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Manufacturers Index - King-Seeley Corp.-Central Specialty Division

King-Seeley Corp.-Central Specialty Division
Ann Arbor, MI; Ypsilanti, MI, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Metal Working Machinery

Last Modified: Oct 24 2016 11:45AM by toolguybak
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

Central Specialty Co. of Ypsilanti Michigan started to produce machinery and accessories for Sears in the 1932/1933 timeframe. King-Seeley acquired Central Specialty in 1944. Machinery and accessories with Sears source code "103" were from Central Specialty. These items carried the Craftsman, Companion, Dunlap, and Fulton labels.

Central Specialty was located on Norris St, near Forrest Ave. It had its own casting and machining facilities, with a separate engineering and administration building located across the street (720 Norris St). Today, some of the manufacturing plant still exists. The casting facility was torn down after Motor Wheel took over in the mid-1960s. The engineering and administration building is currently the home of the Corner Brewery bar and grill along with the Arbor Brewing Company micro-brewery.

Central Specialty also made automotive components. These included an intake manifold for the Hudson Motor Car Co. and a power steering pump body for the Chrysler Corp.

King-Seeley was headquartered in Ann Arbor Michigan. Besides wood/metal-working machinery, King-Seeley also made Thermos bottles, metal lunch boxes, picnic coolers, refrigeration components, etc. The Central Specialty Division of King-Seeley, located in Ypsilanti, was responsible for woodworking and metalworking machinery.

In 1964, all of King-Seeley's design patents, tooling, and parts stock were bought by Emerson Electric Co. of Paris, TN; Emerson then took over production of machines for Sears.

One notable machine was the 10" cabinet saw, introduced in 1953 and made until Emerson dropped its production in 1966. It was reportedly the first machine to have the arbor ground and trued in place, i.e., after being mounted in the saw.

Until the late 1950s, machine badges said, "Made By King-Seeley Corporation"; subsequently, the labels were altered to read, "Guaranteed Highest Quality".

Manuals for King-Seeley Machines

Look in the "Publication Reprints" section for a manual. Our collection is far from complete, but if you cannot find the exact manual you are looking for, look closely for similar products, as some machines with different model numbers were virtually the same except for the accessories or the motor. Also, check out the Craftsman, Dunlap, and Emerson pages. Some manuals have been uploaded under the model (Craftsman or Dunlap) name rather the manufacturer, and some machines continued virtually unchanged when Emerson took over from King-Seeley.

Information Sources

  • A 1915 edition of Foundry magazine has the following news item:
    The Central Foundry Specialty Co., Detroit, has increased its capital stock from $25000 to $50000 and has changed its name to the Central Specialty Co.
  • A 1928 publication of the National Historical Association, Historic Michigan, Land of the Great Lakes, has the following intriguing tidbit, retrieved through Google Books:
    J. H. Lonskey, who is president of the Ypsilanti Foundry Company, was born in Vincennes, Indiana, November 4, 1879. ... After some time spent in charge of several large foundries, he went to Detroit and in 1911 organized the Central Specialty Company. In 1919 he moved to Ypsilanti and organized the Ypsilanti Foundry Company, which is incorporated for one hundred thousand dollars. Mr. Lonskey serves as secretary of the Detroit company and is president of the Ypsilanti firm...
  • A 1928 issue of Automotive Industries has the following news item:
    Foundry Companies Join DETROIT, June 30— The Ypsilanti Foundry Co. and the Central Specialty Co., of Detroit, have consolidated and the new firm will be known as the Central Specialty Co. with offices in Ypsilanti and. ...
  • A 1964 edition of Michigan Manufacturer and Financial Record has the following:
    The plant was founded in Detroit in 1911 as the Central Foundry Specialty Co., and moved to Ypsilanti in 1919. Originally, it produced automotive castings, piston rings and general jobbing castings. The association with Sears- Roebuck began in 1932, or twelve years before Central Specialty Co. became a division of King-Seeley Corp. ...
    This places the acquisition of Central Specialty by King-Seeley in 1944.