Key Drop Forging Tool-Maker Research
Please be advised that this, along with all other "Research" Blogs are just that, research notes. The items listed here are documented "as found" and therefore may or may not appear in chronological order.
Moore Drop Forge - Image 1 below comes from the Railroad Gazette, October 19, 1900 announcing the formation of the Moore Drop Forge in Springfield, Mass. "Preliminary" Officers and investors identified are:
- H. E. Marsh - President
- A. L. Moore - Treasurer
- F. S. Sibley - Secretary
- T. W. Leete - (Prominent investor / corporate officer)
- C. T. Sean
- G. M. Hendee - (known for cycling, cycle racing and cycle safety inventions)
There are indications that Mr. Moore came from another company, having served as Treasurer of the Springfield Drop Forging Co. The Springfield Drop Forging Co. appears to have formed in July of 1895 and our research indicates that it lasted until around 1911. Final disposition is still unknown.
September of 1922 - A. H. Chapin President
In the 4/18/1928 edition of the Altoona Tribune, an announcement appears noting the acquisition of controlling interest in the Continental Railway Supply Company by Moore Drop Forge.
In the book entitled "Springfield, Volume 2," the following key dates are reported:
- 1900 - The MDF company began making Bicycle frames;
- 1909 - MDF began producing wrenches;
- 1914 - MDF got into automotive forging and machining;
- 1938 - MDF began making tools for Sears;
- 1946 - Purchased the Wason Car Works plant;
- 12/1967 - The Eastern Stainless Steel Co. purchased 95% of MDF stock;
- 1969 - Eastern Stainless Steel Co. restructures as the EASCO Corp.;
- 1985 - EASCO taken over by Equity Group Holdings;
- 1987 - Company goes public
- 6/1990 - Merged with Danaher Co.
In July of 1960, MDF broke ground for their new plant in Hillsboro, OH.
Billings & Spencer sold it's drop forging operation to Moore Drop Forge effective January 2, 1963.
Page-Storms Drop Forge Co. - The November 29, 1900 issue of Iron Age indicates Page-Storms purchased the Overman Wheel Company's former plant in Chicopee.
In 1895, John F. Fitzgerald is awarded a patent (531,628) for an adjustable wrench and assigns 1/2 ownership to Frank Storms.
In 1902, Page-Storms is identified as manufacturer, under the catagories of: Drop Forgings and Bicycle Forgings.
This article from June 25, 1903 announces the acquisition of Springfield Forge by Page-Storms.
Page-Storms incorporation was chartered on July 8, 1903.
The September 3, 1903 edition of The Iron Age reports the Page-Storms Drop Forging Co. is adding a new line of wrenches to their product line. New lines (at Page-Storms) are Construction, Angle and "Wolf Jaw" wrenches. The article also notes that Page-Storms is the successor to Springfield Drop Forge, indicating they purchased the company. The article notes that Springfield will also expand their wrench line with: Single and Double End Engineers' and Set Screw Wrenches, Tool Post Wrenches, Chuck Wrenches, S Wrenches and Milling Machine Wrenches.
1904 Page-Storms "New Catalog" announcement including new lines of wrenches.
The December 20, 1906 edition of The Iron Trade Review announced a new building being erected in Chicopee, which appears to consolidate the operations of Page-Storm and Springfield Forges.
The 1922 Moody's Manual reports that Westinghouse purchased the Page-Storms plant of Chicopee in 1915. There appears to be significant interaction between Page-Storms and Westinghouse, and the next two references provide evidence of the acquisition of Page-Storms by Westinghouse. Note that this reference indicates the purchase of the building only by Westinghouse. This article, reporting on the establishment of the Storms Drop Forging Co., mentions that Page-Storms was in fact sold to New England Westinghouse Co.. And finally, this article from Moody's confirms that in August of 1915, Westinghouse did indeed purchase Page-Storms.
Page-Storms was purchased by Moore Drop Forge in 1919, according to Moody's. Note also that it appears a significant portion of the stock purchased in order to acquire Page-Storms was acquired from Westinghouse. (Scroll down when reading the link)
An interesting article from the 6/26/1922 St. Louis Post-Dispatch records a brief history of the Winchester company. It reports that in 1919, Winchester formed a "holding company" to acquire companies to occupy the various plants constructed in New Haven, CT during WWI. Among the list of companies is "the wrench business of Page-Storms Drop Forge."
