Mechanics Tool & Forge (MAC) Research

Please be advised that this, along with all other "Research" Blogs are just that, research notes.  It is not yet known if the discoveries here have any affilliation with the eventual Mechanics Tool and Forge.

(UPDATE) 5/30/2017 - The 7/15/1938 edition of The Cincinatti Inquirer carries the announcement of formation of the Mechanics Tool & Forge Company.  Officers noted are O. N. Tucker (We've found Mr. Tucker managed a service station for at least the prior decade), H. E. Pendry, R. W. McPherson, and Lawrence R. Lyons.

(UPDATED, see below)  Based on our research thus far, we have yet to determine the source of the name "MAC."  However, since MAC and Clinton didn't merge until 1963, we are inclined to believe that, similar to "MAC-Huff," MAC is derived from the name of Mr. R. W. McPherson.  Additional evidence is the fact that the trademark for the MAC name claims a First Use date of 1/1/1939, making it a term in use well before the formation of Clinton Tool.  The first use claimed for the trademark on the MAC logo is July of 1945.  See our notes from 3/23/2016 below, confirming our determination of the origin of the MAC name.

McPherson-Huff Tool Co. - Founded by Mr. Elmer T McPherson and others.  The 15 September, 1925 edition of the Wilmington News-Journal announces the departure of Mr. McPherson from the Greenlee Bros. Auger Bit. Co. as plant superintendent.  Prior engagements include superintendent at the Irwin Auger Bit Co. (1915-1918).  The 11/11/1913 edition of Motor World Wholesaler names McPherson as a co-incorporator of the Wilmington Auto Co.  The 12 May, 1926 edition of the Cincinnatti Inquirer names E. T. McPherson as a co-founder of the Car-Van Steel Products Company in Canton, OH.  On August 8, 1916, McPherson was awarded a patent (assigned to Irwin) for a cutting device, Patent #1,193,578.  On Jan 25, 1921, McPherson was awarded a patent for a die for making Bit Stock Tools, Patent #1,366,815.  On May 30, 1922, McPherson was awarded a patent for an auger bit design, Patent #1,417,760. Here are all patents we can find for inventions by Mr. McPherson.

The formation of the company is announced in the 3/28/1927 edition of the Wilmington News-Journal.  The brief article states the new company will produce screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, nail pullers and similar tools.  In a 19 May, 1928 article from the Wilmington News-Journal, the "incorporation" of the company is announced.  The article notes the date of incorporation as 17 May, 1928.  Please note that we have found earlier references to McPherson-Huff (1927) but this is the incorporation timeframe.  Initial capital was $30,000 and the officers are noted as:

  • R. W. Allen
  • W. L. Huff
  • E. T. McPherson
  • Russell Allen

The 16 March, 1929 edition of the Wilmington News-Journal announces a merger between McPherson-Huff Tool Works and the Brown Tool Works of PA.  Operations are to be headquartered out of Sabina.  O. A. Brown, J. C. L. Brown and V. R. Atkins started the Brown Co. in Tidioute, PA on 8/8/1928 to manufacture cutlery, along with their own line of hand tools.  The August 14, 1942 edition of the Cincinatti Inquirer reports that the Brown Tool Works employs 110 workers presently.

For Mechanics Tool & Forge I found (officers at founding):
O. N. Tucker, H. E. Pendry, R. W. McPherson, Lawrence Lyons

For Clinton Tool Co. (officers at founding):
G. E. Waddell, R. W. McPherson, O. N. Tucker, Sanford A Hadley

While the MAC website - History Page claims Clem Poole was the impetus for the founding of Clinton, we have found no evidence of this.  Mr. Poole is mentioned as a "Department Head" in December of 1945, and finally in 1954, mentioned in news articles of the period as President of Clinton Tool Co.  UPDATE: 6/16/2016 - We have found a patent linking Clem Poole to Wright Tool & Forge.  Patent #2368069 for "Procedure & Equipment for Forging or Forming Articles" was applied for in 1943 and awarded and assigned to Wright Tool & Forge in 1945.  The inventors are Arthur Stone, a well known inventor for Wright, and Clement Poole.

