Thursday, January 9, 2014

Vanished Tool Makers: Portable Electric Tools (PET), Geneva, Illinois

Below, a "Shopmate" drill manufactured by Portable Electric Tools

PET or Portable Electric Tools was out of Geneva, Illinois, producing power tools from the 40's through the 60's.  They first used the "Shopmate" name in 1958.  They apparently made some products for Sears, Roebuck.  There is a report that they may have been become part of the power tool line of G.W. Murphy, which was later acquired by the McGraw-Edison Company in 1972.

I recently acquired a "Hercules" drill that is identical, and that came with its original steel case:

So "Hercules" must have either been a Montreal business that sold PET drills under their own name, or just a different name used by PET to market their wares in Canada.

Below, my PET Shopmate sabre saw.  Ah, the days of the all-alloy power tools!

From the web

Popular Mechanics, January 1950


Anonymous said...


I haze a fine working 1/4" drill from the portable Electric Tools Inc - Geneva-Illinois but can not change any drill as it lacks the key to open/close this magnificent tool. So only one drill ( blocked in the drill) is in use.

Does any one has a solution to that?

Many thanks on reply mail :

Iddergem/ Belgium

The Duke said...

This drill has a keyless chuck, like old hand braces. You need to turn the chuck outward on its threaded shank (counter-clockwise, looking at it from the front) as far as it will go. Secure the chuck in a soft-faced vise (to protect the knurling--don't over-tighten the vice) with the end pointing upward. Soak the end (jaws protruding through the knurled chuck sleeve) with fine oil like WD-40. Then, using a very fine drift (1/8", preferably brass) carefully tap each end of of the three jaws with a light hammer. Ideally, this should push them back into the chuck, releasing the drill. Let me know if it works.

Phillip A. Hobbs said...

I am not interested in mechanical tools, and I don't know what it use for.

Unknown said...

I’m looking firbsprings and brushes

Anonymous said...

Just picked up a model shopmate 1950h from a second hand tool store sans cord for $2 canadian pesos. 30 minutes later I have a working 1/4 drill. One thing to note about the drill that was cool is the ceramic marette connectors inside.

Iris Pearson said...

This tool looks amazing.

Unknown said...

Have a Zepher 1/4 inch works great. Smells a little bit like burning electrical when I start it and the shaft is slightly bent. But it is a/c,d/c and runs well on both.

Unknown said...

I have the sabre saw as well.Anyone interested?

Unknown said...

I have a shopmate model 320G that needs rewired. From drill to outlet
Anyone know what size wire that is and where i can find one

Unknown said...

What size is the plug (wire) on the shopmate model 320G and where i can find 1

Mister G said...

I think 16 gauge stranded wire should be fine. Maybe you can find a 3 wire cable from a dead appliance?