Gray Tools - Canada

A short historical timeline of the Gray Company from their website.

Canadian Machinery, Vol IX, page 695 - December 25, 1913

The Gray Mfg. and Machine Company.

    One of the more recent additions to the list of manufacturers of machinery in Toronto is the Gray Mrf. and Machine Co., who started operations at their new plant in January, 1913.  A site was purchased on St. Clarens Ave., and a machine shop 80 x 40 ft. built for manufacturing foundry equipment such as swing and stand grinders, polishing machines, power and steam pumps, etc.  The shop is well equipped for carrying on a general engineering business, and the company realizing that, in order to maintain high class production the best tools are necessary, have one of the most modernly equipped shops, for its size, in the city.  The machine tools are capable of the wide range of work necessary in this kind of business, and consist of a No. 4 "Cincinnati" milling machine, a universal tool grinder supplied by the same company - the Cincinnati Milling Machine Co.; a 4 ft. "American" radial drill and several engine lathes by the Hendey Machine Co.  There are also several grinders and a 54 in., 14 ft. low bed "Butler" lathe.
    The line shaft is driven by a 15 h.p Can Westinghouse motor using hydro power at 220 volts.  The ship is lit by "Mazda" lamps, and is heated by steam from a 15 h.p. vertical boiler.  Four runways operate across the shop, each being equipped with a 1 1/2 ton "Gray" chain block.  There are two jib cranes also fitted with the same chain blocks.  At the front of the building are the offices and stores, and at the rear in a seperate structure is a blacksmith shop.  In the yard is a storage for steel bars, plates, etc.
    The company at the present time employ about 20 men and we understand that they are well satisfied with the amount of business done this year.  There is sufficient room on the property to double the size of the present plant.  The officers are Alex. Gray, president; Robert Gray, vice-president., and James Gray, general manager.  Close supervision is given by each member of the firm to all work in progress which ensures high class output.

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Canadian Machinery, Vol IX, page 695 - December 25, 1913

The Gray Mfg. and Machine Company.

    One of the more recent additions to the list of manufacturers of machinery in Toronto is the Gray Mfr. and Machine Co., who started operations at their new plant in January, 1913.  A site was purchased on St. Clarens Ave., and a machine shop 80 x 40 ft. built for manufacturing foundry equipment such as swing and stand grinders, polishing machines, power and steam pumps, etc.  The shop is well equipped for carrying on a general engineering business, and the company realizing that, in order to maintain high class production the best tools are necessary, have one of the most modernly equipped shops, for its size, in the city.  The machine tools are capable of the wide range of work necessary in this kind of business, and consist of a No. 4 "Cincinnati" milling machine, a universal tool grinder supplied by the same company - the Cincinnati Milling Machine Co.; a 4 ft. "American" radial drill and several engine lathes by the Hendey Machine Co.  There are also several grinders and a 54 in., 14 ft. low bed "Butler" lathe.
    The line shaft is driven by a 15 h.p Can Westinghouse motor using hydro power at 220 volts.  The ship is lit by "Mazda" lamps, and is heated by steam from a 15 h.p. vertical boiler.  Four runways operate across the shop, each being equipped with a 1 1/2 ton "Gray" chain block.  There are two jib cranes also fitted with the same chain blocks.  At the front of the building are the offices and stores, and at the rear in a seperate structure is a blacksmith shop.  In the yard is a storage for steel bars, plates, etc.
    The company at the present time employ about 20 men and we understand that they are well satisfied with the amount of business done this year.  There is sufficient room on the property to double the size of the present plant.  The officers are Alex. Gray, president; Robert Gray, vice-president., and James Gray, general manager.  Close supervision is given by each member of the firm to all work in progress which ensures high class output.

Canadian Machinery Vol XXI P84 - 6 March 1919

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Starting Out To Make New Lines
Gray Ball Bearing and Manufacturing Co. Will Shortly be Starting Operations

    The Gray Manufacturing and Machine Co., Toronto, are adding new lines to their industry and will in a short time be in the market with them.  Speaking of the changes, Alex. Gray, president of the concern, stated to CANADIAN MACHINERY:
    "We are at the present time reorganizing our business and are commencing the manufacture of ball bearings, heavy stamping and automobile parts.  Our ball bearings will be for transmission line shafting and countershafts, and also thrust and other types of bearings for automobiles and machines.
    "Our authorized capital has been increased to $150,000 to take care of this, and the firm name will shortly be changed to the "Gray Ball Bearing and Manufacturing Co., Ltd."
    "We have now associated with us as directors in out company, John Reekie, who will have charge of sales and W. J. McCallum as chief engineer and works manager.  Mr. Reekie and Mr. McCallum have for some years been in connection with the Chapman Double Ball Bearing Co. of this city, and we feel that with their addition to our organization we will be in a position to energetically push the manufacture and sale of our new lines with great confidence in the future of our business."

Excerpt from http://blog.graytools.com/2014/03/17/gray-tools-history-growing-in-the-first-factory/
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"One of the most popular products that the company sold to the government was its shot blasting machine, which cleaned the burned gun-powder residue that was left inside of brass howitzer shells after they were fired. This allowed the government to recycle its brass shells, which were particularly expensive at the time.  Other products that the company offered were its knurling machines, which created easy-to-grip geometric patterns on the surfaces of metal tools handles, and its thread miller, which formed screw threads in the nose of shells.

