The beginnings of Walker-Turner are murky, but the business was founded sometime between 1927 and 1929 by Ernest T. Walker and William Brewer Turner. They were located in Jersey City until 1931 when they relocated to Plainfield. In 1948 the company was purchased by machine tool maker Kearney & Trecker, and they operated as the "Walker-Turner Division" of that firm. The division was purchased by Rockwell Manufacturing Co. in 1956. The Walker-Turner name lived into the early 1960s as Walker-Turner Division, Rockwell Manufacturing Co.
Walker-Turner made the "Driver Line", a collection of inexpensive machines sold through department stores. In later years they also made larger and sturdier light-industrial machines.
Advertisement from the December 1935 "Popular Science"
For More Information
The Vintage Machinery Wiki has several articles related to Walker-Turner and their products. For more on the company history, see the Walker-Turner General Timeline in the wiki.
Parts and Service
Some parts and service are still available from
Walker Turner Serviced Machinery, LLC
PO Box 666
Coventry, CT 06238
Dating Walker-Turner Products
Early Walker-Turner products did not have serial numbers. Beginning in 1939, products were given "serial numbers" but these were more like model numbers because they were not unique for each machine. In 1950 they introduced a system where the "serial number" identified the type and model of machine plus the year and quarter of manufacture. That system was replaced in 1953 with true serial numbers starting from 0000001. Then in 1956 they added a two-digit model-number prefix to the serial numbers.
Also helpful in assigning a date to your Walker-Turner machine is the type and color of label. For more information on both serial numbers and labels, see the wiki article on Walker-Turner serial numbers.
- Walker-Turner dates back to at least 1931, based on patent records; the earliest dated catalog we've seen is from 1932. A February 1931 patent gives the company address as Jersey City, NJ. An October 1933 patent, and all subsequent patents and catalogs, give the address as Plainfield, NJ.
- We have seen Driver Line catalogs or catalog pages from the following department stores:
- S. S. Kresge (1932 catalog)
- Neisner Brothers, Inc. (1932 catalog)
- W. T. Grant Co. (1932, 1933 catalogs)
- Sears, Roebuck & Co. (1933 catalog of Sears Companion tools).
- All mentions, up to and including a 1947 catalog, use the name "Walker-Turner Co., Inc." An small old tablesaw and a separately auctioned wooden blade guard seen on eBay were marked, "Walker-Turner Co., Inc. / Jersey City NJ"; the blade guard also said, "The Driver Line".
- A 1940 phone book shows Walker-Turner Co., Inc. 639 South Avenue in Plainfield, with their shipping department at 768 North Ave. A February 1949 issue of Hitchcock Wood Working Digest carries an ad for "Walker-Turner Division, Kearney and Trecker Corp., Plainfield, NJ." A 1955 phone book has an entry for Walker-Turner Division of Kearney & Trecker Corp., at 900 North Ave. in Plainfield.
- 1932 Walker-Turner Gra-Line catalog.
- Ad in 1932 Popular Science for "Driver engineered power tools".
- 1933, 1934, 1940, 1947, 1961 catalogs.
- 1933 and 1934 catalogs for Driver Line.
- 1938 catalog for "Driver Engineered power tools."
- 1957, 1961 catalogs for the Walker-Turner Division of Rockwell Manufacturing Co.
- In a discussion on the oldwwmachines forum Bruce Johnson provided the information on availability of parts and service.