Greenfield Tap & Die
The Greenfield Tap & Die Corporation was established in 1912 as a holding company by financier Frederick Payne and F.O. Wells of the Wells Brothers Company. They engineered a hostile takeover of Wiley & Russell Mfg. Co., combining the two large industrial complexes on Meridian Street and Sanderson Street. This became the world's largest tap & die firm. Greenfield Tap & Die corporation expanded by buying out most of its local competitors and acquiring other firms for their product lines: A.J. Smart company (1912), taps & dies; F.E. Wells & Son Company (1917) taps & dies and pipe tools; Nutter & Barnes Company (1917), metal cutting-off machines; Lincoln Twist Drill Company (1920), twist drills and milling cutters; Bickford Machine Company (1917), lathes and screw machines; Greenfield Machine Company (1921), internal grinders. In addition the corporation maintained a Canadian plant at Galt, Ontario (Greenfield Tap & Die Corporation of Canada, Limited).
The period between 1917 and 1958 was when Greenfield Tap & Die Corporation dominated the economic life of Greenfield and the world-wide tap & die industry. During World War I Frederick Payne was an Undersecretary of War and certainly helped the Corporation to receive military contracts. It suffered through the Depression but remained Greenfield's largest employer. The firm was known for its interest in the welfare of its employees and sponsored many sports and social groups. It expanded by purchasing other companies. Sales offices and warehouses were located in most industrial cities. Their advertisements stated they always had on hand three million dollars worth of steel to immediately fill any special order.
The peak period for the Greenfield Tap & Die Corporation was during World War II when employment was almost 4000. In 1940, as war raged on in Europe, the U.S. Government financed the building of a modern million dollar gage plant in which temperature and humidity never varied more than one percent. Gages were one of the Corporation's major products during World War II. Gages assured that parts assembled from all over the country in different factories would fit together. Production declined after the War but the Corporation streamlined its operations and continued to selectively acquire other companies.
Beginning in 1958 Greenfield Tap & Die Corporation went through a series of mergers, ownership and organizational changes, some of which were detrimental to the firm. Products formerly produced in Greenfield were transferred to other locations. In 1992 the Meridian Street plant was abandoned and all local production consolidated at the Sanderson Street facility.
United Greenfield 1958-1968.
United - Greenfield Corporation (UG) with the United Drill and Tool Corporation, a group of firms manufacturing metal cutting tools. It became the largest tool maker in the world.
TRW - 1968-1986.
In 1968 United Greenfield merged with TRW, a giant conglomerate. The new Greenfield Products Division produced one percent of TRW's sales and five percent of its profits !
Harbour Group 1986-1993
The Harbour group was a privately owned company based in St. Louis. It was formed in 1976 by financiers who specialized in purchasing "rust-belt" industries - established metal working firms who had obsolete machinery and were not successfully competing in changing markets. In 1986 they purchased the Greenfield DIvision of TRW which consisted of Greenfield Tap & Die, Chicago Latrobe and Geometric Brands. The companies were restructured so each made products which were their specialty. Tap and drill production was centered in Greenfield. Other companies that were acquired including Vermont Tap & Die in 1991 and Cleveland Twist Drill Company in 1994.
Greenfield Industries 1993-1997.
All of the Harbour Group companies were consolidated as Greenfield Industries in 1993 and organized as a publicly held company. It acquired several other firms. The local plant was modernized and high volume tap production was consolidated at the Sanderson Street plant. Special taps and low volume products were made at the Vermont Tap & Die plant. Other products made here were transferred to Greenfield Industries plants in other locations.