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Manufacturers Index - Porter-Cable Machine Co.

Porter-Cable Machine Co.
Syracuse, NY and Jackson, TN, U.S.A.
Company Website: http://www.porter-cable.com/
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Metal Working Machinery

Last Modified: Mar 25 2020 12:30PM by Jeff_Joslin
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

Porter-Cable Machine Co. was founded in 1906 as a machine shop, by Raymond E. Porter, George G. Porter, and Frank E. Cable. Their first product was an electric pencil sharpener, and soon afterward they introduced an attachment for horizontal milling machines to adapt them to vertical milling; Porter-Cable sold various versions of horizontal-vertical mill attachments for over four decades.

In 1914 the company was purchased by J. R. Ridings; patent records show that George Porter, at least, remained with the business for several years. By 1919 Porter-Cable was making small metal lathes. The following year they began making portable power tools. In 1921-22 they made vises under contract to the Atlas Vise Co., of Lowville, NY. In 1922 Porter-Cable acquired Syracuse Sander Manufacturing Co., makers of stationary belt sanders and spindle sanders. In these early years of Porter-Cable these sanders were their most successful product line.

From 1922-12-07 American Machinist

In about 1948 Porter-Cable introduced their "Guild" line of lower-cost handheld power tools and bench grinders. In 1949 Porter-Cable acquired Sterling Tool Products Co., makers of pneumatic and electric handheld sanders. In 1952 Porter-Cable sold their line of floor sanding machines to Clarke Sanding Machine Co. The following year they sold their abrasive machine line to the Engelberg Huller Co., also of Syracuse. This was the end of their manufacturing of stationary machinery, at least in North America. They sold bench and pedestal grinders that were made by Brown-Brockmeyer Co. until 1960 and then by Wissota Manufacturing Co.. Meanwhile, Porter-Cable had grown to become one of North America's largest makers of portable power tools.

Porter-Cable was purchased by Rockwell Manufacturing Co. in 1960, and operated as Porter-Cable Machine Company, subsidiary of Rockwell Manufacturing Co. In 1981 Porter-Cable was sold to Pentair Inc.; It appears that the company then became Porter-Cable Corp., but we have not confirmed the timing of this name change.

In 2004 the power tool divisions of Pentair were purchased by Black & Decker.

For some period of time, Porter-Cable had a Canadian subsidiary, Porter Cable Power Tools (Canada) Ltd. We currently have very little information on this part of P-C's history.

Part Sources

  • Stationary belt grinders were sold to Sunstrand then subsequently sold to other concerns. The current location for parts and service is Acme Manufacturing Co.
    4240 N. Atlantic Blvd.
    Auburn Hills, MI 48326 USA
    (248) 393-7300
    248) 393-4060 (fax)
  • A Porter-Cable enthusiast, collector and parts dealer (primarily portable equipment) is Dick Jarmon, 38217 Huron Point, Harrison Township, Michigan 48045, phone: 586-463-5556.
  • Porter-Cable's 'Bux" drill-press stands were manufactured by O. S. Walker Co.
  • Porter-Cable's line of floor sanding machines was sold to Clarke Sanding Machine Co.

Information Sources

  • 1921-12-29 The Iron Trade Review.
    COMPLETION of the organization of the Atlas Vise Co., Inc., Lowville, N. Y., is expected shortly... The company will manufacture and sell vises... The Porter-Cable Machine Co., Syracuse, N. Y., now is manufacturing for the Atlas company but the new organization contemplates erection of a factory of its own.
  • The book Forty Years of Porter-Cable History.
    ...in 1922 Porter-Cable bought Syracuse Sander Mfg. Co., thus acquiring a line of belt sanders and a partially developed" spindle sander. [In fact, the spindle sanders were being advertised as early as 1918 and look to be complete, shipping products, plus several Syracuse spindle sanders have surfaced. Porter-Cable seems to have introduced a dual-spindle model and a benchtop model, neither of which was successful. The original Model S-1 stand-mounted oscillating spindle sander was very successful.] The sander line was developed rapidly and in a short time P-C introduced both spindle and belt sanders which won immediate acceptance in factories, foundries, and even book binderies.
  • A 1925 catalog shows sanding machines and a 20" bandsaw from "Syracuse," but does not mention Syracuse Sander Mfg Co. or Porter-Cable.
  • Catalogs from 1931, 1933, and 1934. The 1931 catalog is for "Porter-Cable-Hutchinson Corporation".
  • A 1931 brochure and letter from "Porter-Cable-Hutchinson Corp." of Syracuse. The letterhead says "The Porter-Cable Machine Co." but the title under the signature says "Porter-Cable-Hutchinson Corporation".
  • A 1931 brochure and letter from "Porter-Cable-Hutchinson Corp." of Syracuse feature the Ever-Ready combination machine; Take-About handheld belt sander; Speedmatic floor sander and handheld circular saw; various belt and disk sanders; Beaver Woodworker combination machine; small 10" tablesaw; Handy Hutch combination tablesaw and jointer; 12", 14", 16" and 20" bandsaws; 4" and 6" jointers; 14x36 lathe; spindle shaper.
  • The 1931-1934 catalogs show products labeled Syracuse, Hutchinson, Beaver, Ever-Ready, Speedmatic, and Take-About. See also the entries for Hutchinson Manufacturing Co., Syracuse and Engelberg, Inc.
  • In the Photo Index you can see pictures of a Porter-Cable 12" bandsaw that is labeled, "Porter-Cable / London, Canada / Craftmaster Tools". This bandsaw was manufactured for Porter-Cable by the Canadian firm Henry Power Tools, Ltd.
  • Address (1949 Popular Mechanics): 1984 N. Salina St, Syracuse 8, New York.
  • 1952 issue of Woodworking & Furniture Digest, Volume 54, Issue 1, page 186.
    Porter-Cable Sells Floor Sander Line—The Porter-Cable Machine Company of Syracuse, New York, announces the sale of the firm's floor sanding machine line to Clarke Sanding Machine Company, of Muskegon, Michigan. The Clarke Sanding Machine Company, established in 1920, has long been a leader in the field of rental floor sanders. The purchase of the Porter-Cable patent rights, tools, and fixtures will broaden Clarke's line so that they will now have a full line of floor finishing and maintenance machines for both the professional and rental dealers.
  • A 1953 issue of Plant Operating Management has the following snippet (via Google Books): "The industrial abrasive-belt grinder division of the Porter- Cable Machine Co. became the property of the Engelberg-Huller Co., Inc., recently. Transfer of ownership became official upon ratification by the stockholders of ..."
  • Thanks to correspondent Kristian Wild for bring the existence of Porter Cable Power Tools (Canada) Ltd. to our attention.