Once World War I ended in 1918, Gray Tools needed to shift its business model, as the Canadian government no longer needed to purchase these machines. So in 1919, Gray Tools decided to shift the line of products that it offered to ball bearings, which are used to reduce friction between bearing races. Made from chrome alloy, these products were made in single- and double-row ball bearings, and ranged in size and price based on what each job required.

Soon after, Gray Tools also began to sell hand tools, which still make up the majority of its products today. In 1922, the company released its first hand-tool catalogs. The Gray-Toronto and Gray-Batavia (the U.S. edition) were virtually the same except for their covers and offered 302 different hand tools, including sockets, wrenches, handles extension bards, universal joints and other parts. One of the sets featured in catalog was set #6038, which offered twenty wrenches for servicing Ford cars and trucks."

The Gray Manufacturing & Machine Co. Limited
Product lists, Canadian Machinery 1913-1919
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1913 - swing grinder, stand grinder, outside packed steam pumps, duplex power pumps
1914 - Buffing and polishing machinery, chain blocks, gears, grinders, hoists, pulleys, pumping machinery, punches, shafting
1915 - Grinders, sand blasts, buffing and polishing machinery, shell tools
1916 - Thread millers, special lathes, sand blasts, grinders
1919 - Ball bearings, steel balls, knife grinders, thread milling machines, pressed steel parts, metal stampings

Quote from http://shopgraytools.com/pages/our-heritage

"1920's.The first hand-tool catalogue was printed in 1922. There were two editions of the catalogue, which were identical except for the cover. The Canadian edition Gray-Toronto was issued by the Gray Ball Bearing Company Limited.

The catalogue listed 302 different hand tools including sockets, wrenches, handles, extension bars, universal joints, and associated parts. In addition, many wrench sets were produced specifically for certain cars made at that time. Tool sets were packed in handsome hardwood boxes with a natural-stain finish and brass trimmings."

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Buffalo Evening News
May 29, 1920

Buffalo Firm Buys Batavia Steel Plant

    Batavia, May 29 - The plant of the Batavia Steel Products Corporation, which has been idle since it was vacated as a munition factory has been purchased by the Gray Machine Tool Co, Inc. of Buffalo.  Alexander Gray, president and treasurer has been in Batavia for several days to complete the transaction.  The plant will employ 20 skilled mechanics at the start.

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August 27, 1920
The Daily News, Batavia, NY

Gray Company Reincorporated
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Capital of the new Batavia Industry increased to $225,000.
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Expansion of Business
    Announcement of the reorganisation of the Gray Machine Tool Company, which purchased the plant of the former Batavia Steel Products Corporation on Evans Street, has been made by the officers of the company.  The company has been ????? under the ???? of the Gray Machine and Parts Corporation with a capital of $225,000, instead of $50,000 its original capitalization.

    Alexander Gray of Buffalo is president and treasurer of the corporation and James Gray is vice-president.  Ansley W Sawyer of Buffalo, a member of the law firm of Dudley, Stowe & Sawyer, is secretary.  A. M. D. Martin, formerly secretary of the company, is general manager of the corporation.
    Plans for the expansion of its business are bring made by the corporation, which recently transferred its plant to Batavia from Buffalo.  The enlarged plant and better facilities afforded in this city will enable the company to take care of a larger volume of business than formerly.  The company manufactures Gray thread millers, piston blasting machines and automobile parts.

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Batavia Daily News

November 2, 1922
Evans Street Plant Has Large Orders
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Busy Making Wrenches for Two Companies in Lansing, Mich
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Experiments Are Also Going On
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A. M. D Martin, secretary and general manager of the Gray Machine & Parts Corporation on Evans street, reported today that the company's plant was engaged in executing some very substantial orders for the manufacture of wrenches.
    One contract is with the Olds Motor Works of Lansing, Mich., makers of Oldsmobiles, to furnish complete sets for wrenches for the equipment of cars which are turned out at present at the rate of 105 cars a day.  Another contract is with Motor Wheel of Lansing, one of the largest makers of disc wheels in the world.  It calls for the furnishing of 50,000 wrenches.
    Experiments are being made for manfacture various other kinds of wrenches.  The wrench made at present is known as the Gray-Batavia wrench.  There are 18 men on the payroll of the company at present and it is anticipated that this number may be increased considerably as manufacturing operations are increased.
    In addition to Secretary Martin, others interested in the administration are Alexander Gray, president and treasurer, and James Gray, vice-president.

The Iron Age Publication, Volume 131, 1933
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Bonney Forge & Tool Works, Allentown, Pa., manufacturer of wrenches, tools and other drop forgings has organized Gray-Bonney Tool Co. Ltd. of Canada, a subsidiary, in cooperation with Gray Forgings & Stampings, Ltd. Toronto., manufacturer of kindred equipment, to operate a Canadian works.  Plant will be established in conjunction with that of Gray company, St. Clarens Avenue, Toronto, where increased facilities will be arranaged.

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From http://blog.graytools.com/2014/03/24/gray-tools-history-navigating-the-great-depression/

"Over the course of the Great Depression, Alex Gray partnered with a number of companies to maintain flexibility and agility in the slow, but recovering economy. One of the most notable was a partnership with Bonney Forge and Tool Works in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The two companies helped one another improve sales, and although the Gray-Bonney affiliation stopped in 1961, many still remember the positive collaboration."