In 1920, Alexander Henderson Brodie, Jr., fresh out of the Navy and Pratt Institute, reopened an old blacksmith shop in Brooklyn for the purpose of manufacturing and repairing automotive leaf springs. By 1928, when he incorporated George Lawrence Inc. of Cambridge, Malden Auto Spring and Lyon Auto Spring, he had acquired some thirteen spring and brake shops in the New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston areas. The business
flourished into and after World War II to the point where the
company employed 380 people in 34 separate corporations from Reading, Pennsylvania, through New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
After World War I, Mr. Brodie decided that the leaf spring
business had limited future what with the development of coil
springs and air cushion suspension systems. He then entered into a very aggressive program of acquiring truck equipment and trailer franchises. It was at this time that Walt Geisenhainer, a New York CPA, joined the firm as Controller.
In the last quarter of 1948, Clark Equipment Company, aware of the tremendous service reputation that the “BJ’s chain had developed throughout the north-eastern seaboard, asked if we would set up service and parts locations in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Portland, Philadelphia, Camden, Harrisburg, Baltimore, Providence and Boston. It was then that Malden Spring Company, the appointed service location for Boston, spun off Brodie Industrial Trucks, Inc., and set up shop on Commercial Street in Malden. In the early part of 1949 the Brodie chain, Malden included, acquired the full sales franchise and Clark sales staff as well. The business grew slowly.
By 1955 many of the spring shops had been sold off and the
Company concentrated on material handling. Walt Geisenhainer transferred from New York to run the Boston and Buffalo
operations and Steve Brodie became president of the New York operation. In 1958 we moved to Route 128 in Woburn and
eventually sold off the interest in the spring business in Massachusetts.
During the next several years the western Massachusetts
franchisers were sold off and Rhode Island became a separate
dealership with one of our salesmen established as the principal.
Our area of major marketing activity was fixed at that time and it included eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. These changes resulted in the full concentration and expansion of our material handling business in this area.
In the latter part of 1963 Mr. Brodie sold his interest in Brodie Industrial Trucks and the last remaining spring shop in this areas, George Lawrence Inc., to Walt Geisehainer, from this point forward we developed into one of the largest fork truck parts, service sales and rental organizations in the country. As the business grew, staff and plant facilities were expanded.
The George Lawrence operations was consolidated with the Woburn operation in 1964 and ultimately phased out in 1968 as a result of the decline in demand for that type of service, coupled with expansion in the fork truck business.
1970’s – 1980’s saw continued expansion with the opening our RT. 1 Sharon, MA location. Located within 5 miles of Gillette Stadium this allowed to provide outstanding support to south eastern MA, Cape Cod and Rhode Island.
1995 Brodie made the decision to align and begin a new directions by adding Toyota Industrial Equipment to their Material Handling line-up.
During 1997 Ronald McCluskey purchased the remaining shares of Brodie to become the President – Owner of Brodie. This move led to the establishment of Brodie Toyota Lift and the business grew rapidly as Toyota began its journey to #1 in the USA and worldwide.
Today Brodie Material Handling consists of Brodie Toyota-Lift, Ottawa of New England, Kalmar Ottawa is the dominate manufacturer in the yard truck spotter business. Industrial battery of New England is our full service Enersys battery and charger business.
The future for Brodie is extremely exciting in 2023 we will celebrate 75 years in business. As a locally owned business we look forward to continue growth.