The machine information here is only applicable to DeWalt machines from before the 1990s. For information on later (non-"Vintage") machines you will have to consult other sources such as DeWalt's own website.
DeWalt Products Co. was founded 1924, two years after Ray DeWalt invented the radial arm saw, which he originally called the "Wonder-Worker". DeWalt Products Co. was reorganized in 1947 as a subsidiary of the newly-formed DeWalt Inc. In 1949, American Machine & Foundry Co. Inc., purchased DeWalt Inc. AMF is more famous for making bowling equipment and for owning Harley Davidson from 1969 to 1981. Before the Harley Davidson acquisition, though, in 1960, AMF sold DeWalt to budding conglomerate Black & Decker, whose reputation for quality handheld power tools had, at that time, only been slightly sullied by their value-engineered line of homeowner tools. DeWalt was operated as a subsidiary until 1970, when it became the Lancaster Machinery Division. Still owned by B&D, DeWalt now operates as DeWalt Industrial Tool Co., headquartered in Hampstead, MD.
One curiosity of the B&D-era DeWalt is that some radial arm saws were built in Italy and imported here. We have seen a model 7170 10" radial arm saw marked "Black & Decker (U.S.) Inc., Hunt Valley, MD... Made in Italy".
In 1989 the industrial radial arm saw line was sold to two of its former executives, who founded Lancaster Machinery Co. Within a short time Lancaster went under and the rights to the DeWalt saw designs went to The Original Saw Company, which moved production to Britt, IA. For many years, rebuilt saws and DeWalt parts were available from Wolfe Machinery, which wound down their business in 2016. Their next door neighbor, Bradley Tools and Fasteners, has taken over the business of rebuilding DeWalt saws and providing onsite repair and service for all woodworking machines. They also have a parts inventory of DeWalt parts.
With only a couple of very rare exceptions, DeWalt never designed any machines other than radial arm saws, but several machine types were sold under the DeWalt label. The exceptions date from the late 1920s or early '30s and include a 6" jointer and a hollow chisel mortiser, both of unusual and distinctive designs. The examples we have seen are clearly marked as manufactured by DeWalt.
In 1960, DeWalt acquired the rights to the Bennett Two-way panel saw from Richard C. Bennett Manufacturing Co.
During the 1949-1960 AMF era, a number of different machines wore DeWalt badges. Some Atlas Press Co. machines were rebadged by DeWalt, including jointer, tablesaw , drill press, sander, lathe and 12" bandsaw. We have also see some 20" DeWalt-badged bandsaws from this era; we believe it was an American Saw Mill Machinery Co. design that was acquired by AMF. A 24" scrollsaw is of uncertain origin.
DeWalt Serial Number Registry
Below you will see a section on the DeWalt Serial Number Registry. The intent of the DeWalt registry is to compile data on DeWalt Products equipment falling into two general categories:
- Commercial and industrial series radial arm and panel saws.
- Unique one-off or prototype DeWalt Products designs.
This list of commercial and industrial series models would include, but may not be limited to, all G-type models (GA, GE, GK, GL, GP, GS), the TC-series, model 3516, and the SuperDuty saws.
At this time there will be no entry of models aimed at the consumer market, such as the PowerShop models and other saws smaller than 12" and producing less than 3 HP. This limitation is necessary to confine the duties of the registry to the interests of those involved in maintaining it.
Dating your DeWalt Radial Arm Saw
A very good estimate of the production date of your saw can be obtained from Rick Antrobus' analysis of serial numbers versus date of manufacture. Also helpful is a timeline of DeWalt radial arm saw models. For pre-1945 machines the timeline is generally more reliable than the serial-number analysis. After that time, both approaches are quite accurate.
- Most of this information has been gleaned from patent information and old catalogs.
- The Henry Ford Museum has a 1944 catalog, "Tools and attachments for DeWalt woodworking machines"
- The Henry Ford Museum has a 1951 catalog, "The De Walt model R-2 with receding arm : the woodworker for greater production and low woodcutting costs in construction, industrial plants, lumber yards, woodworking plants."
- Thanks to Erik Strombom for bringing to our attention a Craisgslist ad (San Francisco) for an Italian-made DeWalt saw. The saw is of conventional 1970s DeWalt design.
- Information on Wolfe's shutdown and Bradley Tools and Fastener's resumption of that business came from an owwm.org forum discussion.