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Manufacturers Index - Skil Corp.
History
Last Modified: Aug 18 2012 5:37PM by Jeff_Joslin
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

In 1924 the Michel Electric Hand Saw Co. was founded to make the Skilsaw, a handheld circular saw. In 1926 the company was renamed to Skilsaw, Inc., and renamed in 1952 to Skil Corp.

Sometime between 1946 and 1951, Skil acquired the rights to a new radial arm saw that had belonged to Tops Manufacturing Co. The saw's designer was Harry R. Wilson, who had earlier designed the Wilson radial arm saw.

The "TOPS" line of heavy-duty radial arm saws was marketed for the construction trade. It was fairly successful in that market. In 1962 they sold the line to Power Tools, Inc., who sold the line in 1973 to Marvco Tool & Manufacturing, Inc.

At some point Skil Corp. became a division of Emerson Electric Co. In 1992 Skil became part of S-B Power Tool Co., which was formed as a joint venture between Emerson Electric and Robert Bosch GmbH. In 1995 Emerson sold their share to Bosch, and Skil and Bosch fully merged their operations.

"Skil" brand bench grinders were sold by Skilsaw, Inc., but were made by Brown-Brockmeyer Co.

Handheld power tools are outside the scope of this web site. Please do not upload pictures of handhelds!

Information Sources

  • Patent records provide evidence of the dates.
  • The 1951 radial arm saw patent granted to Harry R. Wilson is the Skilsaw design. The patent application was submitted in December 1946; sales of the radial arm saw could not have started before then because doing so would have invalidated the patent. Harry R. Wilson had, a decade earlier, designed a radial arm saw that was sold by Franklin Machine Co. and at least three others. Both of Wilson's designs had unusually nomadic production histories.
  • Correspondent Steve Sande informed us of a 16" radial arm saw, Skil model 450, that also has labels saying "Tops Mfg." on the arm and table, plus "Skilsaw Inc.—Chicago 14, Illinois".
  • A 1950 issue of Popular Mechanics provides the company address at the time: Skilsaw Inc, 5033 N Elston Ave, Chicago, Illinois.
  • A 1962 issue of Wood & Wood Products had this note:
    A new manufacturer, Power Tools, Inc., Chicago, has entered the radial arm saw market with the purchase of Skil Corp.'s entire line of radial saws. The new firm is setting up production in temporary manufacturing facilities...
  • The Bosch USA website says that Bosch acquired 100% ownership of S-B Power Tool Co. in 1995. The same page gives 1982 as the founding date of S-B, but it is clearly a typo because that date appears out of order in their history timeline. Other sources give the date as 1992.
  • Correspondent Melissa Weil, whose husband and been a service manager at Skil, confirmed that the Skil/Bosch merged occurred in 1995: "... he had to totally update his store and displays, take photos, and be inspected within a very short period of time."