Industrial America - 1952. Peter A Frasse and Co, Inc. Conversion Guide to New Designation System for Wrought Aluminum and Wrought Aluminum Alloys.
Levellers - from a 1959 industrial machinery ad from The Yoder Company, 5509 Walworth Ave., Cleveland, OH.
Optimism. From a 1959 magazine ad.
“We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.”
- Peter Thiel on the 1950s/60s promise of technological progress, largely unfulfilled.
In 1959, the Logan Engineering Co. was making a variety of industrial metal lathes at their main plant at 4901 West Lawrence Avenue in Chicago’s Jefferson park neighborhood.
1935:The company is founded in Chicago at 4541 Ravenswood Ave. The firm initially made hoist controllers.
late 1930s: The company moves to a new 14,000 square foot plant at 4901 West Lawrence.
1940: The company begins to manufacture small lathes for Montgomery Ward.
1941: The company begins manufacturing lathes under its own name.
1949: The plant at 4901 West Lawrence more than quadruples to 62,000 square feet.
1969: The company is sold to Houdaille Industries.
1970: The Chicago plant is closed and manufacturing is moved to Tennessee by the new parent company.
1979: A group of senior Houdaille managers, assisted by KKR, take the company private in a leveraged buyout (LBO).
1982: The economic recession and increased Japanese competition begins to significantly affect Houdaille’s profits, especially in the machine tool area.
1985: Unable to continue to service the debt incurred in the LBO, Houdaille sells off or closes its entire machine tool division. Some parts such as Strippit-DiAcro in Buffalo are sold. Other parts, such as Burgmaster, were completely shut down.
Logan seems to have been integrated by Houdaille into the Powermatic division before the big divestiture happened. Some later Logan lathes do have a badge reading “Logan lathes by Powermatic; A Division of Houdaille Industries”.
1986: The Powermatic division of Houdaille is sold to DeVlieg Bullard.
1999: The Powermatic line is sold to by DeVlieg Bullard to Jet Machinery.
2002: Jet / Powermatic becomes a part of Switzerland-based Walter Meier Holdings.
Now: At some point at or after the sale of the Powermatic division by Houdaille, the Logan line was discontinued. The precise point at which this happened in unclear.
Verdict: Logan Lathes no longer exists, shut down after a roughly 50 year lifespan. The exact reason is difficult to pinpoint, but the end was set in motion by a financial maneuver known as a Leveraged Buyout by a parent company’s executives as advised/guided by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR).
The original 1935 headquarters at 4541 N. Ravenswood Ave. in Chicago is still standing. The huge plant on West Lawrence Ave. in Chicago has been razed and seems to now be residential housing.
In 1959, the Eclipse Counterbore Company was making end mills and other cutting devices at their plants in Michigan. These are machinist’s cutting tools that are basic to the milling process.
Little information is available about the origins of Eclipse Counterbore. The earliest reference I could find was from 1917. A book called “Perry’s Guide of Detroit and Suburbs” listed them at 24 John R Street. Judging by pictures of the neighborhood in downtown Detroit, this was most likely a small workshop.
1918: The annual report from the Michigan Dept. of Labor Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics states that Eclipse Counterbore had 18 employees on June 25 and 34 employees on October 18.
1922: By this date, the company had expanded and had a factory at 7410 St. Aubin Street, Hamtramck, according to an ad in the American Machine Tool and Record magazine. That volume referred to the company as the Eclipse Interchangeable Counterbore Company.
Throughout the 1930s, the company was awarded patents for new cutting tool designs and faced litigation with companies such as the Gairing Tool Co. over competing designs. (Circuit Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit)
1943: The company was significantly involved in war production throughout WWII. In 1943, the left wing Mechanics Educational Society of America, a militant independent union, called a strike at the Hamtramck plant due to their exclusion from the War Labor Board. (“Called To Explain No-Strike Defiance”, NY Times, 2/14/1943)
At some point, a factory was also built at 1600 Bonner Avenue in Ferndale, MI.
1962: Illinois Tool Works, Inc. acquires the company (Chicago Tribune, 5/9/1962)
1987: Illinois Tool Works spins off the Detroit-based Eclipse Counterbore Division and the Pine Bluff, Arkansas Drill and End Mill Division into a new company: Eclipse Industrial Products, Inc. of St. Louis. (Reuters, 3/20/1987)
1991: Eclipse Industrial Products is purchased by the Harbour Group of St. Louis, a holding company that purchases and restructures/resells/divests/downsizes manufacturing companies.
1992: The Pine Bluff plant and its machinery had been sold to YG-1 Co. Ltd. of Korea, the same company that absorbed the remnants of Winter Brothers taps (see below). (Arkansas Business magazine, 4/27/1992)
Both the 7410 St. Aubin Street, Hamtramck and the 1600 Bonner Avenue, Ferndale plants have been razed. Their earlier building at 24 John R Street at the corner of Woodward Ave. in downtown Detroit still seems to be standing.
Verdict: Founded before 1917, the Eclipse Counterbore Company stood as an independent company for roughly 50 years, was sold at least 3 times, and was dismantled by a holding company in the early 90s.
