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Manufacturers Index - Berlin Machine Works
Last Modified: Feb 5 2015 8:44AM by Jeff_Joslin
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"Berlin Machine Works" was the new name of the former J. L. Perry & Co. after Mr. Perry sold out in 1883. In 1884 the company was bought by Porter B. Yates. He quickly expanded the company, which according to Dana Batory was "the only company in the United States that specialized in building sanders." The company incorporated in 1887, and in 1888 it moved to Beloit. In 1908 they opened a large factory in Hamilton, ON, which had plentiful and inexpensive hydroelectric power and provided access to the protected Canadian market.

Advertisement from January 1901 The Wood-Worker

During WWI, in 1916, the company changed its name to P. B. Yates Machine Co. to avoid the Germanic connotation of the old name; See the entry under that name for the subsequent history.

Harry B. Ross, a machine designer for Berlin Machine Works, invented the idea of honing knives in place, which allowed all the knives to cut equally. Ross left the company and formed Stetson-Ross Machine Co. in 1907.

Information Sources

  • An excellent history of this company can be found in Batory's first book.
  • The January 1902 issue of Hill, Clarke & Co.'s "Shop Talk" magazine carried this note:
    Plans have recently been completed for an addition to the present shop of the Berlin Machine Works at Beloit, Wisconsin. The new building is to be 200 feet square, and will be used as a machine shop. It is to be one story high and will have a saw tooth roof. Several new features will be introduced into the roof, such as elevating one half of it sufficiently to accommodate a 25 ton traveling crane. Space will be provided for loading directly on cars at one corner of the shop, by omitting the columns and spanning the distance with an extra truss. Shafting will be hung directly from the roof trusses. Nimmons & Fellows, of Chicago, are the architects.
  • From English Mechanic and World of Science, Vol. XLV, 1887: "Machines which will attract the attention of mechanics for their novelty are the sand-papering machines of the Berlin Machine Works, which include machines for papering or polishing both bent and straight stock, and a useful combined planer and polisher which reduces all stock to a thickness before it reaches the polishing drums."
  • August 1906 Canadian Machinery.
    Canadian Branch of Berlin Co.
  • Arrangements have been made whereby the Berlin Co., Beloit, Wis., large manufacturers of wood-working machinery, will establish a branch of their works in Hamilton, Ont. A Canadian company will be formed with a capital of about half a million, of which considerable will be Hamilton investment. A ten-acre site has been chosen and as soon as the company is incorporated building operations will be commenced. Buildings now projected are of the following dimensions: 360 x 50 feet, 250 x 72 feet, 100 x 30 feet, 200 x 20 feet, 80 x 40 feet, and 200 x 180 feet. About 200 men will be employed to start.
  • September 1906 Canadian Machinery, in a listing of recently registered companies.
    Berlin Machine Works of Canada, Limited, Hamilton; capital, $500,000; purpose, to manufacture and deal in all kinds of machinery. Directors are: P. B. Yates, L. D. Forbes, F. L. Lane, all of Beloit, Mich.; John Patterson and S. D. Biggar, Hamilton, Ont.
  • Canadian industry, commerce, and finance; published as a companion volume to The Journal of Commerce, 1916, by J. J. Harpell: Lists Berlin Machine Works, Ltd., Hamilton, Ont., as a producer of saw, shingle and planing mill machinery; woodworking machinery; wood planers; resaws; endless bed and drum-type sanders; circular sawing machines; bandsaws.