Other stuff I found
McPherson - Huff Tool Co., "Established" 12/16/1937 in Sabina  (See above, this is a confusing announcement;  perhaps "re-established?")
William E. Huff, R. W. Allen, E. T. McPherson, Russell L Allen - Later (1965) President of Sabina Bank.

R. W. McPherson Tool Co. Wilmington, OH
Found records back to 1948, "manufacturers of: Hand Tools (except Edge Tools, Machine Tools, Files, Saws)"  The 03/06/1948 edition of the Wilmington News-Journal reports the incorporation and specifically mentions they will make screwdrivers.  This piece of information matches up nicely with events of the day.  In June of 1948, Mechanics Tool & Forge was awarded the patent for a screwdriver handle (Otto Tucker), just after the formation of R. W. McPherson, increasing the likelihood that they were formed to finance the addition of screwdrivers to the MAC tool lineup.  The incorporators are R. W. McPherson, L. L. Lundy and Richard M. Lundy.  We have found indications that the Lundy and McPherson families were related (L. L. Lundy's grandmother was Mrs. Nina McPherson).

3/23/2016

The 2 September, 1967 edition of the Washington C H Herald contains an article announcing the retirement of Otto Tucker (seen in Image 1 below) from MAC Tools.  In the article, Mr. Tucker reminisces about the history of the company noting how, in 1938, he and Ralph McPherson decided it was "now or never" to begin their foray into the tool making world.  Mr. Tucker recalls the two of them "working alone in a 50' x 60' garage, hammering out sets of 5 combination wrenches."  He relates the story of the fire at McPherson-Huff and how they "procured all of the in-process tools, cleaned them up and re-tempered them and began selling the MAC-Huff line, that gave the company its name of MAC Tools."  They also obtained the McPherson-Huff sales force "of some 20-21 salesmen."  Mr. Tucker also notes a recapitalization in 1943, and "the formation of the Clinton Tool Company in 1944 to underwrite the addition of sockets to the manufactured line."  Lastly, Mr. Tucker addresses the formation of "MAC Allied Parts, Corp. an associate company at Akron in 1944, to job out any part of the line not manufactured at Sabina."

2/25/2016 - According to an article in the Washington C H Herald from July 22, 1973, the following is the history of Mechanics Tool & Forge:

The company was founded on July 11, 1938 with the following officers and investors:

  • R. W. McPherson - President (Buried 09/02/1949)
  • G. W. Martin - Treasurer
  • O. N. Tucker - Secretary
  • H. E. Pendry
  • Lawrence Lyons
  • R. E. Cantrill
  • H. W. Harcum

The article states that manufacturing operations began in October of 1938.  Mechanics Tool & Forge leveraged the sales force of the Mac-Huff Tool Co. to sell wrenches along with the punches and chisels produced by Mac-Huff.

In 1940, Mac-Huff suffered damage from a fire and salvageable tools were purchased by Mechanics Tool & Forge, along with the Mac-Huff Sales force, including Mr. G. E. Waddell, who soon became President of Mechanics Tool & Forge and later VP of MAC Allied.  Mr. Gaylord E. Waddell passed away on July 24, 1968.  The Mac-Huff fire is reported in the Jan 5, 1940 edition of the Washington C.H. Record-Herald.  The herald reports the loss of 120 jobs, 1,200 boxes of new tools, and losses estimated at $100,000.  4 of the 6 buildings in the complex were destroyed.  Mr. E. T. McPherson sold all his possessions at a farm auction in 1944, and again in 1949.  His funeral was announced in the 27 August, 1954 edition of the Wilmington News-Journal.

According to the article, Mechanics Tool & Forge was boosted in 1942 by a contract with the AF to produce 72,000 wrenches.  The proceeds from the AF contract were used to purchase the garage they had been operating out of and begin construction on a new building.  In 1944, a second company, Clinton Tool Co. (same officers as Mechanics Tool & Forge) was formed to manufacture sockets.

