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Manufacturers Index - Mechanics Machine Co.
Last Modified: Nov 7 2019 11:24PM by Jeff_Joslin
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This company was founded in 1890 by Levin Faust, Gustave A. Dahlin, Carl Forsberg and Frank W. Lindgren. Almost immediately they began manufacturing a small friction-feed drill press. Over the years they added another friction-feed model and various larger belt-feed models of drill presses. They also started making automobile parts such as U-joints. In their first decade of business, Forsberg and Dahlin sold out to the other two partners. In 1912, Mechanics' Machine Company sold their line of drill presses to Rockford Drilling Machine Company and focused on manufacturing auto parts.

In 1928, the company became a founding division of Borg-Warner Corp. In 1929, Borg-Warner bought out Rockford Drilling Machine Company.

Note also that Mechanics' Machine co-founder Frank W. Lindgren established the gear-drill maker F. W. Lindgren Co., which is known to have been in business in 1915; we can speculate that Mr. Lindgren wished to remain in the drill-press business despite selling that line to Rockford Drilling Machine Co., and left Mechanics' Machine Co. to found his new venture. Things worked out rather better for the last remaining original partner, Levin Faust: Lindgren's new business was short-lived but Faust, through his part-ownership of Borg-Warner, became one of the wealthiest men in the region.

Information Sources

  • Thanks to Rick Henson, who brought this maker to our attention.
  • A Rockford web site mentions that a Levin Faust emigrated from Sweden to Rockford in 1887, and helped found this company. Another page on the same site says that this firm "later became a founding division of the Borg-Warner Corporation."
  • A discussion in a Practical Machinist forum says that around 1912, Mechanics' Machine Company sold their line of drills to Rockford Drilling Machine Company and continued manufacturing automobile parts.
  • 1926 book, The Rock River Valley has the following biography.

    Carl A. Palmgren, vice president of the Damascus Steel Products Company of Rockford and production manager of that thriving concern, is of European birth but has been a resident of this country since the days of his young manhood, the most of which time has been spent in the city of Rockford, where he has a wide acquaintance in industrial circles and has long been recognized as one of the progressive and enterprising factors in the development of the city's industrial interests. He was born in the kingdom of Sweden, February 1, 1890, and is a son of Erland and Hulda Palmgren, both also natives of that country.

    Reared in his native place, Carl A. Palmgren received his schooling there and was early trained in the art and mystery of toolmaking and the general details of the machinist's trade, becoming there a well qualified craftsman. Upon finishing his trade he came to the United States and located in Rockford. That was in 1909, he then being nineteen years of age. Upon his arrival in Rockford he readily found employment in the plant of the Mechanics Machine Company and was there employed until 1917, in which year his services were secured by the Enderes interests at Albert Lea, Minnesota, and he moved to that city to become the superintendent of the plant of the Enderes Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of tools.

    It was while thus engaged that Mr. Palmgren formed the acquaintance of Charles F. Maitland, Dr. C. V. Nyman and H. M. Hanson, also experienced steel men, and conceived the idea of effecting a combination for the establishment of another steel manufacturing concern. The manner in which he was able to impress upon his friends the desirability of Rockford as a site for their operations gained their consent to sever their relations with the interests with which they were connected in Albert Lea and to establish a new plant in Rockford. It was thus that the Damascus Steel Products Company came into being and the well equipped plant of this company was erected in 1921 at No. 1800 Fourteenth avenue in the city of Rockford. Upon the organization of the company Mr. Palmgren was elected vice president and was made production manager. ...

    A careful comparison of this Carl A. Palmgren who worked for Mechanics Machine Co., when compared to the renowned Carl A. Palmgren of Palmgren Steel Products, Inc., reveals that these are two different men, probably unrelated.