 88 lb per minute.
115 years later, Balcrank Corporation provides system solutions for all types of vehicle maintenance facilities and industrial manufacturing. Our goal is to continue our traditions and evolve in markets and applications that make sense for our continued growth.
From humble beginnings in 1906 to being one of the oldest manufactures of automobile lubrication products, Balcrank continues to be focused on high quality, fast delivery and excellent service to our customers.
In 1906, Ball Crank was the first to mass produce “balanced” three-ball cranks, cast steel and aluminum hand wheels for the machine tool industries. The innovative three-ball design kept the cranks balanced after adjustment to lock it in place to prevent it from moving. Today these ball-cranks are still proudly made in the USA.
Shortly after the three-ball cranks introduction to the market, a line of control handles was created. These control handles became the high-quality choice for demanding builders of machine tools, valves, actuators, instruments and control systems. Balcrank controls are strong and reliable enough to be found in the most sensitive applications – medical and military – where precise machine response is imperative.
The leading company of firsts and innovation, Ball Crank also became the first mass producer of starting cranks for automobiles. In 1908, Ball Crank introduced the steering drag links to the automotive industry. Almost every automotive manufacturer adopted these drag links and for the first time, steering a car became an easy task. The ball and socket technology behind the steering drag links would then be perfected and officially patented in 1931.
Growing into the Lubrication Markets
Always looking forward, in 1922 Balcrank entered the lubrication field by inventing and producing the first electric grease gun. The following year Balcrank was the first to patent the hydraulic coupler and fittings which are still universally used today. In 1923, Balcrank introduced the foot operated Model D grease gun into its fast-growing grease gun line.
The early 1920’s was a busy and prosperous time for Balcrank as they continued their pattern of “firsts”. In 1924, the first air operated high-pressure/volume grease gun was developed and then just 2 years later, the first air powered lubrication pump was developed. These pumps came in high and low pressures with a “DeLuxe” shell. DeLuxe pumps were finished in red and black enamel with highly polished chromium trim. Portable Deluxe units were also available with large noiseless composition casters and chromium handles.
After these successes, Balcrank began to branch out into more industrial markets by introducing its “AA” Air Lubricator specifically designed for trucks, busses and other large industrial vehicles.
Then vs. Now: Product Evolution – Hose Reel
In 1930, the Model R-20 Balcrank hose reel with hose stops made its debut, marking it as the first Balcrank hose reel developed. It was an air reel that was adaptable to ceiling, wall or floor installations. The standard unit was finished in black enamel with white lettering.
Starting in the 1940’s and into 1950’s, as more types of hose reels were developed, the Lubette was created. The Lubette was a special cabinet that would fit between the bays of a typical 2 bay service station that would house hose reels, meters, and then later, the famous “Jet Power” pump which was introduced in 1948. The cabinets would be mounted on the floor and came in a variety of models.
Fast forward to today, and the Balcrank hose reel line has grown to accommodate all matter of installations and applications with its Signature Series Reels.
Balcrank Signature Series hose reels are built for the toughest environments and applications. The Evolution is lightweight but extremely durable. The Classic reel offers over a decade of proven performance and is an excellent choice for general duty, automotive dealerships, and service garages. The Premium reel features improved serviceability and advanced design features for long life in the toughest environments while reducing overall weight.
For heavy duty environments choose the EV, EVX & EVX+ reels. These reels are designed for larger hoses, higher volume and flow requirements in industrial, construction, and mining environments.
The Cincinnati Ball Crank Company got its name from the production of ball-sockets and hand cranks and was commonly referred to as Ball Crank. In 1933, 27 years after Ball Crank’s inception, the Board of Directors voted to officially change the name Ball Crank to Balcrank, Inc.
Throughout the century of Balcrank’s history, the company grew and changed not only in size and product offerings, but in its brand and marketing image. The company rebranded 8 separate times before landing on the most current logo being used today.
Below is an estimated timeline of the evolution of Balcrank’s logo:
Here is a closer look at each logo with an estimated time of how long it was used as its branding image. More often than not, the logos listed below have a transitional overlap in which two logos were used at the same time.
|MODELS AVAILABLE||EXTENSION TYPE & NOZZLE||EXTENSION CODE U/M|
|Verify ID of ATF fill port for compatibility.|
|3330-205||Flex-memory | 1/4 turn – OIL||3332-093||QT|
|3330-206||Flex 90 | 1/4 turn – ATF||3332-104||QT|
|3330-207||Rigid | 1/4 turn – OIL||3332-091||QT|
|3330-208||Flex 90 | 1/4 turn – OIL||3332-092||QT|
|3330-212||Flex-memory | 1/4 turn – OIL||3332-093||L|
|3330-213||Flex 90 | 1/4 turn – ATF||3332-104||L|
|3330-214||Rigid | 1/4 turn – OIL||3332-091||L|
|3330-215||Flex 90 | 1/4 turn – OIL||3332-092||L|
• 6-digit totalizer; keeps lifetime record of volume dispensed in gallons
• Meter with odometer display, works without batteries and performs well in all environments
• No calibration required; precision machined metering chamber assures repeatable accuracy
• Ergonomically designed grip handle for optimum comfort
• Unique 1/4 turn manual non-drip tip; fast, simple
• Included swivel hose-end cover, protects vehicle or machine surfaces from scratches
• Synthetic and mineral based lubricants
• Gear Oil
• Hydraulic oil and fluids
• Anti-freeze (Glycol) and anti-freeze water solution
• Car and truck dealers
• Fast lube and maintenance shops
• Mining and construction
• Lube trucks
|Units of measure
(in 0.01 increments)
|Quarts & Liters (totalizer Gallons)|
|Flow range||0.25 – 8 gal/min (1 – 30 l/min)|
|Max pressure||1,000 psi (70 bar)|
|Swivel inlet||1/2” NPT (F)|
|Dispense Nozzle OD||Auto=0.605″
Manual 1/4 turn for Oil =0.705″
Manual 1/4 turn for ATF =0.315″
Verify the ID of ATF fill port for compatibility
|Operating temp||14ºF-160ºF (-10ºC-70ºC)|
|Battery||2 x 1.5 v alkaline “AAA”|
|Weight||4 lbs (1.80 kg) (meter)|
|Compatible fluids||Oil, transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid, and anti-freeze|
|Wetted materials||Acetal, aluminum, stainless steel, NBR, Zinc plated steel, TPU, Polyamide|
Standalone tank controller with 4 channels capable of controlling up to 4 different tanks or fluids. Each channel can connect to a solenoid valve, remote alarm or strobe light.
The TM Control can be used as a high or low-level control to prevent overflow, or as a pump shutoff to prevent the pump from running dry, and allowing air to enter the system.
|Function||Stand alone tank controller|
|Requirements & Limitations||4 tanks or 4 fluids|