Other significant events and dates from the article:

  • 1942 - First catalog issued
  • 1946 - MAC Allied Formed
  • 1961 - Mechanics Tool & Forge becomes MAC Tools;
  • 1963 - Clinton Tool Co. and MAC merge;
  • 1969 - MAC acquires Mac-Huff Tool Co.

The Ohio Labor statistics report for 1939 reports Mechanics Tool & Forge with 3 employees.

The June 22, 1973 edition of the Washington C. H. Record-Herald contains a 4 page article welcoming MAC Tools to Washington C. H., after having purchased the former plant of the National Cash Register Co..  The article presents an excellent tour of the new plant, the managers of the respective divisions, and demonstrates that at the very least, in 1973 MAC had wrench and socket manufacturing facilities.  The article identifies the following officers of the company:

  • Paul W. Elrod - President (Joined MAC in 1948 as a distributor, became sales manager, VP Sales, and finally President in 1968)
  • John Petty - VP Manufacturing (Former Manager of McPherson-Huff Tool Co., joined MAC ca. 1969)
  • T. R. Sizer - VP Marketing / Assistant General Manager (Joined MAC in 1962, EVP in 1969)
  • Edward A. Huwaldt - Board Member (EVP Huntington Bank Shares, Inc.)
  • Lawrence R. Lyons - Board Member
  • James G. Townsley - Board Member (General Superintendent Armco Steel Corp.)
  • George G. Wilcox - Board Member (Retired VP / GM of the Tool Division of New Britain Machine Co.)
  • Charles O. Moore - Secretary / Treasurer
  • Phillip Brewer - Director of Industrial Relations and General Superintendent (Non-Officer, reporting to Petty)

Here is a patent  for a screwdriver handle.  Assigned to Mechanics Tool & Forge, invented by Otto Tucker.  The timing of the patent and the formation of The McPherson Tool Co. to produce screwdrivers is certainly an interesting "coincidence."

The 6 April, 1976 edition of the Wilmington News-Journal reported that on Monday, 5 April the heat treating area of the Sabina plant caught fire.  The fire was contained to the heat treating division and losses were identified as 1200 gallons of oil.

MAC celebrates 1,000th Distributor - 31, May, 1975 Washington C. H. Record-Herald

The 28 Feb., 1957 edition of the Wilmington News-Journal has an article identifying Gail (Gaylord E.) Waddell as President of Mechanics Tool & Forge, and notes MAC Allied, a "part" of Mechanics Tool & Forge was started in Tallmadge, OH.

The April 29, 1967 edition of the Wilmington News-Journal reports the election of new directors and officers for MAC Tools Inc.

New Directors Elected:

  • Harry Holiday Jr. - Director of Raw Materials for Armco Steel Corp.;
  • Edward A. Huwaldt - EVP Huntington National Bank;
  • Lawrance R. Lyons - Attorney

Reelected Directors:

  • Paul W. Elrod
  • C. E. Poole
  • G. E. Waddell

Officers:

  • G. E. Waddell - President
  • Paul W. Elrod - VP
  • C. O. Moore - Sec. / Treasurer

Lawsuit Against MAC Tools.

In 1967, a machinist was using a punch, sold to the business by Sears.  The punch splintered and the gentleman was blinded by the incident.  In 1968, the gentleman sued Sears, Roebuck & Co. for damages.  In 1969, Sears further sued McPherson-Huff as the manufacturer/supplier of the defective tool.  We believe this provides evidence of the "N-Square" marked tools sold by Sears Roebuck.  It is interesting to note that Sears also named Mr. John O'laughlin Jr., a banker and investor from Chicago, Mr. Otto P. Froeschl, of Wilde Tool in Kansas City, and John and Jane Petty of Sabina in their lawsuit.  A newspaper article from the Wilmington News-Journal in December of 1970 states that Mr. John O'lauphlin Jr. was President of McPherson-Huff and Mr. and Mrs. Petty were officers.  At this point we have no answer to why Otto Froeschl would be named in this action.

Article announcing the MATCO tool box plant dedication -- Russ Darrah short bibliography.

 

Image Description: 

Mr. Otto Tucker, at his retirement in 1967 at the age of 79.

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