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Manufacturers Index - John T. Towsley Manufacturing Co.

John T. Towsley Manufacturing Co.
Cincinnati, OH, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery

History
Last Modified: Jan 18 2011 8:16PM by Jeff_Joslin
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

This company was established in 1886, and in business until at least 1930, and possibly later.

Their catalogs show a full line of products, but at least some of those products were made by other companies, including Defiance Machine Works. The most commonly seen Towsley products nowadays are bandsaws, swing saws, and lumber carts. In 1920 Towsley sold their line of glue spreaders and heaters to Black Bros. Manufacturing Co.

In about 1930, the company was acquired by J. D. Wallace & Co. of Chicago, which continued to operate it as the John T. Towsley Manufacturing Co. Division of JD Wallace & Co. Apparently financial difficulties continued because in 1933 the woodworking machinery line was sold to J. A. Fay & Egan Co., which continued to manufacture the machines under the Towsley name. The reorganized J. T. Towsley Manufacturing Co. continued with their line of hand trucks.

Some products are labeled, J. T. Towsley Co.

Information Sources

  • According to a Towsley catalog (which is undated, but based on internal evidence must be from 1921 or later), they were established 1886 and incorporated 1906. In that catalog, three spoke and handle lathes each have the same three patent dates, all three patents being to Peter Kettenring, a prolific inventor for Defiance Machine Works. The latest of the three patents was explicitly assigned to Defiance. Conclusion: the machines were made (or at least designed) by Defiance, and resold by Towsley. This was a fairly common arrangement between makers, which allowed them to carry a bigger line that they could otherwise.
  • Full-page ad in 1920 issue of The Wood-Worker, showing a jointer.
  • A 1930 patent was assigned to this maker. Curiously, a 1925 patent for a swing cut-off saw was assigned to an Elizabeth Towsley of Cincinnati.
  • A 1930 edition of Railway Engineering and Maintenance has the following snippet:
    JD Wallace & Co., Chicago, manufacturers of portable woodworking machinery, have taken over the John T. Towsley Manufacturing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. The latter company will continue as a separate corporation, operating as a division...
  • Article from 1933-04-20 Cincinnati Time-Star on Fay & Egan purchase of Towsley line of woodworking machinery.