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.
Magna Engineering was acquired by Yuba Power Products, Inc. in the late 1950s. 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).
We have also seen the name Magna Power Tool Corp., on a 4-inch jointer. The label gave the Fort Wayne and Menlo Park locations. We do not know for sure how Magna Power Tool Corporation fits into the timeline, but the jointer appears to be a later model.
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.
- 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".