I have recently bought a copy of "The U.S. Machine Tool Industry from 1900-1950" by Harless D. Wagoner.
There are quite a few interesting tables in the Appendix, eg. comparing the output of various states etc. but this table (Table 12) is interesting in that it names the top 25, ranked by number of wage earners working on machine tools.
I guess WW2 has skewed things, but then there is always something going on that effects the industry - depression, war etc....
1 Cincinnati Milling Machine Co.
2 Brown & Sharpe Co.
3 Bullard Co.
4 Warner & Swasey Co.
5 National Acme Co.
6 Kearney & Trecker Corp.
7 Van Norman Machine Tool Co.
8 Gisholt Machine Co.
9 Monarch Machine Tool Co.
10 Heald Machine Co.
11 Norton Co.
12 Gleason Works.
13 New Britain Machine Co.
14 Pratt & Whitney Co.
15 Jones & Lamson Machine Co.
16 Cone Automatic Machine Co.
17 Fellows Gear Shaper Co.
18 Hendey Machine Co.
19 Ex-Cell-O Corp.
20 General Machinery Corp, Div. Niles Tool Works.
20 American Tool Works Co.
22 Landis Tool Co.
23 Bryant Chucking Grinder Co.
24 Lodge & Shipley Machine Tool Co.
25 Landis Machine Co.
No. 18, Hendey, gets a note saying "liquidated and sold 1954 to Barber-Coleman", maybe when the book was written in 1966 they were the only name to have suffered that fate?
The tables showing production by state interested me, Ohio being the leader during the period covered by the book.
Can anyone explain who Cone Automatic Machine Co. were/are, and what they produced? That is a new name for me.
They produced multispindle lathes.Very popular with bearing manufacturers.
I am suprised that Van Norman ranks No. 7, above Gisholt and Monarch. I am also amazed that Pratt & Whitney ranks 14th.
Other than that I see nothing startling except that R.K. LeBlond is no where mentioned, surely they were above no. 25. I was sure that LeBlond's were bigger than Lodge and Shipley or American Tool Works.
Cone Automatic eventually became Conomatic and was bought by Motch, then Motch hit rock bottom and was bought by the Devlieg group that does mostly parts now. At the end of their life they came up with a good concept known as the conomatic-triturn. It was a 3 spindle cnc machine with pickoff spindle for backworking. They really developed it along with the boys at Parker for hydraulic fittings. It was a good concept for mid volume production. I like this history stuff! Can I get a star?! p-p-p-p-please
Just a guess... LeBlond was a privately held company; owned by the LeBlond family. They did not have to report sales, etc. as a publicly held corporation would.
Are the other MTBs on this list public corporations? I know Cincinnati Milling Machine and Warner & Swasey were.
I believe American Tool and Lodge were private.
I knew several owners of American, Hans Fisher, and a big conglomerate that escapes my mind. Whyle, Frank Whyle, maybe the spelling is wrong, sorry Frank. All this was after 1950, and I suspect American was allways privately held.
I think that Cincinnati Milling Machine hit the number one spot about 1928, and has remained there to this day, and through a couple of name changes. Not only the largest machine tool manufacturer in the USA, but the world. I can't remember now where I read that information.
To give you an idea of how large Cincinnati Mill was, they had over 12,000 people in the mid 1960's
Nowadays, Cincinnati is just one division of the MAG group, which also owns Giddings and Lewis, Gisholt, Fadal, Warner and Swaysey, Bickford, Kearney and Trecker, Excello, Davis, and Turmatic, among others.
A New York investment company owns the MAG group, but many of these companies (not Cincinnati) were owned by the German company Thyssen-Krupp for the last 10 years or so, and have only recently become american owned again.
So I guess, if you consider all of them lumped together, maybe they are a pretty big company- I doubt they are Number One, but Cincinnati alone is probably much lower down the list today than it was back then.
Maybe Bob from American Machinist can provide us with a similar list for today- either the top 10 US companies, or the top 10 companies, regardless of location, who sell machines in the USA, which, of course, would probably be two completely different lists.
I can't even begin to keep up with the musical chair game that is going on with the names of old line American machine tool manufacturers.
One thing that I do know is that so far, none of them are projecting much power in the modern machine tool market today.
Haas (private stock company) and Hardinge (public stock company) are the two names first on my list of American machine tool companies. They are active, their name is out there on many, many machines.
Monarch is of particular interest to me lately because they are definately old line (Edlund in Cortland and Monarch formerly of Sidney, OH.) They are not advertizing heavily in the trade mags but they are active and well respected.
I tend to look at the others who are merely the rump of the grand old companies as parts and service houses. When the existing machines bearing the old names finally go to scrap these outfits will probably fold.
Sadly, machinery manufacture is capital and labor intensive. US investors want fast growing and fast moving companies. The three companies that I mentioned above are doing all right because they stayed in business, they are not start ups.
There is no money for the ressurection of companies, regardless of how well respected their names are.
Last but not least, there have been two generations of workers in machine shops who have never worked on machinery made by the Old Line outfits. The names are folklore. I am guilty as anyone of telling stories of Monarch lathes, Van Norman millers and Lucas boring mills as if those machines ranked right up there with Paul Bunyan's Babe, the Blue Ox.
Giddings and lewis is actually owned by Thyssen Krupp, they still do some assemble in Fondulac but for the most part all the Horizontals are made piece by piece in places like germany, and the chek republic. They are really just Huller-Hille machines. Good equipment still. Back in my sales days I moved at least 15 or so to people like Bosch. But to see that company the way it is today is sad. They used to own Sheffield and even got rid of them to the Hexagon monster.
