After nearly 90 years of expertise in the woodworking business, DELTA Machinery has become one of the most revered brands in woodworking tools today. DELTA Machinery focuses on innovations to help the woodworker create masterpieces easier and with more precision. The company designs, manufactures and distributes a variety of stationary woodworking tools including electric table saws, band saws, radial arm saws, scroll saws, drilling machines, jointers, planers, mortisers, lathes, grinders and dust collectors for the professional and advanced woodworking markets.
Like many long-established companies, DELTA Machinery represents the American dream that came true for
Herbert Tautz, the company's founder, in 1919. Working out of his one-car garage in Milwaukee, Tautz
set out to design and build new tools to alleviate the challenges of woodworking. He named his business,
"The Delta Specialty Company."
In 1923, Tautz invented DELTA Machinery's first breakthrough product, the "American Boy," which was the world's first scroll saw. Although it was built for hand-operated use in 8-inch and 12-inch sizes, the tool paved the way for future electric-powered scroll saws.
The HandiShop, DELTA Machinery’s second innovation, consisted of a Wagner-grade motor, a steel-bed lathe, a disc sander and a scroll saw. Upon its introduction in 1928, the HandiShop sold for $99.50, which was a significant investment for that day. Despite the cost, it quickly became one of the most popular home workshop items in America. A 4-inch jointer and 8-inch circular saw combination unit followed one year later.
As the country reached the height of the depression, DELTA Machinery continued to forge ahead with new product introductions. The early 1930s proved to be a critical time in the company's history because DELTA Machinery began focusing on band saws as one of its core products. Its first band saw, a 12-inch unit, was launched in 1930. Shortly thereafter, the momentum began as a 10-inch band saw rolled out, followed by the introduction of the venerable DELTA® 14-inch band saw. Although today's 14-inch band saws are more advanced, their appearance is very similar to the original design launched in 1934.
During an era where woodworking publications did not exist, DELTA Machinery found a way to connect with its end users by creating a journal called the Deltagram. This publication contained woodworking plans, tool talk and techniques for aspiring woodworkers at all skill levels. Many of today's woodworking magazines still publish original plans from this journal, which was sent monthly for more than four decades. Today, collectors search e-Bay for old copies while the Smithsonian Institution collects them in its archived file for the Science and Industry section.
Pioneering New Power Tools
DELTA Machinery truly turned the industry upside-down in 1937 with the invention of the world's first 10-inch tilting arbor saw – known today as the UniSaw. Setting the standard for table saws, the UniSaw has become the most coveted tool by woodworkers all over the world. It offers precision, reliability and unprecedented performance.
History proves that DELTA Machinery was truly a pioneer of stationary power tools, and the late 1930s yielded some of the company's key product categories that still exist today. Moreover, these categories have become staples of any woodworker's shop. From 1930 to 1940, DELTA Machinery launched products including the 6-inch jointer, the
8-speed wood lathe, the reversible wood shaper, bench- and floor-grinders, the abrasive belt sander, and the 17-inch drill press.
The War Years
During the 1940s, DELTA Machinery rolled up its sleeves as World War II erupted. Few manufacturers played as big of a role in defense production as DELTA Machinery. The company refused any business that was not supporting Uncle Sam in his time of need. Products including drill presses, band saws, floor grinders and abrasive belt sanders were required for almost every item, big or small, manufactured to defend the country.
It is impossible to count the number of aircraft, ships, weapons and other war-related supplies that DELTA Machinery helped produce for the war effort. As a result, the U.S. Congress held a ceremony to celebrate DELTA Machinery's contribution and express gratitude for the critical role it played in ending the war.
Delta, The Rockwell Years
The Rockwell Manufacturing Company made a bold move by purchasing DELTA Machinery in1945. The company was renamed "The Delta Power Tool Division of Rockwell Manufacturing Company" and continued to manufacture products in Milwaukee, Wis.
In 1948, DELTA Machinery entered the radial saw market by acquiring Red Star Products of Norwalk, Ohio. A string of acquisitions followed including the purchase of the Ohlen Bishop Company and a 7-inch shaper design from AMMCO Tools of Chicago. This broadened the company's product offering, thereby strengthening its position in the accessories market.
