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Manufacturers Index - Magna Engineering Corp.

Magna Engineering Corp.
Fort Wayne, IN, Menlo Park, CA, Cincinnati, OH, and Raymond, MS, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery

History
Last Modified: Jun 8 2019 12:40PM by Mark Stansbury
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

Magna's main claim to fame was their introduction, in 1947, of the Shop Smith, a combination lathe, drill press, and tablesaw. They also made some other tools that were labeled Magna; according to a trademark filing, the Magna name was used since 1954, and the products included jointers, jig saws, bandsaws, sanders, and radial arm saws. Don't be confused by some older Shopsmith attachments that were also labeled Magna.

In late Dec. 1955, Magna Engineering changed its name to Magna Power Tool Corp. We have seen the name Magna Power Tool Corp. on a 4-inch jointer and on ads in Popular Science," Feb. 1956. The label and the ads gave the Fort Wayne and Menlo Park locations.

Magna was acquired by Yuba Power Products, Inc. in March, 1958. Within a couple of years a group of employees incorporated as Magna American Corp. and acquired the Shopsmith product line.

This firm made Shopsmith combination machine plus other items (possibly including bench vises) for Montgomery Ward & Co., which were sold under the Powr-Kraft name. Most Powr-Kraft products made by Magna Engineering have a model number beginning in TMG, but for unknown reasons some have the prefix TRT (which was usually reserved for products made by Rockwell/Delta).

Magna American struggled for a time, and the Shopsmith manufacture ceased in 1966. Shopsmith, Inc., was formed in 1972 to resume manufacturing using all the original equipment. This new company began operations in Troy, but moved to Dayton in the late 1970s. A version of the Shopsmith is still available but it appears to be made overseas.

Address (1949 Popular Mechanics): 465 California St, San Francisco 4, California.

Information Sources

  • A correspondent informed us that besides The Shopsmith 10E, 10ER and the later Ward's-exclusive Mk-2, "the company also produced other tools for Montgomery Ward private label Power Kraft aside the ShopSmith model 10E, 10ER and later Mk-2 (Wards exclusive). This was noted in the acquisition proposal later on by Mr. John Folkerth's for Magna America Corp. (formerly Yuba Corp.). Exactly what those other Power Kraft tools and machinery were are unknown and not listed."
  • We learned of the Magna Power Tool Corporation name from a posting on owwm.org.
  • A search of Google Books turned up mentions of Magna Power Tool Corp. in issues of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics in 1956-58. One ad says, "Magna Power Tool Corporation / Manufacturers of Shopsmith".
  • Classified ads seeking executives and managers for Shop Smith Magna Power Tool Corp. in the Chicago Tribune, Dec. 22 and 23, 1955.
  • Yuba Acquires Tool Concern. The Los Angeles Times, Mar. 25, 1958, pg. 18.