#20. Clarence J. “Bill” Rodman Becomes a Generous Benefactor to the City

Ribbon cutting at Rodman Public Library

Ribbon cutting at Rodman Public Library, Feb. 9, 1963

Born in Wisconsin in 1890, Clarence Rodman earned advanced degrees in chemical engineering and honorary Doctor of Science and L.L.D. degrees. He began his career as a research chemist and engineer with Eastman Kodak and Westinghouse.  He came to Alliance at the request of his father-in-law William Purcell to take over the management of the Buckeye Jack Company in 1926. At the same time, Dr. Rodman also partnered with Purcell to found the Alliance Toy Manufacturing Company.  The company started out producing scooters and wagons, then branched out into hedge shears and lawn tools.  By 1927 the company had dropped the toy lines and became known as the Alliance Manufacturing Company. By the early 1940s, Rodman gave up his position with the Alliance Manufacturing Company to concentrate on his other business interests.

In 1927, Rodman had founded the Steel Sanitary Company, which did research and development of the first successful steel bathtub in the country. Utilizing the research from Steel Sanitary, he founded Alliance Porcelain Products Company in 1934, which produced pressed steel bathtubs and sinks. The company would be renamed AllianceWare in 1944.

Another company founded by Dr. Rodman in the 1950s was the Alliance Tool Company, which helped to refurbish the Clarke Observatory telescope at Mount Union College.

C. J. Rodman served on the Alliance Board of Education and was a director of Mount Union Bank and Midland-Buckeye Savings and Loan. He was also a member of the Rotary Club, Wranglers Club, Exchange Club, and Masons.

Rodman Playhouse

Rodman Playhouse at Mount Union College

Clarence J. Rodman and his wife Hazel Purcell Rodman were benefactors to many institutions and organizations. In 1956, Rodman pledged $250,000 to build a new library in Alliance if the community would match his donation; Rodman Public Library is named in his honor.  He donated $22,500 in 1969 towards the establishment of what would become Butler-Rodman Park in Alliance. The Rodmans donated to Mount Union College to establish Rodman Playhouse in 1954. Dr. Rodman also made donations to other institutions from which he held degrees, Ripon College and Parsons College.

Through his work and companies, C. J. Rodman was the holder of numerous patents; he was also the recipient of many awards and honors for his work and philanthropy.  He and his wife were the parents of two sons, Robert L. Rodman and James P. Rodman. Dr. Rodman died in 1972, leaving a legacy of innovation and generosity which will not soon be forgotten.