McGraw-Edison Co. was created by the 1957 acquisition by McGraw Electric Co. (founded 1900) of Thomas A. Edison Industries (founded 1911).
In 1957, shortly after McGraw-Edison was created, the company acquired Griswold Manufacturing Co., which made a line of portable electric tools. And in 1969 they acquired General Electric's power tool business.
Griswold Manufacturing Co. was founded 1865 in Erie, PA, to make cast iron products, especially cookware. See the Griswold collectors web site for a history of Griswold.
In 1972 McGraw-Edison acquired the power-tool division of G. W. Murphy Industries, Inc., which had acquired Portable Electric Tools, Inc. some time before. It is not known whether all of McGraw-Edison's woodworking tools and machinery can be traced back to Portable Electric Tools. We have reports of some machines labled as "McGraw-Edison Co. / Bersted Mfg. Div. / Boonville, MO" In 1926, McGraw Electric Co. had acquired Bersted Manufacturing Co. of Chicago.
In 1982 (or perhaps late '81), McGraw-Edison sold their power-tool division to Shopsmith, Inc., which liquidated the inventory on hand and then resumed production under the "Benchmark" label.
At some point the former McGraw-Edison power-tool division ended up with Deco Enterprises, Inc., of St. Louis, MO. In 1985, Cooper Industries bought McGraw-Edison. In 1992 McGraw-Edison Co. became McGraw-Edison Corp.
As for Deco Enterprises, they were out of business by about 2004. Parts and service for McGraw-Edison's woodworking machines are no longer available.
If you are looking for information on woodworking machines from this maker, also check under the following entries:
- Ad in the 1969-06-10 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for a sale in the hardware department at Kaufmann's department store, including the "Toastmaster deluxe electric home shop", regularly $49.98, on sale for $39.98. "Seven tools in one with quick and easy changeover. Dad can use it as a lathe, sabre saw, bench grinder, buffer and polisher, disc or drum sander or horizontal drill. Three-speed motor (3700, 3300 and 3100 rpm) has lifetime lubricated bronze bearings. Wood turning lathe has 18" length, 4" diameter; adjustable tail stock and tool rest. Comes complete with accessories."
- Information on the Shopsmith acquisition comes from a June 1982 ad in Popular Science. The ad was from the firm that was hired to liquidate the existing McGraw-Edison inventory.
- The history of this company is adapted from the web site of the Toaster Museum Foundation. Visit that site for more detailed information on the corporate history of this diversified manufacturer.
- A correspondent reports a 10" Shopmate radial arm saw, ca. 1980, labeled, "MacGraw-Edison Co. Portable Appliance & Tool Group, Boonville, MO". Another correspondent reports a new-in-box radial arm saw from Montgomery Ward; included in the box was an original packing slip stating "Manufacturer—McGraw Edison Company" and listing Montgomery Ward under "Sold To:" The Packing List is dated 4/21/73. A third correspondent reports a "McGraw-Edison Co. lathe Bersted Mfg. Div., model #76100-a."
- Information on Deco Enterprises came out of a discussion in an owwm.org forum.
- Seen on eBay: an inexpensive lathe labeled, "Toastmaster / Deluxe Electric Home Shop / Turn - Saw - Grind - Drill - Finish / Model 5560". A manual uploaded to this site confirms that this machine was actually made by the Portable Electric Tools division of McGraw-Edison Co. of Geneva, IL.