People that are making the decisions in American machine tools today have no respect for what was built in the past by people who genuinely cared for their trade. I really care for this business, it is all I have really known and it has been very good to me. I wish some of these snot nosed college "kids" that are pulling the strings behind the American machine tool business would learn how to make something with their own hands! Maybe then they would appreciate a well crafted piece of American machinery.
Recently someone mentioned the book "War Production By Otis", I just found a copy.
Great selection of photos from all the Otis factories showing their impressive array of war production.
One example of the work they churned out is crankcases for 14 & later, 18 cylinder Wright radial aero engines - steel forgings with lots of machining. Wright was looking for 2500 per month, not sure if Otis was managing that figure.
Anyway, I was interested to see that Otis turned their hand to machine tool manufacture in quite a big way.
They made 650 Morey No 2 turret lathes and 68 Norton surface grinders, mostly at Otis Yonkers Works and Harrison Works.
Also made 750 Morey No 12 2-spindle vertical profilers. These are solid looking gantry-type machines, were used for manufacture of triggers, gun sights etc.
Otis-Fensom at Hamilton, Canada made several hundred McDougall 12" engine lathes (for mobile workshops).
Waygood-Otis in London, UK designed and made 36 rough turning lathes for making 7.2" and 8" shells, also made #3A Herbert Auto Capstan lathes.
Waygood-Otis in Australia manufactured Ward No "0" lathes and Macson bench grinders.
Actually, the machine tools represent only a small part of the Otis production, the book contains an astonishingly large array of parts.
For example Otis designed the production version of the Martin Mars (one of my favourite aircraft). They expanded their Engineering Department to over 400 men for this job, producing around 25,000 drawings. They also took over the wing design and power plant installation for the Flying Wing XB-35. (Now you know what happens when an elevator company designs a wing.... [img]smile.gif[/img] only joking)
Otis in Canada produced a huge number (5000) of Bofors 40mm guns, there is even a photo of a NZ gun crew at El Alamein, apparently famed for shooting down five aircraft in two days with the help of their Otis Bofors.
Scott,youre out of date a little bit.Giddings and Lewis was recently sold to MAG.I have a letter from them explaining the Warner Swasey details lying on my desk.
Alfred Herbert in Coventry,England employed over 30,000 people directly and indirectly building machine tools.Long gone,although their machines are to be seen in most factories I go into.
It would be interesting to see if you could name 25 American machine builders from the present.
Man Giddings and Lewis has been tossed around a bit! It really is a shame. What a facility they had. What a great employer they used to be for that part of America. How proud their past company officers should be about the way this company sits today! Just kidding! Seems to me the worst mistake they ever made was putting that goofball that came from Fadal in charge of that company. What an inexperienced loser. I know this from first hand experience in dealing with him. A real sheister.
Ries, asked above about a list of the top 10 manufacturers supplying machine tools into the U.S market. This isn’t it. But may be of interest. I was searching for details about this years EMO, and I stumbled across this.
World Machine Tool Output & Consumption 2006
It list’s the U.S as the 6th largest market. Contained with in that above link. It appears that your American Machine Tool Distributors' Assn. (AMTDA), would be the people that would have such information. http://www.amtda.org/
Whilst they have some good statistics. I still couldn’t find a break down by manufacturer / country as supplied to the U.S market. U.S Machine Tool Consumption. - http://www.amtda.org/usmtc/index.htm
But that first link is worth a read, as it contains many other links to individual countries Machine Tool industry associations.
I believe American Tool Works was a private company majority owned by the Alter family until the late 1960's when ATW was sold to Curtis Industries controlled by the Schotts including Marge Schott of Cincinnati Reds fame. The Gier (sp?) family was in control of Cincinnati Millicron early on, I don't know how long they have been a public company.
The following is the latest posted by metal working insider, but does not reflect some changes, like the purchase of Landis by Giustina, or Toyoda's merger with Koyo. And although they acknowledge The Thyssen purchase by Maxcor, other purchases are too recent (Cross-Hueller, G&L, Fadal) Rank is listed by Machine Tool Sales, not Company size, otherwise the Top 3 would be Thyssen Krupp, Doosan Infracore, Toyoda Machine Works (soon to be JTEKT):
Company Name Country
1. Yamazaki Mazak
6. Mori Seiki
9. AgieCharmilles GF
18. Körber Schleifring
23. Doosan Infracore
28. Nippei Toyama
30. Cincinnati Lamb
31. IWKA Group
This list includes a few companies we wouldnt strictly think of as machine tools- Amada, Aida, and Trumpf, for example, make press brakes, laser turret presses, and other fab machinery.
But it is kinda sad to see how few american companies there are in the top 25.
I am particularly surprised to see Grob ahead of Cinncinati or Index. I wouldnt have thought Grob was doing more business than Do-All, for example. Then I realized we are talking about a huge German conglomerate, that makes aerospace parts, complete auto engine production lines, and more, not the little bandsaw company in Wisconsin.
And then you have companies like Heller, which have virtually no presence at the job shop level, but supply lots of factory machine tools that used to be made by the big American names we are talking about from 1942.
How is it that all those american companies went under, or no longer make big production and transfer line type machines, citing high US taxes, wages, and expenses, and yet the Germans have taken their market, making machines in a country with even higher taxes, wages, and expenses?
In Germany there is a heart felt interest in making machinery and that interest is at the top levels of the companies, not just on the benches.
Taxes, wages and expenses are just cover ups when upper level management gets greedy or corrupt.
Where there is a will, there is a way.