Register :: Login
Manufacturers Index - American Wood Working Machinery Co.

American Wood Working Machinery Co.
Rochester, NY; Williamsport, PA; Montgomery, PA, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery

Last Modified: Jan 24 2017 1:38PM by Jeff_Joslin
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

This company was created in 1897 (incorporated in January 1898 in New York State), as a result of the merger between the following:

Early rumors mentioned J. A. Fay & Egan Co., Globe Machine Co., and E. B. Hayes Machinery Co. as being involved in the merger. If Fay & Egan had been included, the combined business would have constituted the vast majority of woodworking machinery manufacturing in the country, which may have led to government intervention to prevent the merger. In any event, Fay & Egan remained independent, as did E. B. Hayes. Although the official merger announcement did not include Globe Machine Co., it appears that Globe did, in fact, join the merger, as the 1898 American catalog shows a "Money Maker" planer-matcher that was a Globe product.

The resulting company battled with P. B. Yates Machine Co. for bragging rights as the nation's largest woodworking machinery manufacturer. Their factories were consolidated into operations in Rochester, NY; Williamsport, PA; Montgomery, PA; and Aurora, IL.

In 1902 the original owners of Goodell & Waters purchased back their operations from American, and shortly afterwards changed their name to Creswell & Waters.

That first American catalog featured one machine attributed to American rather than one of its predecessors: the Automatic Hollow Square Chisel Mortising Machine, a horizontal mortiser. None of the vertical mortisers offered were hollow chisel type.

In 1925, American was bought out by P. B. Yates to form the indisputably largest Yates-American; prior to the merger, each company had about 1,000 employees. Planers, Matchers and Molders in America says that, at the time of the buyout, American faced having to redesign its entire portfolio of planers, matchers and molders to incorporate ball bearing spindles and direct motor drives needed to handle the newer multi-knife cutter heads and higher feed rates.

Name Confusion

The company name, as given in their first catalog in 1898, was American Wood Working Machine Co. Subsequent catalogs, including the 6th, 12th, 13th, and 14th, catalogs, use American Wood Working Machinery Co., as do all the patents we have seen that are assigned to this company. Some machines are labeled with American Woodworking Machinery Co.

Don't get this company confused with the American Woodworking Machinery Co. of Hackettstown, NJ, which was a marketing name for the American Saw Mill Machinery Co. that was used only after 1950. The Rochester-based American moniker was in use from 1897 through 1925.

The American Machinery Co. was founded in about 1891 to make universal miter trimmers. In 1903 the company was renamed to Oliver Machinery Co. to avoid confusion with the much larger American Wood Working Machinery Co.

At this writing there are twenty-two entries in the Manufacturers Index whose names begin with "American". It takes some care to avoid confusion.

Information Sources

  • November 1897 American Engineer, Car Builder and Railroad Journal (misspelled company names are rendered as in the original).
    A gigantic wood-working combination which will control most of the wood-working machinery business of the United States, under the name of the American Woodworking Machinery Company, has just been organized at Williamsport, Pa., with a capital of $8,500,000. The firms that have pooled their interests are Goodell & Walters, of Philadelphia; Glencoe Machine Company, of Brooklyn; Hoyt Brothers, of Aurora, III.; Globe Machine Company, of Chicago; Fague & Company, of Cincinnati; E. & B. Hayes Machine Company, of Oshkosb, Wis.; Frank Clements, of Rochester; C. B. Rogers & Co., of Norwich, Conn.; Milwaukee Sander Company, of Green Bay, Wis.; Levi Houston Company, of Montgomery, Ala.; Rowley & Hermance, the Williamsport,Machine Company, the Lehman Machine Company, and Young Brothers, Lockhaven.
  • December 1897 The Wood-Worker.
    At last the combination of manufacturers of wood-working machinery, about which so much has been said during the past year, seems in a fair way of becoming an accomplished fact. A report from Williamsport, Pa., under date of November 22nd, announced that fourteen firms represented in a convention there had organized the American Wood-Working Machinery Co., with a capital stock of $8,000,000. The firms in the combination are said to be the following: Goodell & Waters, Philadelphia, Pa.; the Glen Cove Machine, New York : the J. A. Fay and Egan Co., Cincinnati, Ohio; Rowley & Hermance, the Williamsport Machine Co., the Lehman Machine Co. and Young Bros., all of Williamsport, Pa.; the Hoyt & 8ro. Co., Aurora, Ill.; Levi Houston, Montgomery, Pa., the Globe Machinery Co., Chicago, Ill.; the E. B. Hayes Machinery Co., Oshkosh, Wis., Frank H. Clement Co., Rochester, N. Y.; C. B. Rogers & Co., Norwich, Conn., and the Milwaukee Sander Co., Green Bay, Wis. A number of other firms are said to be in the combination, but at this writing it is impossible to give facts. A gentleman presumed to be a leading factor in the proposed combine informs THE WOOD-WORKER that all press reports so far published are premature. Some of the objects of forming such a combination are said to be the prevention of ruinous competition and the extreme cost of selling machines as under present methods. Another meeting is to be held this month, when it is presumed a final organization will be effected.
  • December 1897 Building Age.
    Just as we are going to press dispatches from Williamsport. Pa., announce the organization of the American Wood Working Machinery Company, with a capital of $8,500,000. It is stated that this company will control seven eighths of the wood working machinery to be produced in the United States. The concerns involved in the consolidation are said to be the Rowley & Hermance Company, the Williamsport Machine Company, the Lehman Machine Company and Young Brothers. all of Williamsport, Pa; Levi Houston of Montgomery, Pa; Goodell 8: Waters, Philadelphia, Pa; Glen Cove Machine Company, Brooklyn, N. Y.; Hoyt Brothers, Aurora, Ill.; Globe Machine Company, Chicago, Ill.; J. A. Fay & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio; E. & B. Hayes Machine Company, Oshkosh, Wi.; the Frank H. Clements Company, Rochester, N. Y.; C. B. Rogers Company, Norwich, Conn.; and the Milwaukee Sander Company, Green Bay, Wisc. It is stated that on November 29 work will be commenced in the various establishments under the new régime.
  • Numerous catalogs. Each catalog was numbered, starting from number 1 in 1898. The 4th edition was issued in 1905. The 6th edition was 1910 or later. The 13th edition has been seen with both 1921 and 1922 dates. The 14th edition, and likely the last, came out shortly before the 1925 acquisition by P. B. Yates. Thanks to Don H. for providing this information.
  • From a 1902 edition of the Lumberman comes the following snippet.

    The Creswell & Waters Company

    The Creswell & Waters Company, successors to Goodell & Waters, whose incorporation we briefly referred to last in month's issue of the Lumberman, is a strong consolidation of two old and reliable concerns, and one that will prove a potential factor in the manufacture of woodworking machinery

    On the first of January the firm of Goodell & Waters, of Philadelphia, announced in a circular sent out to the trade that they had purchased the control of their business from the American Woodworking Machinery Co....

  • More information on this maker is available in the Wiki, including information on machinery models and plant history.
  • According to Planers, Matchers and Molders in America, planer manufacturer Globe Machine Co. of Chicago, was acquired by American Wood Working Machine Co. "within a few years" of the 1897 merger that created American. The same source shows a "Money Maker" surfacer and sizer that bears both Globe and American labels. The 1898 American catalog also shows a "Money Maker" planer-matcher, a surfacer, and a power feed box matcher; we are not certain what that implies.