Sunday, April 1, 2012

Vanished Makes: Speedway Mfg. Co.

A decal, surprisingly still in place on the top of the drill.  "Thermoweld" was presumably much better than the previous "Cryo-weld Motor?"
Above, Eaton's also advertised "Thermoweld motors" on their power tools.  It's possible that Thor may have made some of these tools for Eaton's to sell under their "Edgerite" and "Tecomaster" house brands.  I believe that they sold Thor washing machines in their stores.
The Speedway Manufacturing Company appears to have started in Cicero, Illinois around 1910.  

Popular Mechanics, February 1951
In 1954 it was acquired by the Thor Power Tool Company, becoming a division of this firm, and in 1958 manufacturing was moved to a new plant in LaGrange Park, Illinois.

According to the entry on the Vintage Machinery website, the Thor Power Tool Company had begun as the Independent Pneumatic Tool Company in 1893 by John D. Hurley, John Hopkins (then mayor of Chicago) and Roger Sullivan, another politician.  Early products included a pneumatic riveting hammer, bicycles and motorcycles (the latter under the auspices of the Aurora Automatic Machine Co.).  A separate company owned by members of the Hurley family, Hurley Machine Co., produced a washing machine that also used the Thor name and logo. 


Canadian Machinery, 1921
Thor was gradually assimilated by the Stewart-Warner Corporation starting in 1964.  

Below, a Thor Universal Drill Model 2593 being advertised on Kijiji:

In legal circles, Thor Power Tools is best known as the result of a 1979 landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that denied the right of corporations like Thor to write down the costs of unsold inventory. Interestingly, this had had a profound influence on the publishing industry, because the decision made it more expensive for them to carry unsold books on their books.  As a result, they cut print runs and became quicker to pulp unsold publications before the end of the fiscal year.  See How Thor Power Hammered Publishing.  Now, 30-some years later with the ascendancy of electronic publishing, I suppose this decision has largely become moot.

1 comment:

lbgradwell said...

Thor SpeedWay definitely made tools for the TecoMaster brand.

An example can be seen at: