Before 1885, Philip Diehl was a machine designer for sewing machine manufacturer Singer Manufacturing Co. That year, he went out on his own to manufacture his new electric motors. Operating under the name Philip Diehl, he worked out of space in the Singer factory in Elizabet, NJ, and Singer was, of course, his main customer. In 1887, Diehl created the first ceiling fan that was directly driven by an electric motor. This impressive technical achievement was enabled by the use of a low-speed high-torque motor developed by Belgian electrical engineer Zénobe Gramme. Perhaps inspired by the potential sales of his new product, Diehl incorporated that year, as Diehl & Co., changing the name in 1896 to Diehl Manufacturing Co..
Over the next few decades, Diehl Manufacturing Co. expanded their product line to include fractional horsepower DC and AC motors plus a variety of motor-based products such as oscillating fans, handheld electric drills, and bench grinders. This website's focus is woodworking and metalworking machinery plus the motors that powered them. Thus, Diehl is listed on our site because they made motors and bench grinders. Other items they made, such as electric drills, fans, and specialized (e.g., sewing machine) motors, are outside the scope of our site and we cannot provide more information on them.
At some point Diehl was acquired by Singer and became the Diehl Division of Singer Manufacturing Co., or, more formally, Diehl Manufacturing Co., a Division of Singer Manufacturing Co. Both before and after that time, they were a supplier of handheld electric drills and bench grinders to Sears, with Sears model-number prefix 315.
In 1988 the Motor Products Division of Diehl (which was, in turn, a division of Singer) was acquired by Japanese power tool maker Ryobi, Ltd., becoming the basis of Ryobi's new U.S. operations, Ryobi Motor Products Corp.; Ryobi took over supply of products to Sears Craftsman, retaining the 315 manufacturer code.
- 1913-04-17 Engineering News.
Philip H. Diehl, M. Am. Inst. E. E., founder of the Diehl Manufacturing Co., Elizabeth, N. J., died at his home in Elizabeth, Apr. 7, aged 66 years. He was a native of Germany and came to this country in 1868. He was first employed by the Singer Sewing Machine Co., and soon became known as an inventor. In 1879, he invented an electric arc lamp, and later a small battery motor, which embraced the principle of varying the air gap for speed control, and a dynamo. In 1887, he founded the firm of Diehl & Co., which has now become the Diehl Manufacturing Co.
- Brian Kachadurian sent us pictures of a 1/4-inch Craftsman electric drill, model 315.25701, complete in its original box that identified the maker and their location. Please note that handheld power tools are not within the scope of the Old Woodworking Machines website; this maker is listed because they also made electric motors and bench grinders, which are eligible.
- Brian also reported a bench grinder from this maker.
- A search of the USPTO did not turn up any patents assigned to this maker, but a couple of patents mention Diehl Manufacturing Co. of Somerville as a supplier of certain types of motors. One such mention is from a 1961 patent that references a 1955 datasheet from Diehl. A 1969 patent mentions a servo-motor from the Diehl Division of Singer Co., Somerville, NJ. A 1971 patent mentions a vacuum pump from the Diehl Division of Singer Co.
- The library at the Henry Ford Museum has in its collection three catalogs from Diehl Manufacturing Co., dated 1954, 1956, and "circa 1961".
- At one time a supplier to the Federal Government. Commercial And Government Entity (CAGE) code 17771. Listed as Singer Co Industrial Sewing Products Divison, Finderne NJ and Piscataway NJ.
- Information on the Ryobi acquisition came from a Craftsman Club discussion.
- Information on the Diehl development of the ceiling fan comes from an article in the July/August issue of the Old-House Journal.
- The National Encyclopedia of American Biography's article on Philip Diehl says, "In 1896 his enterprise was incorporated as the Diehl Manufacturing Co.,..."
- The 1897 book History of Union County, New Jersey, ed. F. W. Ricord, refers to Diehl Manufacturing Co., which is the earliest mention we can find of that name. Unfortunately, the online New Jersey corporate registration database does not go back far enough to include Diehl Manufacturing Co., let along Diehl & Co.