Milwaukee Tool & Forge (MTF) was incorporated in Wisconsin in about September,1917. The officers listed are George Haubert, George Phillips and R. L. Wheeler. The company is formed to take over the business of the Crary Tool Company in September/October 1917..
We believe, based on some recent discoveries, that the company could have began operations in or around 1911, possibly as the Ideal Laundry Co. (Wheeler - Pres // Phillips - Sec/Treas). Recent information indicates that in 1929, MTF was acquired by the Line Material Company of New York. An article in the 1932 Moody's publication refers to the "acquisition of the assets and business of a Wisconsin Corporation organized in 1911." Further, W. D. Kyle is known as the President of the Line Material Company as well has mentioned multiple times in affiliation with MTF.
At this point in Milwaukee's history, the industry was fast paced, and companies were popping up and merging at a furious rate. In order to better understand MTF's history, we would like to mention a couple of industry events that could likely be pertinent in understanding the MTF story.
Line Material Company - Formed in 1906 as the Ajax Line Material Company by Albert Sheible, with Mr. John F. Turner named as Secretary and Treasurer. The company was located at 12 and 14 South Jefferson St., Chicago and it's principal products were outdoor lighting. Circa September, 1909, the company changed it's name to the Ajax Line Material Works and moved to South Milwaukee (no specific address given). The May 1913 edition of the Electrical Record announces that the Ajax Line Material Works has renamed to the Line Material Company. In addition, the article names Mr. F. L. Sivyer as President and notes that Mr. Sivyer is also President of both the Northwestern Malleable Iron Co. and the Sivyer Steel Casting Co. of 37th and Mitchell St., Milwaukee. Interestingly, the 1913 Illinois Business Directory lists the Ajax Line Material Works as being headquartered at 1601-332 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. It also lists Mr. Albert Scheible as President and Mr. John F. Turner as Secretary. This article from the April 12, 1913 edition of the Electrical Review confirms the name change to Line Material Co. and further names Mr. W. D. Kyle as V.P. and Treasurer, and Mr. Thomas E. Ward as Secretary. The June 1918 edition of the Electrical Record lists the company's address as 39 Cortland. By 1922 W. D. Kyle is listed as President of Line Material Company. In 1930, the company's address was 12th & Madison in South Milwaukee.
Crary Tool Co. - The April, 1916 edition of The Steel and Metal Digest reports the formation in March, 1916 of the Crary Tool Co. and names Mssrs. John Hoerl, George Haubert, William C. Garrent and George E. Garrent as principals. The company is to manufacture chisels, pliers, wrenches and other tools. The October 25, 1917 edition of Iron Age reports that the Crary Tool Co. at 220 Becher St. has been succeeded by the Milwaukee Tool & Forge Co. Just before this activity, Mr. George Haubert, along with a Mr. C. W. Esau (Pres) and Mr. Adam J. Eimerman form The Modern Steel Treating Co. at 453 38th Ave. This facility was immediately destroyed by fire on 10/17/1918 and quickly rebuilt at 619 38th Ave. On 11/29/1920, this new facility was again destroyed by fire. Extremely interesting to note here that in the announcement of the 1920 fire, Mr. W. D. Kyle is named as the General Manager of The Modern Steel Treating Co.
During our research, we found reference of a large merger involving MTF along with several other companies resulting in the formation of an unknown (unreadable) Corporation. It comes from the October 6, 1932 edition of Iron Age and the other entities involved / mentioned were:
- W. D. Kyle - President, Line Material Co. of Milwaukee
- J. D. Otis - VP, Alemite Corp of Chicago
- O. J. Markey - President, Aro Equipment Corp of Ohio
- Charles Wertz - President, Farmer's National Bank of Ohio
- L. F. Serrick - President, L. F. Serrick Co. of Ohio (NOTE: Mr. Serrick purchased the Defiance Stamping Co. in 1930)
- Harold Schlosser - President, Pressed Steel Products.
If you reference our research on S-K and affilliated, you'll note the formation of the Lectrolite Corporation as a merger of Milwaukee Tool & Forge Co., Saturn Electric Water Heater Corp., Defiance Stamping Co., and Pressed Products Co. The issue is that each of these companies, along with each of those mentioned in the previous list, continues to be referenced as individual entities throughout the 1930s, and some well beyond that timeframe.
This very interesting article from a 1934 edition of Steel announces that the "Electrical Connection ??? Mfg. Co., successor to Milwaukee Tool and Forge Co." will construct a new plant due to a catastrophic fire. This article also notes W. D. Kyle as President of the Electrical company.
A 1937 edition of Bus Transportation lists Milwaukee Tool & Forge as a maker of wrenches along with the typical manufacturers of the day such as Bonney, Williams, Billings, etc.
We are still conducting research due to more recent discoveries which point to a much more involved and complicated activity amongst these companies during the decade of the 1930s.
Trade Names, Brands & Trademarks
- True Fit (All Tools) (First Use March, 1921)