Lloyd Groff Copeman

(1881-1956)

by: Anonymous

Born and raised in Farmers Creek, Lapeer County, Michigan, Lloyd G. Copeman was a typical all American boy. He attended local elementary and high schools as well as Michigan State University where he studied engineering. His educational experience was, though, more like that of other child geniuses in that he was too precocious to be bothered by much book learning.

As a young man he worked for Baldwin Locomotive, Philadelphia Edison Electric, Electric Power Company of Spokane, Washington, Detroit Edison, and Consumers Power. It is these early experiences that sparked many of the ideas for his inventions.

In 1911, with financial help from a collective of Flint personalities, Lloyd opened the Copeman Electric Stove Company. It was through this company that Copeman produced and marketed his electric stoves and automatic electric toasters. Poor sales, however, forced the company to sell out to Westinghouse Corporation. Westinghouse, with its national sales force, turned Copeman’s inventions into a standard feature in homes around the world.

The next stage of Copeman’s career was set in 1918 when he and Edwin Atwood established the Copeman Laboratories Company. This was the setting from which there emerged a large number of Lloyd’s most ingenious, practical and profitable inventions.

While an employee of Copeman Laboratories, Lloyd received numerous patents on the electric refrigerator. It was there that he also experimented with rubber latex—a substance that seemed to obsess him. The rubber ice cube tray was yet another product of Copeman Laboratories.

For various financial and personal reasons, Lloyd resigned from the Laboratories in 1936. From then on, he worked largely from the laboratory in the basement of his home in Farmers Creek. During the 1940’s he established the Cope-Craft Products Company, which produced, and mail order marketed various bird feeders, birdhouses and related items.

Lloyd Copeman kept on inventing nearly until his death in 1956. He was awarded between 600 and 650 patents by Canada and the United States. He married Hazel Berger in 1904 and they had three children; Lloyd Berger Copeman (1907-1968), Ruth Mary Copeman Ronstadt (1914-1982), and Elizabeth Jane Copeman Gerlach (1918-1998). His always-active mind led him to try injecting chickens with solutions to make their meat taste like beef, as well as to invent kitchen appliances that are in daily use. His numerous contributions have been for the improvement of our society and of our lives.

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