Blackhawk Research


The November 10, 1910 edition of The Iron Trade review announces the formation of the American Grinder Manufacturing Co.  Officers are:

  • Charles A. Krause (President of the C. A. Krause Milling Co.)
  • Leo Bethke
  • Frank Lueck

Mr. Bethke apparently was not involved with the company for a long period of time.  In 1916 he filed for a patent on a clamping device, with the assignee being the Luther Grinder Manufacturing Company of Milwaukee.  Soon after, he filed several patents with the assignee being the Chain Belt Company, also of Milwaukee.  Here is a detailed history of the Chain Belt Co. from 1916.

In 1911, Polk's Wisconsin State Gazetteer and Business Directory lists C. A. Krause as President and Treasurer, and Frank Lueck as Secretary.  There is no mention of Mr. Bethke.  The address is also listed as 911 32nd St.

In the 1913 edition of R. L. Polks Wisconsin State Gazetteer, American Grinder is listed as being located in the "Stroh Building."

The 1929 edition of the SAE Handbook shows the address for Blackhawk Mfg. at 148 Broadway in Milwaukee.

In attempting to determine the timeframe for Blackhawk becoming part of New Britain, I found a blurb in the 1955 edition of the Welding Engineer that still lists them as "The Blackhawk Manufacturing Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin."  Link to blurb is here.  The blurb is in reference to "Hexite" and Blackhawk's use of Hexite in the production of their Nugget Series.

In the 1939 Edition of Motor Age, Blackhawk announces their Hexite Nugget series of wrenches and socket wrenches.

In 1951, the Automotive Service Digest announces the new "Bald Headed Ratchet."

It appears that sometime in the mid 1940's the Hexite steel was unavailable up until at least late 1947 and the Nuggets were not being produced.

1928 - Earliest mention of Blackhawk-Armstrong wrenches thus far.

We discovered that in the 1955 New Britain Machine Company Annual Report, NB announces the acquisition of Blackhawk in October of 1955.

Edward M. Pfauser

Mr. Pfauser was a prolific inventor for Blackhawk Manufacturing Co.  Born in Minnesota in 1894, it appears he began his tenure as an engineer for Blackhawk in about 1926.  In 1925 he is listed in the Oshkosh city directory as a clerk for an unidentified company.  From the records I can locate, Mr. Pfauser's highest level of education was 1st grade.  Regardless of his level of education, Mr. Pfauser is responsible for virtually every innovative design produced by Blackhawk from the mid-1920's until they were acquired by New Britain Machine Co. in 1955.  Notable among these inventions are the famous "Lock-on" feature, "free-wheeling" ratchets, Porta-Power sets, and almost every hydraulic pump manufactured by Blackhawk.  Mr. Pfauser also invented other products such as a self propelled lawn mower in the 1960's.  Here is a link to Google Patents listing Mr. Pfauser's designs/patents.

Mr. Pfauser passed away in Wisconsin in 1981.