Erie Tool Works

According to the History page of Lakeview Forge, the following significant events in the Erie Tool Works history:

1902 - Company founding by Frank W. Bacon at 12th & Cascade Streets.

1928 - After Bacon’s death in 1928, succeeding Presidents are his son-in-law Alan Kite and son, Edwin W. Bacon until his death in 1949.  In  1946, grandson F. Warner Bacon joins the company. 

1950’s - ETW acquires several patents for its tool designs including a pipe vise, pipe wrench, and tubing  cutters.

1951 - ETW moves to 12th and Liberty (the current location).

1952 - ETW acquires Lakeview Forge at 1725 Pittsburgh Avenue (current location) to have a source for the forgings used in its tools.   Founded in 1912, it started as Lakeside Forge Company on East Lake Rd.  In 1925, it becomes Lakeview Drop Forge Co and moves to Pittsburgh Avenue.   In 1935, the company  acquires a patent for improvements in “Methods of Forming Clevises” and becomes  Lakeview Forge and Clevis Company.

1954 - ETW purchases Stillson wrench business of Boston’s Walworth Co.

1955 - ETW files trademark for "Pipemaster" name.

1959  - ETW purchases Holland Mfg of Erie (estab. 1887)  makers of vises, melting pots, ladles, and pipecutters.    ETW starts use of the name Erie Pipemaster Tee Turner and files for patent in 1961.

1960's - ETW begins production of suspension lugs and obtains major contracts with the US Goverment.  

1964 - A sixth major expansion of Lakeview Forge is completed including new office space, new factory space (three new hammers).  At the time there are two shifts and more than 100 employees.

1964   The Erie Story quotes ETW as “the world’s largest independently owned maker of pipe wrenches”.   For more than 30 years the company produces a line of plumbing tools for Sears as well as many other private brand names (Armstrong, Ridgid, Toledo, Capewell, NYE, Skinner Seal and Reed Manufacturing). The company completes a major expansion with remodeled/enlarged offices and additional plant space.  

1965   The company is bought by Textron for its defense work.  At the time, Dewitt Bull is President and F. Warner Bacon is Vice President, both grandsons of the founder.  

1968   Dewitt Bull resigns;  Bacon becomes General Manager.  

1970 - ETW obtains a patent for a Flange Tightener.

1972 - ETW obtains a patent for a Pipe Cutter.  

1972 - Textron decides to sell the company.  F. Warner Bacon forms a buyout for both ETW and Lakeview Forge.  He makes Lakeview Forge the parent company with ETW as a division.

1975 - Matthew L. Bacon (Warner's son) begins full time at the company and in 1978 becomes GM of ETW.

1998 - F.W. Bacon promotes his son, Matthew, to President and as a member of the Board of Directors along with his sister, Kitty Bacon Koch,  who was working in sales.   Later Koch becomes VP of Sales.   F.W. Bacon remains on the Board until his passing in 2007.   

2005 - Lakeview installs its first hydraulic power hammer and induction heater so it can continue making suspension lugs to the government requirement.

2008 - Lakeview is certified ISO9001:2008.

2014 - Lakeview obtains another large government contract for suspension lugs.

2015 - After the unfortunate passing of Matthew at age 60,  Koch becomes President.

The Erie Tool Works was founded by Frank Bacon in 1902. 

The 2/5/1907 edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer announces the charter of the Erie Tool Works in Erie, PA.  Initial capital is listed as $30,000.  Frank Bacon appears to have been among the founders as he is President of the company in 1911.  In 1922 they were located at 11th & French streets.  The 5/15/1928 edition of The Kane Republican announces the passing of Mr. Frank Bacon.  Interestingly, it identifies him as having held the position of Vice President at this point.

At some point, we believe during the 1960's, Erie Tool Works was acquired by Textron.  In August of 1971, Beaver Tools of Toledo (a division of Wyle Laboratories) acquired the "entire line of heavy-duty pipe wrenches and other pipe working tools" from Erie Tool Works.

Trade Names and Brands from Trade Publications:

  • Empire (Bench)
  • Erie Tool Works (Bench & Pipe, Machinist, Pipe)
  • Erie Kit (Pipe)
View Reference: