History of Alvord-Polk Inc.
Alvord-Polk Tool Company was born in 1881, when a metal cutting tool manufacturing business was established by George M. Brubaker and Dr. A.J. Polk, a local dentist. This business was operated under the firm name of Brubaker and Polk until 1895. In that year, the partnership was dissolved and the firm of A.J. Polk and Son was organized to continue the manufacturing of tools. The Polk factory was in the alley between North and Moore Streets, at the rear of the residence of the late Charles P. Polk, where the Polk Apartments have been erected.
In 1909, the Alvord Reamer Company was organized by Jacob M. Alvord and Ray B. Brubaker. A factory building was constructed at the rear of the Alvord home at 442 Center Street. While the business operated at this location, the Brubaker interest was purchased by A.G. Bashoar, T.F. Bradenbaugh, W.L. Mark and W.P. Mills. In 1913, the business moved into a new building located just north of Gearhart Street adjoining the buildings of the Millersburg Fifth Wheel Company. In January, 1917, the Alvord Reamer Company was sold to Philadelphia interests headed by F.T. McGuire.
Until this time, the Alvord products consisted chiefly of Reamers and Milling Cutters, whereas the Polk factory specialized in Taps and Threading Dies. In order to have a complete line of cutting tools, the Alvord company purchased the Polk business in November, 1917. The Polk plant continued operations at the same location until January, 1920, when all machinery and equipment were transferred to a new building on Gearhart Street, adjoining the Alvord property. Although manufacturing facilities of the two plants were combined, the two business names were retained until 1925, when all facilities were consolidated and the present trade name, Alvord-Polk Tool Company, was registered. In 1935, the business was sold to Dallas E. Winslow of Detroit. The Winslow ownership extended through an 11 year period including World War II, when operations were practically around the clock, seven days a week.
After a period of 30 years, ownership and management of Alvord-Polk Tool returned to native Millersburg personnel. In January of 1947, the officers were: M.Edward Wilt, President and Treasurer; Walter A. Shatto, Vice President; and George F. Wilt, Secretary. After the death of M.E. Wilt, George F. Wilt succeeded his father as President. Alvord-Polk was then operating with 50 employees.
In September 1977, the Alvord-Polk Tool Company was purchased by Ronald E. Boyer and Robert W. Rissinger, both longtime residents of Millersburg. Ronald Boyer became the company's new President and Robert Rissinger, the new Secretary-Treasurer. George Wilt stayed on in the new corporation as General Manager of Manufacturing Operations. The new owners retained the Alvord-Polk name, which is highly respected in the cutting tool industry.
The building to the west side of the Alvord-Polk Tool, which was owned by Ames Industries, was purchased in 1981 and currently houses the cylindrical grinding, relieving, inspection and shipping departments. Also that same year, the C. A. Norgren Company of Colorado was purchased and moved to Millersburg. The company manufactured specialty brushes for the aerospace and automotive industries. We later changed the name of the company to Brush One.
In 1993, Alvord-Polk purchased the Morton Machine Works division of Brubaker Tool and moved the manufacturing unit into the Gearhart Street facilities. Morton had been a trusted name in the tooling components industry and was another small niche manufacturing unit that complimented existing business units.
In an effort to add cutting tool manufacturing capacity, Alvord-Polk, Inc. purchased the Twenty-First Century Manufacturing Company in Lake Preston, SD in 1994. The company had been manufacturing High Speed Steel Reamers and had a solid reputation for quality in the cutting tool industry. The facility was retained in Lake Preston and re-organized to specialize in longer production runs of Chucking Reamers and Cap Screw Counter Bores. Gene Paul, a department foreman in the Millersburg facility, was chosen to be the Plant Manager of this facility, relocated to the Lake Preston area to begin the challenge.
A continuing desire to expand the current cutting tool offering led to the acquisition of the Clark Tool product line from the Cogsdil Manufacturing Co. of South Carolina in 1997. The adjustable blade cap screw counter bore and adjustable hole cutters are just a few of the items that this new product line is now offering. Further expansion in 1997 led to the purchase of an additional 37,700 sq/ft. building in Elizabethville, PA (roughly seven miles from the Gearhart Street Facility in Millersburg), which now houses the Morton Machine Works division, Laserclad and Alvord-Polk Tool's Turning and Milling Departments.