The early life of professional inventor—and co-founder of what became Atlas Press Co.—Gardner T. Eames can be found in a 1904 biography. Prior to 1911, Gardner T. Eames had a modest business manufacturing some of his inventions, including wooden pulleys and drill grinders. In that year he had an idea for an improved arbor and mandrel press but felt he did not have the capital to properly exploit his invention. He found a partner in another Kalamazoo resident, Herbert H. Everard, trained as a printer but who had made his money in a family business that manufactured regalia for the Masons and other fraternal organizations. In late 1911, Eames and Everard established G. T. Eames Co. to manufacture the new press. Company ownership was shared equally between the two men, with Eames running the design and manufacturing side of the business and Everard managing the commercial and financial side. The press was an immediate success, and was awarded a patent in September of 1912.
In June 1913, Everard was injured in a stair collapse while visiting a paper plant in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario. He died from his injuries a few days later, age 55. His half of the ownership in G. T. Eames Co. fell to his daughter and her husband, John H. Penniman. Penniman took over business management of the company and soon the formerly thriving business was beset by strife and financial difficulty. Eames sold his share of the business to Penniman, who moved the business to new quarters and renamed it to Atlas Press Co. Eames took over the old premises, running a machine shop business and manufacturing some of his other inventions. In 1914 he patented an improved press table, and this improvement was assigned to Atlas Press Co., in accordance with the original business agreement.
In 1916, Eames was granted another patent on an improvement to the arbor press (the addition of gears and ratchet between the lever and the rack on the ram). He then organized a new corporation under the abandoned name of his former business, G. T. Eames Co., and began manufacturing "Eames Presses"—same product name, same old company name, same old location. As we might expect, there was confusion in the marketplace and misdirected mail. Penniman's Atlas Press Company filed for an injunction barring Eames from making an arbor press and demanding that rights to the improved press be transferred to Atlas Press Co. The court ruled that the agreement in place gave Atlas Press the rights to any improvements on the original patent, and the 1916 patent was exactly that. This appears to have been the end of the G. T. Eames (1916) Co. Meanwhile, the Atlas Press Co. overcame its financial difficulties and continued to experience success in the arbor press market.
During the 1920s Atlas Press added drill presses and metalworking lathes to their product lineup. During the 1930s they began making wood lathes. In 1934 they began making drill presses and wood lathes for Sears Roebuck, which marketed them under the Craftsman, Companion, and Dunlap names. At some point, reportedly in 1935, they obtained the "Power King" line of woodworking machinery by purchasing Power King Tool Corp., formerly Portable Power Tool Corp. In 1950 they purchased the higher-end machine tool maker Clausing Lathe Co.; by the mid-1950s they were focusing on the industrial and commercial metalworking markets, and in 1960 they sold the woodworking equipment line to Black & Decker.
In 1964 the Clausing Division of Atlas Press Co. acquired the business of I. O. Johansson Co., makers of the vertical and horizontal milling machines that were resold under the Clausing label. These machines were, and continued to be, a successful lineup for Atlas-Clausing.
In 1969, the Atlas Press Co. changed its name to Clausing Corp., and some time later, to Clausing Industrial, Inc.
Address (1949 Popular Mechanics): 1819 N. Pitcher St, Kalamazoo 13D, Michigan.
The G. T. Eames Co.
There were no less than three distinct incarnations of the G. T. Eames Co. All were located in Kalamazoo and all were established by Gardner T. Eames. The first was in business from 1894 to 1900, and primarily made drill grinders; this first incarnation became the Fuller Manufacturing Co. The second incarnation was created in 1911 by Eames and Herbert H. Everard, and this is the incarnation that became Atlas Press Co. after Eames parted ways. The third incarnation was created in 1916 to manufacture Eames' improved arbor press, and this one was forced out of business by Atlas Press Co. because Eames had signed an agreement giving Atlas Press rights to improvements on his press.
- 1894-06-14 The Iron Trade Review, in a list of new new enterprises.
Kalamazoo, Mich—G. T. Eames & Co.; capital, $15,000; to manufacture and sell twist drill grinders ; incorporators : Wilfred Eames, Ann Arbor, Mich; Gardner T. Eames, F. V. Eames, Kalamazoo, Mich. Address letters care of G. T. Eames, Kalamazoo, Mich.
- Information on Everard was found in a book on Freemasonry.A book on the history of Detroit has an excellent biography of Everard that includes broad descriptions of his business interests and of his death.
- October 1914 Mill Supplies.
The Atlas Press Co. is successor to the G. T. Eames Co., manufacturer of Eames compound mandrel presses, 314 North Park street, Kalamazoo, Mich. A year ago the interest of G. T. Eames was purchased by J. H. Penniman, secretary and treasurer.
- 1914-10-29 The Iron Age.
The G. T. Eames Co., Kalamazoo, Mich., manufacturer of Eames compound mandrel presses, has changed its name to the Atlas Press Co. The corporation was organized about three years ago, and one year ago the Atlas Press Co. purchased the interest of G. T. Eames.
- A 1919 lawsuit, Atlas Press Co. v. Eames, gives a lucid outline of the early history of the two incarnations of the G. T. Eames Co. and the Atlas Press Co.
- The Atlas Press Co. web site gives a company history. Another history appears on an archived version of an old AOL personal web page.
- More information related to this maker is available in the Wiki, including paint colors, a jointer-guard template, and belt replacement data.
- Thanks to Wayne L. Carter for reporting the existence of a Companion-badged drill press made by Atlas (model number 101.03541).
- 1939 catalog that includes sections on drill presses and wood lathes.
- 1948, 1949, 1950, 1952 catalogs of "Power King" woodworking tools.
- An ad in the 1955-56 Hitchcock's Wood Workers' Digest Directory, published in 1954, shows Atlas Press's woodworking machines.
- A correspondent reports a machine label saying, "Atlas Power Tools Ltd. / St. Thomas Ont. / Canada". The style of the logo is identical to those for Atlas Press, and they were very likely Atlas's Canadian subsidiary. See the entry for Atlas Power Tools Ltd.
- 1960 ad for Atlas tablesaw, jointer, and drill press. This ad contradicts earlier information we had received that Atlas Press sold their woodworking machinery line in the mid-1950s.