Storms Drop Forging Co. - In 1920, Frank F. Storms (of Page-Storms) starts the Storms Drop Forge Co. as President & Mngr, and Charles H. Leonard as Treasurer, as reported by the New England Business Directory. Note that the November 23, 1923 edition of Iron Age reports Frank O. Wells as Treasurer. There is also a J. H. Jones mentioned in other articles. Frank Storms brother Albert was also a part owner.
Here is an exceptional article detailing the layout of the plant, capitalization, officers etc. from the April 15, 1920 edition of The Iron Age. When clicking the link, scroll up for the article beginning. Officers include:
- Frank F. Storms - President & GM
- Charles H. Leonard - Treasurer (former treasurer of Page-Storms)
- Albert J. Storms - Superintendent
- Frank S. Titchener - Board Member (of Union Forge Company, Union, NY)
- 1909 - President of Union Forging Co. (Est. 1883 / Incorp'd 1899)
- George A. MacDonald - Board Member (President - Chicopee National Bank)
- Capt. Ralph E. Whittle - Board Member
- 1926 - Secretary
- 1928 - Purchasing Agent
- John Porter - Board Member
- F. O. Wells
- 1926 - Treasurer
From "IW: The Management Magazine" in 1924, it appears Frank F. Storms was involved in the formation of the The Shur-Lift Auto Jack Company, along with Alvin L. Johnson and Ralph E. Whittle. Raoul Carpentier and Percy B. Cowell were also involved in the venture. The company is still listed in the Mass. Business Directory in 1926 but no further reference can be found past that time.
Interstate Drop Forge (IDF) (Milwaukee) - This announcement comes from the March, 1920 edition of The Automotive Manufacturer and relates the details of the formation of Interstate Drop Forge at 2000 27th St., Milwaukee. The officers are identified as:
- William C. Frye - President / Director (President of The Chain Belt Co. and Secretary of Sivyer Steel Casting Co.)
- Major S. M. McFedries - VP & GM / Director (Former Sales Manager of the Cutler-Hammer Ordinance Department)
- C. R. Messinger - Treasurer / Director (VP & GM of the Chain Belt Co. and Sivyer Steel Casting Co. // Later Chairman of Oliver Farm Equipment Co.)
- Edgar L. Wood - Director
- B. Fleeger - Director
- J. L. Olmstead - Director (Electric Steel of Chicago)
The 1921 Wisconsin State Gazetteer lists the IDF address as 27th & Lake, and the following management staff for IDF:
- C. R. Messinger - President
- S. M. McFedries - VP
- B. F. Fleeger = Secretary
- C. E. Stone - Treasurer
The October, 1922 edition of Steel Processing & Conversion reports that Mr. Robert C. Yates has resigned from Union Drop Forge to become GM of Interstate Drop Forge. The blurb also notes the close alliance of IDF with the Chain Belt Co., Sivyer Steel and the Federal Malleable Company, all of Milwaukee.
An interesting article in the 1 June 1930 edition of The Capital Times (Madison, WI) Notes C. R. Messinger as holding the following positions at that time:
- President - Chain Belt Company
- Chairman of the Board - Sivyer Steel Casting Co.
- Director - First Wisconsin National Bank
- Director - Badger Meter Manufacturing Co.
- Director - Milwaukee Gas Light Co.
- Director - Interstate Drop Forge Co.
- Director - Federal Malleable Co.
- Director - The Stearns Conveyor Co. (Cleveland)
- Director - Monarch Fire Insurance Co. (Cleveland)
In a 1928 article in The Earth Mover, the following management positions are enumerated:
- Charles. E. Stone - President (The article states he was elected VP in 1924 and currently succeeding C. R. Messinger)
- Lamar S. Peregoy - VP
- C. C. Bremer - Treasurer
- J. C. Merker - Secretary
A 1929 article in The Lumberman announces the IDF Board of Directors. New to the board is Mr. W. H. Brand (VP of the First Wisconsin Co.). Mentioned as "re-elected members" are:
- Edgar L. Wood
- William C. Frye
- C. R. Messinger
- W. J. Nugent
- Clifford F. Messinger
- L. S. Peregoy
- C. E. Stone
By 1930, the IDF address was 4051 N. 27th St. Milwaukee.
