Monarch employment level, June 15, 1937
"June 15, 1937
In starting a series of special articles on the disappearances of the relief roll in the community, The Sidney Daily News finds that the Monarch Machine Tool Company has passed the previous high point of employment. The local plant now has 483 employees and last month's payroll was $60,000. During the depression, the plant has only 40 on the payroll, while in 1929 the previous high peak was 285."
From "Out of the Past" in the Sidney Daily News.
Thought the history buffs would find this interesting. Would love to get my hands on the complete artical.
If you can edit the title, do so. Moderators do not like titles like this and probably will lock the post. Make it something like "Monarch Machine Tool Co., June 15, 1937"
'37's unemployment rate was about as bad as any in our history.
This photograph of a bread line in that year is well known.
how many work there today?
If you're asking how many people are working for Monarch Machine Tool turning out those solid old machines we all love to run, the answer is none. Here, in erratic English, is a thumbnail sketch of the company's march from stardom to oblivion (quoted from wiki.answers.com).
"The Monarch Machine Tool company was founded at 614 Oak St in Sidney Ohio in 1909. It would become a leading producer of engine and toolroom lathes ranging from swings of 10" to 30"+. Monarch was a leader in lathe development by patenting the cone clutches found on all lathe aprons for controlling the longitudinal and cross side feeds. Monarch also pioneer the use of helical gears in the headstock, force lubrication and flame hardening of the bed and other wear items.
In 1955 Monarch was the first U.S. machine builder to build and demonstrate a NC lathe. Monarch would be a major NC and CNC lathe builder into the early 1980's. In 1963 Monarch purchased the Eudlane (sp) Machine company, builder of drilling machines, in Cortland, NY, and renamed it Monarch Cortland. In 1968, Monarch bought Stamco in New Bremen, OH. In 1973 Monarch bought the English lathe maker Dean, Smith and Grace.
By the beginning of the 1980's Monarch was seeing record profits from all divisions, but by the end of the decade Monarch was hard hit (along with the rest of the U.S. machine tool industry). Monarch try to regain market share in the CNC lathe market by introducing the Ultra-Center with its patent tool turret changer which allowed the lathe to change 24 tools in less than 30 seconds, and to do complete change over in less than 6 minutes. It also introduced the smaller Predator CNC lathe that was originally designed by Dean, Smith and Grace, just before Monarch closed this division in 1993. These lathes help win market share but it was not enough to keep the lathe division profitable and it was sold to the Lucas group in 1997, which continued operations under the name Monarch Lathe LP.
Monarch Machine Tool change it name to Genesis World Wide and concentrated on the Stamco coil processing equipment. Genesis sold off the Cortland division in 2000 which keep the name Monarch Machine Tool Co. In 2002 Genesis World Wide went into bankruptcy."
The thread brings to mind a conversation I had with a much older engineer in the late 1970's. At that point, this other engineer had to have been well into his eighties. He told me he had been in the machine tool business prior to WWII. During WWII, he worked for the War Production Board. What that older engineer told me was that during the late 1930's, Japanese businessmen were in the US, and they were buying up large lots of new and used US machine tools. Anything from smaller production machine tools like hand screw machines to vertical boring mills. This engineer said the Japanese were doing the purchases through US "front" corporations, but the machine tools were being shipped out by the shipload. The older engineer said that it was obvious to him the Japanese government was building up for war, and he figured we'd be attacked. He went to congressmen and anyone else who might have some influence to try to get the sale and exportation of US machine tools to the Japanese stopped. No one paid him any mind. The result was, as he put it, we got our scrap iron made into armaments by our machine tools fired right back at us.
1937 was during the Great Depression in the USA, as was noted. However, events in Europe and Japan probably had something to do with Monarch having a rise in employment (and orders). By 1937, it was obvious Nazi Germany had been building up its armed forces and armaments and was going to war. My guess is England may well have been ordering US Machine Tools even then to tool up for the imminent war. At the same time, Japan was in a massive buildup of their own armed forces and armaments as I have noted. I wonder if any of Monarch's lathes during 1937 went for export to our allies, or possibly to Japan ?
