For a first-person history of this company written by the co-founder of the company, see our History of Sprunger Woodworking Machinery.
In 1977, Dale Fahlbeck bought the company from Harry Sprunger; at that time, product liability and imports were wreaking havoc on the industry. Fahlbeck made changes, including moving the factory from Ligonier to Elkhart, and kept manufacturing until 1984. Since then he has continued to supply parts for Sprunger's 22 machine models. Bill Davis, Sprungers Brothers' longtime plant manager, continued with the company to within six months of his death.
As of March 2003, the company is still around as Sprunger Corp. of Elkhart, IN, but they no longer make woodworking machinery.
Sprunger sold at least some of the woodworking machinery tooling to Foley-Belsaw Co., which manufactured the Sprunger designs under the Foley-Belsaw name. We have seen a 14" bandsaw labeled "Peerless" and "Mascotools Manufacturer Corporation", a Taiwanese company. The saw is identical to a Sprunger BSW41 bandsaw. It is a virtual certainty that the Mascotools saw was made in Taiwan. We do not know if they copied the Sprunger design or if the Sprunger tooling somehow made its way to Taiwan.
Besides making machines sold under their own name, Sprunger manufactured machines sold by Montgomery Ward under the Powr-Kraft name. Where Sprunger were crackle gray, the Montgomery Ward machines were "crackle bronze", which is almost tan.
Per Wayne Sprunger: the Topeka plant internally manufactured castings and stampings and painted components. The only purchased components were belts, blades and small items like fasteners. The blades were decorated with the Sprunger logo and very colorful. When the company moved to Ligonier, the castings were outsourced.
Per David Fry (former Sprunger employee): The drill press that was set up to drill bowling balls was one of 50 that were ordered by Brunswick. They did not have the table assembled on them. I assembled all 50 of them in December of 1963 and January 1964. The assembly took longer because the clamp had be precisely aligned to the spindle. Brunswick furnished the clamps and the alignment tool to set the drill presses up.
Per David Fry: Another fact that is not well known is the large number of woodworking tools that Unicef bought in 1963 and 1964. We made 8in bench saws, 14in bandsaws and bench and floor model drill presses. I know that one shipment was 150 crates of machines.
Per David Fry, when asked about the serial number misalignment with build year between some of the early aluminum saws and later 10¼" floor saws: There was a break in the serial numbers in the 1025 saw models. It was supposedly when they went to the cast iron tables. When I worked there we used the tags from boxes that had the serial number already stamped in. We just hand stamped the model number and attached it to the machine.
Per David Fry: The iron castings that were used for all the tools were made in a foundry in
Watervliet Michigan. They used old cast iron engine blocks to make the castings for Sprungers. Several of the finishing machines that were used at the plant in Ligonier came from Kingsford Michigan (Ford Motor Company glider plant) after WW2.
Parts for Sprunger Machinery
- Dale Fahlbeck still supplies parts for Sprunger machines. He can be reached at 1-800-582-0319.
- Thanks to Dale Fahlbeck, Ernest Fahlsing, Scott Sprunger (Wayne Sprunger's son), Wayne Sprunger (Harry Sprunger's son), Fred Sprunger, and David Fry, all associated either with the Sprunger company or the Sprunger family, for information provided.
- OWWMer Brian Kachadurian recognized a Foley-Belsaw scrollsaw in the Photo Index as a Sprunger design. Thanks to Herm Kemple for posting the pictures.
- Brian reported a letterhead dated January 1960 that shows that Sprunger Brothers, Inc. "General Office & Factory" was located on Gerber Street in Ligonier, IN, at that time. The envelope says, "Office and Factory, TOPEKA, INDIANA / Factory Branch, LIGONIER, INDIANA".
- The Mascotools connection came from an owwm.org forum discussion.
- Elkhart Factory: 2717 Oakland Ave
- Ligonier Factory: Gerber Street
- Export: W.D. Blood Inc., 38 Pearl St, New York 4, NY