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Manufacturers Index - R. L. Carter Co., Inc.

R. L. Carter Co., Inc.
Syracuse, NY; Phoenix, NY; New Britain, CT, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery

Last Modified: Oct 22 2019 5:04PM by Jeff_Joslin
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Ray L. Carter has a peripatetic record as an entrepreneur. His early ventures with the Pioneer Dustless Disc Co. and Carter & Buchholz Co., Inc. are detailed in our entry for Syracuse Sander Manufacturing Co., which was his next company. Syracuse Sander was acquired by Porter-Cable Machine Co. in 1922. In April of 1922 Carter applied for a patent on a handheld electric router. At about the same time R. L. Carter Co. was formed, in Syracuse, to manufacture these routers. The following year the company was reorganized as R. L. Carter Co., Inc.

Carter was, perhaps unknowingly, following in the footsteps of George L. Kelley, the man generally recognized as inventing the handheld router. Carter's first attempt was a modified electric tool for barbers. Over the next decade he received a total of 22 patents, mostly related to routers. He devised improved bits, collets, tool grinders, dovetail jigs, butt mortising gauges, and so on. He also developed stationary overarm routers, which is what qualifies his firm for mention on this woodworking machinery site.

Sometime between 1924 and 1928, the company relocated from Syracuse to Phoenix, NY. Sometime in 1930 or 1931 the business was acquired by The Stanley Works and relocated to Stanley's hometown of New Britain, CT. For a while the business continued to do business as R. L. Carter Co.,. Inc., but eventually it operated as the R. L. Carter Division of Stanley.

Another product that Carter patented (in 1925) was a handheld power planer and we have seen that patent number on a "Electric Mall Plane" from the Mall Tool Co. A 1928 patent for a power-planer sharpening mechanism was also used by Mall.

Information Sources

  • Much of the information on Carter's inventions and product line comes from patent records.
  • From a 1923 edition of Iron Age comes this snippet.
    The R. L. Carter Co.. Inc., 101 Benedict Avenue, Syracuse. N. Y.. incorporated with capital stock of $25,000, has taken over the business of the R. L. Carter Co., that city. and will manufacture electric hand shapers and routers. It is equipped for ...
  • From the July 1924 Merchandising Week:
    Electrical Merchandising, July, 1924 Pattern-makers and woodworkers In general will be interested in the new electric router brought out by the R. L. Carter Company, 1234 South State Street, Syracuse, N. Y.
  • A 1928 edition of Power Engineering has this snippet.
    The R. L. Carter Co., Inc. Booth 466 Phoenix, N. Y. At this exhibit the main features will be Carter shapers and routers of light weight to operate from any electric lamp socket and running at a speed of 18,000 r. p. m. Representative: T. W. Wright ...
  • A 1930 edition of Contractors and Engineers
    A NEW HIGH SPEED ELECTRIC DRILL. The R. L. Carter Co., Inc., New Britain, Conn., will be pleased to provide complete information regarding its new woodworking drill which operates at a speed of 6,000 rpm. literally punching holes through ...
  • 1936 catalog titled, "Stanley Works (R. L. Carter Division), Carter equipment for the woodworking industry - catalog no. 55."
  • Thanks to Keith Bohn, Dave Potts, and Tony Bradley for contributing information related to R. L. Carter Co., Inc. The connections to Syracuse Sander and Porter-Cable are due to Tony and Dave, respectively.
  • Carter is often incorrectly credited with founding Unit Electric Co. of Syracuse, which made handheld power tools, including routers; the true founder appears to be Elmer P. Sacrey.