A very interesting question. In terms of that period of our history, many of us have had a tendency to think of classic American iron as going from the factory into American shops, period, without regard to the export market. It is quite possible that our government thought it prudent to not advertise too widely exports that clearly were tied to considerations of war preparedness. The quiet nature of the Japanese purchases of our machines suggests that they too were not anxious to step into the spotlight.
That was not actually an unemployment bread line. It was a result of a flood in Louisville.
Originally Posted by Marty Feldman
Margaret Bourke-White - At the Time of the Louisville Flood
I continue to be amazed by what I learn on this forum. I have been driving by the 'new' Monarch Machine Tool facility on NY Route 13 any time I have had to go to Cortland or Syracuse since it was built, I think. It has been there for a long time. Never made the connection to 'The' Monarch company. Anyone know what they still produce there?
No matter what the photo was from I am sure none of the people standing in front of that sign felt like they belonged in it....sad to say but true.
Originally Posted by 9100
In response to Marty Feldman's post, I am reminded of a photo in a book I have. The book is a prospectus from a Japanese shipbuilding and "heavy industry" firm in the early 1950's. The firm built ships, powerplant equipment, railroad locomotives and rolling stock, and refinery and process equipment. Before and during WWII, their main shipyards had been "dockyards" for the Imperial Japanese Navy. Many Japanese naval vessels which participated in WWII were built in those yards. After WWII, the yards and shops were converted to peacetime uses, and became a privatized corporation. There are a couple of photos taken in the heavy machine shops which show Betts vertical boring mills in use. Plain as day, there is the name "Betts" and "rochester, NY, USA" cast on the rail of the VBM. I wondered whether those Betts VBM's were ordered prior to WWII for the arms buildup, and effectively used against us.
Once upon a time, in the days of manual machine tools and turret lathes and screw machines, the USA tooled up the world. WWII drove the US machine tool industry to unprecedented levels of production. I still contend that the machine tools built to the War Production Board standards were some of the most rugged, most user-friendly, and long lived machine tools. I am probably prejudiced in saying it, but in my opinion, the War Production Board machine tools were the best. Something like a Monarch, Lodge and Shipley or a Reed & Prentice or a Hendey engine lathe from that era is so rugged and long-lived they seem to hold their accuracy despite many years of neglect, lack of proper maintainence if not abuse. The idea of a "five year throwaway" machine tool was not in the thinking when those machine tools were designed and built. We tooled up the world prior to WWII, and then we went into overdrive and tooled up our allies during WWII.
The sad reality is that the buildup for WWII and WWII itself were a significant factor in pulling the country out of the Great Depression. People speak of the "finest generation" and look back on the era with some nostalgia. We can all do that, thinking in terms of the people, what they did, and thinking in terms of machine tool plants like Monarch going 3 shafts and cranking out record numbers of lathes. But, there is a saying my folks had. Dad was a WWII vet, on 50% disability. Mom had worked during WWII as a statistician in the Office of War Information. They knew the realities. My folks used to say: "Wars are good business. Invest your sons."
Bill - Thanks for the correct information on the photograph.
This same thing is going on today. This country sells everything to whoever wants to buy. We have consistantly over the years exported our technology for profit regardless of how it is used. Nothing is sancrosanct, regardless of the Department of State rules. They are a beaurocracy and therefore innefficient. Of course some exports are blocked, but they still occur through third parties. The results are the same. When this country fights the next war, we will be fighting against our own technology.
Total payroll for a month of $60,000 for that many guys. According to the inflation calculator that $124/month would be equal to $1,978 today.
I read that they sold the plant a couple of years ago to a plastic company. Not sure if they are still using part of the plant or moved to a different location.
Originally Posted by duckfarmer27
In another thread, we discussed something similar. It comes down to this: in the world of business, social and moral responsibility and the bottom line are mutually exclusive of each other. In other words: the world of business has sold whatever soul it had a long time ago, and is only concerned with their bottom line and bonuses, no matter what consequences result- wars, devastation, economic wastelands, pollution, exploitation of working people- these are all justifiable if it brings a good bottom line. Nowadays, US companies send work offshore for a variety of reasons. Two big ones are cheap labor and a lack of environmental or industrial safety regulations or oversight. The big corporations send the technology offshore, and insulate themselves from being accused of running sweatshops or using slave labor by a few layers of corporations and contractors, but the end result is the same. As I have said before, go find a business school that teaches its students to put a sense of ethics, loyalty for one's country, a sense of social responsibility, and basic "do the right thing" ahead of the bottom line. You won't find it. Go look at who the deans and professors are in the top business schools in the USA. They are in the pay or corporate America.