The May 6, 1961 edition of The Michigan Alumnus identifies Mr. Charles W. Stone as President of IDF.
At some point before 1980, IDF established the Interstate Southwest Drop Forge Co. in Navasota, TX. It is currently unknown whether this was expansion through acquisition or internal.
A 1991 issue of Merger and Acquisition Sourcebook reports a planned acquisition of IDF by Christiana Cos. has been terminated.
Right around the year 2000, IDF changes it's name to Interstate Forging Industries, Inc.
In a 2002 edition of Business World, Interstate Forging Industries announced the closing of it's Milwaukee forging facilities.
Harris-Thomas Drop Forging Company - This forge is being added due to the recent discovery that as a minimum, Cornwell used them for some of their forgings. Image 2 below presents the announcement of formation and the forge mark of H-T.
This No. 55 1/2" Drive Female Cornwell Ratchet bears the HT forge mark of Harris-Thomas. The company was founded on 11/11/1924 in Dayton, OH by G. Ernest Harris, Laura M. Thomas, S. Foster Harris, Charles H. Thomas and Grace Thomas. The company took over the facilities of the National Drop Forge Co. Harris-Thomas is still in business today and still located in Dayton, OH.
Western Forge was founded by Mr. C. William Schlosser in April of 1966 in Colorado Springs, CO with an address of 4607 Rusina Dr., Pikes Peak Industrial Park. An article from a local newspaper in February of 1969 notes that Schlosser first announced his plans for the company in 1965 and had been the President of 4 publically traded tool companies. A newspaper article from February, 1967 notes their primary products as torque wrenches, wheel and gear pullers, and flaring tools. The article notes 45 employees at the end of 1966. Additionally, the article reports that the company has expanded it's factory and throughout 1967 will be extending it's product line with punches, chisels and screwdrivers. Along with Mr. Schlosser, Mr. Ralph Martin left Lectrolite to start the company in the role of Manufacturing Manager. 2 years later Mr. Martin was named Vice President of Western Forge. After immigrating from Oslo, Norway in 1927, Mr. Martin worked for the J. P. Danielson company for almost 20 years. In 1946, Mr. Martin was hired as the Lectrolite Plant Assistant Superintendent and was eventually promoted to Superintendent.
On 20 July, 1969 a local newspaper reports that Western Forge has been awarded the Sears "Symbol of Excellence" award given to outstanding suppliers of Sears merchandise. Unfortunately, the article does not note the individual products supplied.
The February 14, 1971 edition of the Colorado Springs Gazzette-Telegraph reports that 1970 was a year of extensive expansion for Western Forge. The article notes the following expansion programs:
- In June of 1970, the company began shipping it's first adjustable wrenches;
- In July of 1970, their first shipments of socket wrenches and socket wrench sets began leaving the factory;
- During 1971, the factory will begin shipment of slip joint and solid joint pliers.
Keystone Drop Forge Works
The Keystone Drop Forge Works was established in April of 1899 in Chester, PA (Philadelphia). The principals at founding were:
- Archibald R. Dewey
- John P. Crozer
- Francis E. Weston
- William G. Neilson
- Jerome Keeley
By 1902, the company is listed as manufacturers of the following products, including wrenches:
- Bicycle Forgings
- Bronze Forgings
- Manganese-Bronze Forgings
- Machine Handles
- Cant Hooks
- Hoist and Crane Hooks
- Car Coupling Links and Pins
- Chain Repair Links
- Thumb Nuts
- Iron Rosettes
- Chain Swivels
- Coal Breaker Teeth
- Thresher Machine Teeth
- Electrical Trolley Materials
- Drop Forged Wrenches
- Comutator Bars
The company appears to have survived until at least 1949 and may have moved to Easton, PA around 1921.