This business was established in 1868, when it was called the Millers Falls Manufacturing Co. Their early products include bit braces and tool holders (a screwdriver-like handle with interchangeable bits), and it was for these and other hand tools that they are best known. But they also made a few small machines, including table saw, scroll saws, lathes, drills, sanders, and bench grinders.
In 1872, the company merged with the Backus Vise Company to form the Millers Falls Company. In 1875, the prosperous and successful business introduced its first woodworking machine, a fairly heavy-duty foot-powered scrollsaw. In 1877 they introduced the light-weight Lester combination saw, which was a runaway success. The New Rogers was an inexpensive treadle scrollsaw aimed at the home market; it became the biggest-selling machine of its type, at a time when such machines were extremely popular. The Cricket saw was even cheaper than the New Rogers, priced at only $2.50. The Companion was a lathe with optional scrollsaw attachment, and was marketed to youths.
Another mainstay Millers Falls product, the boring machine, straddles the line between hand tool and machine. A boring machine is a small drill press mounted on a wooden base that can be set on a timber beam and used to bore bolt-holes or rough out mortises. The Millers Falls boring machines are considered by many to be the best of their type, and remain popular among timber framers.
In 1931, Goodell-Pratt Co. was merged into Millers Falls Co. The Goodell-Pratt Company was originally established as the Goodell Brothers in 1888, by two former employees of Millers Falls Company.
In 1962 the company was acquired by Ingersoll-Rand Corp.; by this time the company had about 600 employees, less than half of what they had only 10 years earlier. Obsolete plants and equipment, plus the high cost of doing business in Massachusetts, continued to take its toll on the company. In the mid-1970s they announced their intentions to relocate south. The Massachusetts responded with a package of tax incentives, bonds, loans, and wage cuts that funded a new plant in Deerfield, MA that opened in 1978.
In 1982, Ingersoll-Rand sold the Millers Falls business to the newly-created Millers Falls Tool Co., headquartered in Alpha, NJ. Any woodworking machines had long since disappeared from the Millers Falls product line.
Millers Falls Co. sold bench grinders that were actually manufactured by Kingston-Conley Electric Co.
- Most of the information here is taken from Randy Roeder's definitive Millers Falls website.
- The Kingston-Conley bench grinders have been discussed numerous times in the owwm.org "The Shop" forum (registration required).
- An owwm.org forum discussion has pictures of a new-in-box Millers Falls timber mortiser, including a clear photograph of the instructions that were pasted to the box.