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Manufacturers Index - Mall Tool Co.
Last Modified: Dec 11 2019 9:21AM by Mark Stansbury
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The Mall Tool Co. was founded in 1921 by Arthur W. Mall, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A year later he relocated the business to Chicago. The company became very successful, employing over 2,000 people making power drills, circular saws, chainsaws, and other handheld products. Mall also made a "MallSaw Radial Saw Arm", which converted a handheld circular saw to a small radial arm saw. They also made (or, in truth, rebadged) a bench grinder. The bench grinders are very uncommon.

One interesting connection worth mentioning is that the Electric Mall Plane was designed by Ray L. Carter, an important designer and manufacturer of handheld power tools and stationary sanding and routing machines. We do not know Carter's power planer came to be manufactured by Mall.

In 1956, Mall Tool Co. was acquired by Remington Arms Corp. and renamed the Remington Power Tool Division. Remington was reportedly only interested in the chainsaw portion of the business. By 1969 Remington was in some financial difficulty and the tool division was acquired by a small conglomerate, Desa Industries, that specialized in distressed businesses. The Remington line of chainsaws continued to sell well, many of them through Montgomery Ward and John Deere. In 1970 the line of air tools were sold to Colt Industries. In 1975 the remnants of Mall were acquired by AMCA International Corp., which organized it as the DESA Industries Division. It appears that the Mall power tools and stationary machines were long gone by then. Parts and service for Mall Tool products are no longer available.

Information Sources

  • Address (1950 Popular Mechanics): 7805 South Chicago Ave, Chicago 19, Illinois.
  • Chicago Sunday Tribune 1959-10-04.

    Arthur Mall, Tool Company Founder, Dies
    Began Manufacturing in Garage

    Arthur W. Mall, 2321 Vardon lane, Flossmoor, who began a tool company in Milwaukee in 1921 and sold it for 10 million dollars three years ago, died Saturday in Ingalls Memorial Hospital, Harvey.

    Mall was the founder of the Mall Tool company. He sold it in June, 1956, to the Remington Arms Co., Inc. Since then, he had been operating a smaller firm, the Crete Equipment company, in Crete.

    Started in Milwaukee
    Mall, a former newsboy in South Chicago, got his start in Milwaukee and moved his tool making operation to a garage at 72d street and Stony Island avenue in Chicago the next year.

    His success there led to the formation of the Mall Tool company at 7740 South Chicago av., a firm that grew on an output of flexible shafts for power tools, concrete vibrators, and pneumatic tools.

    In World War II, Malls electric power saws were used extensively on Pacific islands to fell trees for airstrips.

    Mall is survived by his widow, Florence B.; one son, Calvin; one daughter, Diane; and two sisters.

  • The following history is taken from a no-longer-available history page at the DESA Industries web site.
    Mall Tool Co. was founded in the 1920s and specialized in gasoline and electrically powered hand tools. They were acquired by Remington Arms Corp. in 1956, and renamed the Remington Power Tool Division. 1969, some entrepreneurs purchased the Power Tool Division and named the company DESA Industries. They were acquired by AMCA (Master Consolidated) in 1975.
  • A 1964 lawsuit, WEN v. Portable Electric Tools, revealed a couple of interesting tidbits about Mall Tool Co. In the Court of Appeals transcript it says, "Q: Does it still operate under the name Duwell? A: Under Aero Metal Products. As a matter of fact, I think they supplied most of the accessories, including jig saws, for the Mall Tool Company, which, of course, is now defunct. They were bought out by Remington and then they sold out their electric tool business."
  • For another history of the Mall Tool Co., see this biography of Arthur Mall on a now-defunct genealogy site for the Mall family.
  • Cases in Competitive Strategy, a 1983 book by Michael E. Porter, has a useful few paragraphs on the Desa Industries portion of the company history.