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Manufacturers Index - Portable Power Tool Corp.
Last Modified: Nov 2 2019 2:59PM by Jeff_Joslin
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The early history of this firm is murky as the companies mentioned were small and not disposed to advertising or publicity.

The firm of Jones, MacNeal & Camp, Inc. was in business by 1921 and manufacturing "Power King" handheld electric drills. Originally based in Chicago, in 1922 they moved their factory to Warsaw, Indiana, and their headquarter soon followed. By 1929 the company name had changed to Power King Drill Co., and in that year they merged with Cincinnati maker Portable Power Tool Co., which relocated to the Power King factory in Warsaw; it appears that at this time the merged company became Portable Power Tool Corp.. We have been unable to find any information at all on the Cincinnati-based Portable Power Tool Co.; we did find a single 1927 mention of a Portable Power Tool Co. in Chicago.

Under the Portable Power Tool name the company began making stationary woodworking machines that, like their handheld power tools, used the "Power King" name. Sometime before 1941 the company name was changed to Power King Tool Corp. In 1947 or 1948 the company was acquired by Atlas Press Co.

The vice-president and general manager of Portable Power Tool Corp. was Theron L. Hedgpeth, who, at some point between 1934 and 1936, left to become a notable machine designer for Duro Metal Products Co. Some of the woodworking machines that Hedgpeth designed for Duro are virtually identical to their Power King equivalents.

Information Sources

  • December 1921 Mill Supplies'. "Jones, MacNeal & Camp, Chicago, has recently sent out a 9x12 in. illustrated mailing folder describing its "Power King" electric portable drill." Later in the same issue: "An electrical portable drill with two-speed mechanism has recently been placed on the market by Jones, MacNeal & Camp, Chicago. The two-speed mechanism is a patented feature, which is said to make it efficient for using full capacity or smaller drill bits in either metal or wood, and for the use of both carbon and high speed steel drill bits. The gear shift of this drill is very like the multiple speed feature on modern automobiles, lathes or drill presses. Full ball bearing construction, excess capacity motors and two speeds are the desirable features of all models."
  • 1922 Engineering Directory lists "Jones, MacNeal & Camp, Inc. (Electric drills), 522 S. Clinton St., Chicago; 413 E. Larned St., Detroit, 206 Broadway, New York."
  • March 1922 Mill Supplies'.
    Jones, McNeal & Camp Corporation, Chicago, manufacturer of portable electric drills, at a meeting held February 6, reorganized. The resignation of L. E. Jones as president was accepted and Kenneth McNeal was elected to succeed him. H. P. Camp is vice-president and D. B. McNeal secretary and treasurer. The company has purchased a two-story brick factory, containing 31,000 square feet, at Warsaw, Ind., and will occupy it shortly after March 1. The general offices of the company will remain in Chicago at 522 So. Clinton street.
  • The connection between Jones, McNeal & Camp and Portable Power Tool Corp. is inferred from a pair of electric drills, both bearing the patent number 1,445,294, both closely resembling the patent drawing (and each other), and one drill was made by Jones, MacNeal & Camp whereas the other was made by Portable Power Tool Corp.; both bear the "Power King" brand. Note also the March 1922 Mill Supplies article that mentions Jones, MacNeal & Camp relocating their factory from Chicago to Warsaw, which is where Portable Power Tool Corp would be located.
  • 1925 book, Ungerfehr, Uncapher, Unkefer, Genealogica et Biographica, or, Genealogical Notes Concerning Martin Ungerfehr and His Descendants: "...They were living in Chicago in 1925, where he was employed as a traveling advertiser for the Jones, MacNeal & Camp corporation of Warsaw, Ind."
  • A 1927 issue of Engineer and Contract mentions "Portable Power Tool Co., Chicago, Ill."
  • A 1929 issue of Industry Week: "POWER KING DRILL CO., Warsaw, Ind., has consolidated with the Portable Power Tool Co., Cincinnati, and the plant of the latter will be removed to Warsaw.
  • 1933 catalog.
  • Thanks to Joe Potter for notifying us that Hedgpeth was mentioned in the 1933 catalog.
  • A John Beckman post on owwm.org notes the resemblance between Duro and Power King machines.