As Rockwell relocated its DELTA Machinery-Milwaukee operations to Bellafontaine, Ohio, in 1952, the acquisitions continued. Rockwell entered the Canadian market in 1953 by purchasing Beaver Tools of Canada. The 1956 purchase of the Walker-Turner division of the Kearney and Trecker Corporation added 20-inch drill presses and radial-type drill presses to the line.
By the mid-1960s, the name Rockwell had become synonymous with top-quality stationary power tools and equipment. This was largely due to a complete line of products that had proven itself through years of reliable performance. As sales continued to grow, Rockwell demanded a larger, more centralized distribution center. As a result, a 230,000-square-foot distribution center and service branch was opened in 1966. The facility maintained an inventory of more than 15,000 machinery parts.
The world of power tools changed forever in 1966 when Rockwell invented the world's first motorized miter saw. This introduction offered a more compact and portable solution (not to mention added precision) to the task of making crosscuts at the jobsite and other remote locations.
A New Era
In 1981, Pentair acquired the company with one goal in mind – reviving a once strong brand name. Pentair wasted no time investing in the business. Appreciating its heritage, Pentair made a good move by renaming the company with its original moniker, "DELTA Machinery."
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., DELTA Machinery began expanding its consumer market by launching a complete line of bench-top tools such as the 8-inch drill press; 6-inch, 8-inch and 10-inch grinders; and a 10-inch band saw. This launch made DELTA Machinery a household name by offering more affordable, lighter-duty power tools to homeowners and do-it-yourselfers.
In 1992, DELTA Machinery introduced the Sidekick 10-inch motorized miter saw, the first in a series of jobsite tools for builders, contractors and remodelers. Since then, the line has grown to include a full selection for a variety of
As new products continued to flow, DELTA Machinery's sales continued to grow. This was largely due to the explosion of the home centers and the popularity of how-to television programming. DELTA Machinery took advantage of this by becoming a sponsor of public television's “The New Yankee Workshop” in 1993. The
company's association with host, Norm Abram, helped DELTA Machinery fortify its position in the minds of woodworkers everywhere.
DELTA Machinery increasingly became a leader in accessories for stationary power tools and equipment and acquired Biesemeyer. Biesemeyer is known as the "crème de la crème" when it comes to precision T-square saw fence systems. Located in Mesa, Ariz., Biesemeyer has integrated its product offering into DELTA Machinery's existing line of stationary power tools and equipment, as well as a line of stand-alone products that complement DELTA Machinery's line perfectly.
During this time, DELTA Machinery launched a special edition product offering that included more than a basic
unit. Labeled the "Platinum Edition Line," the company featured more than 15 product arrangements that provided add-ons such as Biesemeyer fences, mobile bases, free accessories and other value adds. This launch was extremely successful because it offered a significant savings to end-users who were previously unwilling to make
Evolution Of A Strong Brand
In 1999, DELTA Machinery began consolidating its operation with PORTER-CABLE, a sister company that manufactures portable electric and cordless power tools, air nailers and compressors, generators and pressure washers. This decision led to a complete relocation of its headquarters and a new 425,000-square foot distribution center to Jackson, Tenn., where both brands are now based.
During 2001, DELTA Machinery stepped up its new product development by launching more than 20 new products. Introductions included a 13-inch two-speed bench-top planer, an 18-inch by 36-inch two-speed drum sander, the midi-lathe, a complete line of ambient air-cleaners, and a dual bevel miter saw. More than 12 new product awards from leading industry publications touted DELTA Machinery's achievements in new product innovation shortly after the introduction.
DELTA Machinery remains the most powerful name in quality woodworking equipment. Customer research and focus group studies reveal DELTA Machinery products are widely used by all user segments.
A Look Ahead
In 2005, Black & Decker purchased DELTA Machinery and PORTER-CABLE from Pentair Inc. Already a leader in the consumer tool category, the purchase solidified Black & Decker’s position in the professional power tool market.
DELTA Machinery is considered the premium brand of professional woodworking tools. No one can anticipate the future; however, one prediction can be made with certainty – DELTA Machinery's tomorrows will center around quality, innovation and people. The spirit of Herbert Tautz will live on through the company well beyond 100 years. It is a safe bet that DELTA Machinery will continue to pioneer the breakthroughs that make woodworking a little easier.