In 1959, Armstrong Bros. Tool Company was making machinist’s set-up and hold-down tools at a plant at 5208 W. Armstrong Ave. in the Jefferson Park neighborhood of northwest Chicago. These machinist clamps were a small part of the broad range of tools made by Armstrong.
1890: Armstrong Bros. Tool Co. was founded by four brothers, first generation sons of a Scottish immigrant. At first the company focused on bicycle tools and parts.
1895: The company introduces lathe tool holders.
1900: The company drops the bicycle tool line and focuses 100% on manufacturing tool holders. They move into a plant at 617 Austin Ave., Chicago.
1905: A new 100,000 sq. ft. plant is built at 317 North Francisco Ave. in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood.
1909: Armstrong introduces drop forged wrenches, adding hand tools to their product line.
1948: The company moves to their West Armstrong Ave. location.
1974: Armstrong begins production at a new plant in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
1994: Danaher Corporation acquires Armstrong, keeping it as a distinct brand and operating unit. At some point, Armostrong moves completely out of the West Armstrong Ave. plant, it is demolished, and residences are built on the old site.
Now: Armstrong Tools remains a part of the Danaher Tool Group, along with operating units and brands such as GearWrench and Allen. All Armstrong Tools seem to be made in the USA at the Fayetteville, AR plant.
Armstrong Tools existed as an independent company for 104 years before being purchased by a conglomerate. They still produce the exact same types of U.S.-made machinist clamps as they did in 1959, as well as a wide range of extremely high quality hand tools.
Verdict: Armstrong Tools remains a viable American manufacturing company, producing high-quality U.S.-made tools.
In 1959, The Bunting Brass and Bronze Corporation was making cast bronze bearings at their plant in the 700 block of Spencer Street, Toledo, Ohio. The bearings were used as new or replacement units for electrical motors in machine tools.
1907: Bunting Brass and Bronze was founded in Alliance, Ohio by William Bunting
1909: The company moves to Spencer Street in Toledo
1968: National Lead Company (later known as NL Industries) purchases Bunting Brass and Bronze from the Bunting family as part of the rise of conglomerate corporations in the 1960s. Bunting retains its identity under National Lead.
1980: NL Industries closes the Spencer Street plant in Toledo 2 weeks before Christmas. 100 Bunting employees lose their jobs. Employment at the plant had declined from a high of 1,000 during WWII. At least one other plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan remained open. (Toledo Blade, December 11, 1980)
1981: Eagle-Picher buys the Bunting division from NL Industries.
1989: Four EaglePicher employees purchase the Bunting division, renaming it Bunting Bearings Corp.
1990: The company headquarters is moved to Holland, Ohio.
2004: Bunting Bearings is purchased by Bunting Acquisition, LLC and renamed Bunting Bearings, LLC
Now: Bunting manufactures a wide line of bronze bearings, bars, washers and other industrial products in Holland, OH; Delta, OH; Portage, MI, and Mansfield, OH.
Bunting Bearings is in its 4th incarnation, but 105 years after its founding still manufactures all metal products in the U.S. using U.S. engineering and manufacturing skill.
Verdict: Bunting remains a large-scale manufacturer, operating 4 plants in the midwest.
In 1959, Sanford Manufacturing Corp. was manufacturing industrial grinders at 1026 Commerce Ave., Union, NJ. They specialized in smaller well-built grinders.
1941: Sanford Manufacturing is formed in Union, NJ
Now: The company is defunct.
A VERY limited amount of information is available on the company, but is seems to have disappeared sometime in the late 1990s or early 2000s.
It is no longer active on the New Jersey Secretary of State website, although the site still does show that the company first registered a trademark in 1946.
The company seems to have had the following addresses:
1026 Commerce Ave., Union, NJ
(the 1958 MacRae’s Blue Book lists them at 1002 Commerce Ave.)
300 Cox Street, Roselle, NJ
241 East Highland Parkway, Roselle, NJ
Google Street View confirms that the company is not still located at any of these addresses. Their old phone number in Roselle (908-245-0505) now belongs to a take out food company.
Some manuals and schematics are available at:
Verdict: The company was founded in 1941 and lasted at least 55 years, but has closed.
In 1959, ALMCO manufactured vibratory finishing machines used to deburr and finish small metal parts. One example was the Vibrasheen model, made at 410 East Main Street, Albert Lea, Minnesota.
1946: The Albert Lea Machine Company incorporates as ALMCO
1947: The company is acquired by the Queen Stove Works
1957: Queen Stove Works, including the ALMCO division, is purchased by King-Seely Thermos Company
1958: McRae’s Blue Book shows the main company location as 902-910 Marshall Ave. in Albert Lea.
1968: King-Seely is purchased by Household Finance Corp. of Chicago, although the ALMCO name continues on.
1986: An employee group buys the ALMCO division as ALMCO, Inc.
2004: ALMCO is purchased by Innovance of Albert, Lea, MN, and continues to operate under the ALMCO identity.
Now: ALMCO continues to manufacture vibratory finishing equipment, as well as other manufacturing machinery, in a 55,000 sq.ft. manufacturing facility in Albert Lea.
ALMCO is still in business after 65 years, manufacturing equipment in 1959 in their Minnesota factory.
Verdict: ALMCO still an American manufacturer, making products with U.S. engineering talent and labor.