Emerson Electric Manufacturing Co. was established in 1890 by John Wesley Emerson. In the beginning, they made electric motors and related products, such as switches. Over theyears they added other products to their line, including desk fans and ceiling fans. Starting in about 1940, Emerson began selling their motors through Sears, Roebuck & Co. And starting in 1948 (and perhaps earlier) they made a few woodworking machines for Sears Roebuck. For example, the 1948 Craftsman catalog features the Model 100 tablesaw as "Emerson saws"; examples of this saw have model numbers beginning with 113, which corresponds to Emerson Electric Co. Most of the Craftsman woodworking machines at that time were made by King-Seeley Corp., however.
In 1962 Emerson bought all of King-Seeley Corp.'s design patents, tooling, and parts for Sears, Roebuck & Co. Craftsman and Dunlap lines. Emerson began production of machines in 1964.
In 1990, Leroy-Somer Canada Ltd., Granby, QC, was purchased by the U. S. Electrical Motors division of Emerson. The Granby plant was closed in 1992; production for the Canadian market moved to USEM's Markham plant, but then that plant was closed in 1993.
Emerson lost their Sears contract around 1998, but they began making the Ridgid line of stationary power tools for Home Depot. The Emerson Tool Co. (a division of Emerson Electric Co.) no longer makes woodworking machines (they make shop vacuums), and the Ridgid brand woodworking machines are made elsewhere.
Emerson contact information: 314-553-2000 | www.emerson.com | 8000 West Florissant Ave, POB 4100, St Louis, MO 63136
Parts and Manuals
For information on availability of parts and manuals, see the Craftsman entry in the Manufacturers Index.
- From the 2001 book, Cold War Strategist: Stuart Symington and the Search for National Security, by Linda McFarland.
Additional passages in the book discuss Emerson's race relations and union relations.
...[Stuart Symington] left Yale in 1923 to take a menial job making railroad equipment with the T. H. Symington Company of Rochester, New York, which was owned by an uncle. He was exptect to learn all aspects of the company operation, from the bottom to top-level management. The job allowed Symington and Eve [Wadsworth] to be married in 1924. Working with people who lived under penurious circumstances and with an African-American foreman, Symington developed a respect for the working class and a distaste for racial prejudice. At night he took correspondence courses in mathematics, metallurgy, and engineering. He was determined to succeed—to become a rich man. Even as a laborer, however, Symington neither suffered fools gladly nor tempered his criticism with diplomacy. His outspoken denunciation of his uncle's inefficient managerial style cost him his job in 1925.
For the next few years, Symington was employed by several of his other uncles, improving his business skills and even rescuing his first ailing company, a clay products plant that was in financial trouble. His big break came when two of his more prosperous uncles agreed to loan him, along with his partner Fulton Catting, $500,000 to purchase Colonial Radio Corporation. In 1930 Symington convinced General Robert E. Wood, president of Sears, Roebuch and Company, to market the radios his company produced in return for 49 percent of the company stock. Four years later he sold Colonial to Sylvania Products for $3,750,000 and retired at the age of thirty-three.
...The Emerson Electric Manufacturing Company of St. Louis, Missouri, maker of electric fans and small motors, suffered during the 1930s from poor management and hostile labor relations. In 1938 it experienced a fifty-three strike, the second longest sit-down strike in the history of the nation, because the company refused to recognize the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Works, Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). ... [An investment banker] contacted Symington and persuaded him to become the chief executive officer of Emerson Electric at a salary of $24,000 a year with the option to buy seventy-five thousand shares of stock (15 percent of the company)... At the beginning of his tenure at Emerson, Symington hired a consulting firm, the Trundle Engineering Company of Cleveland, to study the company's organization and operating methods. He was also able to persuade several banks in New York and St. Louis to extend much-needed credit to Emerson. As a result, the company, which had been running in the red, began showing a profit in February 1939. Calling upon his previous connection with General Wood, Symington convinced him that Emerson could make small motors for Sears. Soon, Emerson began to produce not only the motors but also welders for the giant merchandiser. It was a profitable marriage for both parties.