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
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.