In WWII, we got our technology thrown or fired back at us with regularity. US corporations equipped and armed all sides in the conflict. IBM had set up data collection and processing networks for the Nazi government even before WWII broke out, and managed and serviced this vis neutral Switzerland. GM, DuPont and other corporations had plants within Germany, so much so that Allied bombing raids were often planned to avoid hitting them as targets.
Nothing changes. If anything, it has gotten worse with the use of computers to make global corporations possible.
But, we have to take some consolation in that wars will not be fought using heavy weaponry requiring vast steel mills and shipyards and machine shops to produce. It is an era of unmanned drones, missiles, and tactical strikes with lighter weaponry produced by CNC machining and using microchips. A Monarch lathe or a W & S turret lathe would not help much in the production of this modern generation of weaponry and ordinance.
Of course with the type of warheads and warfare agents now available, and the fact that our enemies (which are more numerous and more rabid than ever) also have the technology, I suppose we can make a case that all we can do is kiss our a-- goodbye and hide under the bed. In actuality, it does not come down to machine tools or production as in WWII, but who has the best technological edge. It can be a war fought from the inside, by hacking into an enemy's computers to mess up their nuclear program, or it can be a war fought by that new generation of weapons using drones and missiles often controlled from afar. It is less about tonnage of steel produced or tonnage of naval vessels than it is about that technological edge nowadays. For that reason, I do not get too upset about our supposed selling of technology. Yes, I think it is wrong. But, I tend to think the US has the proverbial ace up its sleeve with that little extra edge. Let our enemies think they bought the latest and greatest from unscrupulous dealers or global corporations.... I tend to think we still hold that little extra edge in what the true "cutting edge" technology really is.
Wow - people actual have read the little history I posted - cool:
Originally Posted by Marty Feldman
There is a split in the Monarch name. The Monarch plant in Cortland, NY is still in operation in some incarnation. They took over the Edlund corporation, which made drill presses. Now, Monarch in Cortland, NY offers CNC machining centers. I sue the word "offers" as I am unsure whether they actually build them there or get them from offshore OEM's. They note in their own webiste that they got their start in vertical machining centers from the Edlund drill presses which were originally made at the Cortland plant. Monarch (the lathe maker), took over Edlund in the late 1960's. Monarch Machine Tool is the owner/operators of the Cortland, NY plant.
Somewhere in all this, Lucas Precision was formed out of the remains of a number of machine tool manufacturers, Monarch lathe in this mix. Lucas Precision owned the rights and remaining assets of the lathe builders: Monarch, Sidney, and Lodge and Shipley. They also owned the rights and assets of Carlton radial drill and a few other machine tool builders. They were based out of Sidney, OH and had operations there and in a portion of the old Warner and Swasey plant in Cleveland. In the W & S plant, they had a small fraction of the buildings. Lucas precision had set up some machine tools and production machining to make parts for the various machine tools they included in their lineup. Outside, in the yard, they had a number of unmachined raw castings for the various machine tools. These were left from the last days of each machine tool builder when they were in their original incarnations.
Now, if you Google "Monarch Lathe", you find yet another incarnation. Monarch is back in Sidney, and they are marketing Weiler lathes with their name on them. In addition, the include the 10EE in their current lineup. Whether these are used/factory rebuilt 10EE's, or 10EE's made from the remaining stock of castings, or totally new 10EE's is not stated. Monarch, for the most part, appears to be badging lathes made offshore.
It is kind of confusing to keep track of Monarch's various splitups and incarnations.
Well, selling Weilers they are at least offering the finest toolroom lathes made in Germany
Exporting....was old hat by '37. Read up sometime on P&W tooling up Prussian and German armories starting as early as the 1870s. That is where their massive cash surpluses came from to do such things as lend Fred Rentschler $250,000 and their name to start up building aircraft engines on Capitol Avenue in Hartford in one of their buildings in the mid twenties.