Sunday, December 4, 2016

Vanished Tool Makers: Shop-King, New York City, NY

This sanding disc turned up recently at a thrift store.  It's a 5-inch steel disc with a 3/8" hole in the centre.  It must have been intended to be attached to an arbor.  

The company was located in New York City, close to the Harlem River.  There's not a lot of information on the web about them, but from the little I could find it looked like they specialized in accessories for electric drills.  The Shop-King company seems to have flourished briefly in the 1960' before vanishing altogether.

Popular Mechanics, June 1963
Below an ad from a 1963 issue of Workbench Magazine:
WORK SAVING hedge trimmer fits any 1/4-in. electric drill motor. Extra-long 14 -in. blade of hardened tool steel cuts, trims and shapes hedges and shrubbery faster and neater than hand shears. Handle locks at 10 angles for convenience. Unit is lightweight and compact, ideal for women gardeners, 1-year guarantee. $12.95 list, special price $8.88 ppd. Shop-King Inc. Dept. WB-5P, 425 W. 203 St., N. Y. 34, N. Y. 
I don't think I'd be especially keen on having a 14-inch steel blade rotating on the end of my electric drill as I tried to trim my hedge and shrubbery, even if it was advertised as "ideal for women gardeners."

Interestingly, the Shop King location was only a few doors away from Arco Tools, based on the product review below from the September 1969 issue of Popular Mechanics:

Popular Mechanics, November 1950
ARCO was apparently a trademark of the Arrow Metal Products Company which, by 1950, had moved to West Broadway.  Were Shop-King and ARCO the same company, or just neighbours for a while?

Nevertheless, "Shop-King" is a great name, way better than "Shop-Mate" or "Shop-Aholic."  Also, much better than "Power Fist," the name applied by the Princess Auto chain of stores (the Canadian equivalent of Harbor Freight) to its economy, Chinese-made hand and power tools.  

Interestingly, Evinrude used the Shop-King name back in the 1930's when the depression soured their outboard motor sales.  They came up with a multi-tool like the Shop-Smith and gave it the Shop-King name. The name is currently trademarked by the Minnesota-based Mid-States Distributing Company which uses it on dollies, hand trucks, and animal feed carts

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