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Manufacturers Index - Covel Manufacturing Co.

Covel Manufacturing Co.
Chicago, IL; Benton Harbor, MI, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Metal Working Machinery

Last Modified: Aug 29 2019 6:30AM by toolguybak
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In 1886 Milo Covel of Chicago was manufacturing the Kinney patent saw swage. In 1890, Covel and Lars Larsen Filstrup founded Covel Manufacturing Co. to make saw sharpening machinery. Filstrup and his family bought out Covel in 1904 and three years later relocated the business to Benton Harbor, Michigan.

In 1916 The Machinery Company of America was established in Grand Rapids to act as distributor for Covel Manufacturing Co., Hanchett Swage Works, and Baldwin, Tuthill & Bolton. In 1928, The Machinery Company of America changed its name to the Covel-Hanchett Company. News articles of the day tended to describe the Covel and Hanchett companies as subsidiaries of the Covel-Hanchett Co. However, in 1945 it was announced that the Covel-Hanchett Company was purchased by the Hanchett Manufacturing Company of Big Rapids. In 1968, Covel Manufacturing Co. was acquired by Atlas Press Co. of Kalamazoo, which changed its name only a year later to Clausing Corp.

In 1876 W. L. Covel of Chicago was making saw-sharpening machines. In 1910 Covel Manufacturing Co. was making a swaging and shaping machine designed by W. L. Covel. Presumably William L. Covel was somehow involved in the early history of the company but we have not been able to figure out any details.

Besides saw sharpening machinery, Covel Manufacturing Co. made power hacksaws that were sold under their Excel Machine Tools subsidiary and through Sears, Roebuck & Co. as Craftsman brand, with model-number prefix 108.

Advertisement from February 1951 Popular Mechanics. The "Excel Machine Tools" name was used with Covel's low-priced power hacksaw line.

Information Sources

  • 1876 pamphlet for "The BOSS saw sharpener. Patented January 11, 1876." The pamphlet referred to W. L. Covel's exhibit at the Centennial Exhibition.
  • The 1901 Official Catalogue and Guide Book to the Pan-American Exposition lists "Covel Mfg. Co., Chicago, Ill., U. S. S. Saw machinery. Saw sharpening and saw fitting machinery of every description."
  • The 1906-06-14 American Machinist had the following news item:
    The Covell Manufacturing Company, of Chicago, 111., making saw and tool-sharpening machinery, will move to Benton Harbor, Mich., where it will erect one of the largest foundries In the State.
  • The July 1906 Wood Craft had the following news item:
    The L. Covel Mfg. Co., manufacturer of saw sharpening machinery, Chicago, is planning the erection of a plant at Benton Harbor, Mich., to include a foundry 60 by 75 feet, a machine shop 50 by 250 feet, two stories; a power house and store house. As the buildings are completed at the new plant orders will be transferred from Chicago for execution and the old factory will eventually be abandoned.
  • Ad in 1909-12-02 issue of Iron Age for saw sharpening machinery from Covel Mfg. Co., Benton Harbor, Mich.
  • Article in St. Louis Lumberman on the Covel saw swage and shaping machine, invented by Mr. W. L. Covel and manufactured by Covel Manufacturing Co.
  • The September 1916 The Wood-Worker had the following item:
    Saw and Knife-fitting Machinery. The Machinery Company of America, Grand Rapids, Mich., which was recently incorporated to act as distributor for Baldwin, Tuthill & Bolton, of Grand Rapids; the Covel Manufacturing Co., Benton Harbor, Mich., and the Hanchett Swage Works, Big Rapids, Mich., has Issued a 240-page catalog covering the complete line of saw and knife-fitting machinery and tools which are manufactured by the respective companies. It is called the American Blue Book No. 25, and Is filled with descriptions of the tools and directions for using them, along with valuable suggestions. It is illustrated on almost every page with clear cuts, and Its contents embrace every requirement of the man who is engaged In saw or knife-fitting.
  • The 1919-01-16 American Machinist had the following entry in their "Trade Catalogs" column:
    Saw and Knife Fitting Machinery and Tools. Machinery Company of America, general office. Big Rapids. Mich. Catalog No. 30. Pp. 224; 61 x 9J. Covering the output of three factories for which this company acts as distributor—the Covel Manufacturing Co.. Benton Harbor, Mich.; Baldwin. Tuthill & Bolton. Grand Rapids. Mich., and the Hanchett Swage Works. Grand Rapids, Mich. It describes and illustrates various types of saw and knife fitting machinery made by these factories. It will be forwarded to interested parties free on request.
  • A 1928 issue of The Southern Lumberman carried this item:
    ...Announcement has been made that the firm name of the Machinery Company of America, manufacturers of saw and knife fitting machinery with headquarters here, has been changed to the Covel-Hanchett Company. The management and personnel of ...
  • From a 1944 issue of The Southern Lumberman:
    The Covel-Hanchett Company acts as a distributor for the saw and knife fitting machines of the Covel Manufacturing Company, Benton Harbor, Mich., and the Hanchett Products Company, Big Rapids, Mich.,...
  • A 1945 issue The Timberman carried this item:
    Purchase of the Covel-Hanchett Company by the Hanchett Manufacturing Co., Big Rapids, Michigan, was recently announced. A new division of the Hanchett Manufacturing Co. is to be formed and will be known as the Saw and Knife Fitting Machine Division. The new Hanchett division...
  • Popular Mechanics, V89, Feb 1948, pg. 238.
  • An ad in the January 1958 Popular Mechanics is for a power hacksaw; the illustrated saw looks like a small Covel, and the address given is a post office box in Benton Harbor. The "company name" is given as "Excel Machine Tools". It was fairly common at the time for companies advertising inexpensive versions of their products to avoid giving the true company name.
  • The 1868-11-25 News-Palladium of Benton Harbor.
    Covel Manufacturing Co. of Benton Harbor has been sold to the Atlas Press Co. of Kalamazoo...
  • Some links to more information on this maker can be found in an owwm.org forum discussion.