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Manufacturers Index - Betts Machine Co.

Betts Machine Co.
Wilmington, DE, Rochester, NY, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Metal Working Machinery

Last Modified: Sep 4 2019 3:35PM by Mark Stansbury
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Betts Machine Co. Factory, ca. 1920

Betts Machine Co.

      A firm doing an extensive business in the manufacture of heavy machinery is the Betts Machine Company, of Maryland Avenue. The house of E. & A. Betts was established in 1860, by Edward T. Betts and his brother, Alfred Betts. It was incorporated under the present title in 1879; the present officers being, president, Alfred Betts; vice-president, William Betts; treasurer, Edward T. Betts. The plant is located on a tract of about seven acres of land, and the buildings are extensive, the foundry having an area of seventy by one hundred and thirty feet, the machine shop four hundred by fifty feet, pattern shop, blacksmith shop and pattern houses one hundred and twenty by forty, besides which are the office building, etc. Steam power is supplied by three large engines. The facilities for shipment from these works are unsurpassed, as the railroad tracks run directly through the yards, and the house possesses about every convenience desirable. The products of the earlier works consist of machine tools and appliances of movements of all kinds, including lathes, planers, drills, slotting machines, turning and boring-machines, car-wheel borers, cutting-off machines, standard gauges, etc., for the manufacture of all of which the company has the highest reputation in the trade.

      In 1878, the firm was reorganized as the Betts Machine Co. The company made powered machines under this name and machinist tools under the name American Std. Gauge Works, a Philadelphia company which they bought and moved to DE in 1879. Some of those were marked B.M. CO. They sold the machinist tool portion of the company to the Taylor-Rice Engineering Co. in 1895.

      The Betts family of Wilmington, Delaware, produced three generations of innovative founders and machinists. They played an important role in the founding of three of the city's major manufacturing enterprises: The Betts Machine Company, which became the Wilmington shops of DuPont; the Harlan & Hollingsworth Company, a builder of railroads cars and an innovator in iron and steel shipbuilding; and the Pusey & Jones Company, a builder of iron ships and machinery.

      On Feb. 21 1918. Iron Age stated that a new Betts Machine Co. of Rochester, N. Y., had purchased the patterns, patents, good will, etc., formerly possessed by the former Betts Machine Co. of Wilmington. Del. Ownership of these patterns passed to M. H. Sherritt and C. H. Stoer of the Sherritt & Stoer Co., machine tool dealer, Philadelphia, PA, a few months previously when the Betts shops in Wilmington were sold to the E. I. duPont deNemours Co. A. H. Ingle is head of the new Betts Machine Co.

In 1922 the Betts Machine Co. merged with Colburn Machine Tool Co, Hilles and Jones Co, Modern Tool Co. and Newton Machine Tool Works to form the Consolidated Machine Tool Corp. of Rochester, NY.

Information Sources

  • American Lathe Builders: 1810-1910 by Kenneth L. Cope, 2001 page 18
  • History of Delaware : 1609-1888 V II pg 777 L. J. Richards Co. 1888
  • Standard corporation service, daily revised - Page 64 Standard Statistics Company - 1918
  • Directory of American Toolmakers Early American Industries Association 1999
  • The Hagley Museum Wilmington, DE
  • More history and machine information can be found at Tony Griffith's Lathe web site.