Sunday, September 13, 2015

Vanished Tool Makers: BMC Manufacturing Corporation, Binghamton, New York

Above, a curious pair of BMC locking pliers I picked up somewhere.

Saul W. Botnick started the Botnick Motor Corporation as a prominent Binghamtom Chevrolet dealership in 1922.  In 1944, he set up a tooling shop in the basement of the dealership to manufacture locking pliers patented by Francis A. Snell:

Popular Mechanics, 1946

In 1947, the company was also offering offset screwdrivers, the "Ready-Ray Trouble Light" (which plugged into a car's lighter socket) and  the "Change-a-Blade scissors," again patented by Mr. Snell, but assigned to the Change-a-Blade Corporation of New York City.

From ebay

That same year, the company went in a completely different direction, and began to produce toy wheel goods.  As the toy business expanded, the company changed its name to the Binghamton Manufacturing Corporation (or, colloquially, the "Bike and Motor Club").  Its ads show "BMC Manufacturing Corporation" which is remarkably redundant. At its height, it was employing 300 people and making 300 pedal cars per day.  In March of 1954, Saul Botnick sold the company to American Machine and Foundry (AMF), which had bought the Junior Toy Company two years before. BMC, which at that time had dwindled to 200 employees, was to be maintained as a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMF. (To see a wider example of their wares, click here.)
Life, November 1951

BMC seems to have run its course in the 1960's, perhaps as the parent firm, AMF, graduated to bigger toys when it purchased Harley-Davidson in 1969.

As for the Botnick Motor Corporation, it's still a going Binghamton concern:  Botnick Chevrolet!


Guido OÑEDERRA said...

I have one of this old locking plier ...nice, strong and clever design ....good old times...steel and smart thinking....

CustomerServicePlus said...

I have of those pliers as well. Still works and I still use it. Used to be my Dad's

Unknown said...

My oldest son who is active duty Air Force found a pair of the #9 in a second hand shop near Edwards AFB near Rosamond California. The cool part is that he was born and raised in Best, N.Y. and I (his Dad) still live on the west side of Binghamton. Pretty neat find so far from Binghamton

Anonymous said...

just picked one of these up at a second hand store in Kelowna BC for $1. Says 'patent applied for' on the handle!

Unknown said...

Just bought a pair for $10 at the Cornell Co-Op Farmers market. Extremely cool.

Unknown said...

I have the ready ray light in original box. Model b200 and it works