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 AN OVERVIEW AND HISTORY OF THE GRANT COMPANY

The Grant Company is a very different business from when it first began in the mid to late 1800’s. But many of the same principles and ideas from our founders remain as our outline for doing business today and in the future. Grant has had a very interesting past and has a very exciting future to look forward to.

Today the Grant Company is made up of a few different operating businesses and several business units. The Grant Manufacturing and Machine Company is the original company located in Bridgeport Connecticut where the first riveting machine in the world was developed and manufactured in the 1880’s. Grant Assembly Technologies, LLC dba/Grant Riveters was created in March of 1999. Grant Riveters was created for several purposes. The old Grant Company, due to evolving times and the turn over of people in the industry lost name recognition. Grant’s goal is to reintroduce its newest and old products thru a name that says what we do “Grant Riveters”. The other reason Grant Riveters was created was due to current worldwide business trends and the outsourcing of manufacturing. Bruce W. McNaughton, the sole proprietor of Grant Riveters, realized and understood that new Grant machine design was needed to survive in the new world market place. In 1996 Mr. McNaughton started to design a new riveting machine product line and reaching out to manufacturing sources worldwide. Over the next few years the design was refined and trial machines were manufactured and tested extensively. In 1999 the new Grant Riveters Company was launched to produce and market its new world-class pneumatic orbital riveter product line.

Serving the manufacturing community, The Grant Manufacturing and Machine Company has designed and built riveting, metal forming and related assembly machines since the 1880’s.

Jeremiah Grant Kingsbury, an engineer employed as a top engineer by Thomas Edison, founded Grant.  He was charged with the development of machines and manufacturing methods used to produce Edison’s products.

The experience gained with Edison gave Kingsbury incites into this country’s industrial future.  It also fired his desire to establish a company directed toward the design and building of manufacturing tools and assembly equipment.

It was a period when America was rapidly becoming the world’s manufacturing center, and in selecting a home for his new company, J. Grant Kingsbury looked to Connecticut – particularly the City of Bridgeport.  The area had a number of well established manufacturing concerns, tool and machine builders, and offered a generous supply of labor skilled in the metalworking trades.

Without realizing the future implications, his new company – which at first manufactured only tools and dies – kept itself financially sound by servicing and building parts for the days most common form of transportation, the bicycle. It is believed that J. Grant Kingsbury’s father in the year 1860 invented and patented the first hand tool that embossed a rivet that produced a pivoting joint.

As the company’s capabilities grew, it was an easy step to become involved in the next major transportation boom … the automobile.  But this time it was not to service the product, but to supply car builders with specialized machines and tools to solve parts manufacturing and assembly problems. A broad range of custom machines were designed and built.  Drilling and milling equipment, machines and tools for swaging, forging, and for the fastening and joining of many materials. Grant is also written into history as one of the top 100 steam engine builders of the era. Grant produced many steam engines for the marine industry. Grant also, in its vast historical past, invented the first tire valve for the automobile and started the Imperial Valve Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Grant has other exciting memorable patented inventions like the first electric vertical motor and the spark plug as we know it today. Grant was responsible for implementing riveters on Henry Ford's first production line in 1903 and was awarded the Bronze Medal at the Panama Pacific International Exposition at the 1915 World's Fair in San Francisco for the use of its riveters in the building of the Panama Canal from 1905 to 1915.

In 1904 the enterprise was incorporated as “The Grant Manufacturing and Machine Company”.  A broad range of custom machines were designed and built and other product lines we enhanced.  Double-ended threading and cutting machines, drilling and milling equipment, machines and tools for swaging, forging, and for the fastening and joining of many materials.  The machines were of such variety, that in many of the photographs and sketches, which have survived the years, it is almost impossible to determine what some of them were used for or even what they did! Grant built fully automated unmanned progressive die, feeding and riveting machines for the hinge industry in 1894. These machines existed in full production running three shifts a day until the year of 1996 when the Stanley Hardware Company moved manufacturing overseas. These machines where such a master piece that nobody in the world would or could duplicate them, not even Grant since the design no longer existed.

Grant continued to focus on the growing automotive industry, particularly in building assembly machines.  In 1905 – improving on existing processes - Kingsbury invented and patented a rotary tool for spin-forming heads on rivets and pins.  Introducing his “noiseless rivet-spinning machine”.  The tool was composed of free-spinning shaped rollers mounted in a rotating tool holder.  When brought in contact with the shank end of a rivet, pin or staking post, the compound motion of the tools flow-formed a highly polished clinching head.  Today we call this tool “Twin-Spin” and use it for a wide range of assembly applications.

It was quickly discovered that by using the same machine and simply changing tools, the machine could roll metal over, curl it in or out, crimp, and fasten in a variety of ways.  The process still accommodates unique and precise jobs that cannot be done with impact, radial or orbital riveting.

Shortly after introduction of spin-roller forming – a process exclusive to Grant for many years – the company acquired rights to manufacture a rotary vibrating impact riveter.  This was closely followed by development of a full line of pneumatic riveting machines.  While it is difficult to precisely identify the date or the customer, it is highly probable that Grant Manufacturing designed and built the first automatic rivet setting machine used in assembling automotive brake linings.

In 1917 a long-time employee of Kingsbury, William Black McNaughton, purchased control of Grant.  Wallace Bruce McNaughton, the son of William Black McNaughton, in turn succeeded him.  In 1996, Bruce William McNaughton, the current company President of The Grant Manufacturing and Machine Company, continues the tradition of family management.

While an American patent was issued for the orbital riveting tool in the 1922 (long before the discovery claims of European manufacturers), it was not until the late 20’s that Grant designed and built orbital tools for use on the “noiseless” rivet-setting machine.  Orbital head forming combined features of both the vibrating hammer-type and spin-roller riveters.  However, because the orbital tool was – and remains – far more costly than tooling for either roller or conventional impact machines, it was not widely used.  This changed in the early 1960’s when government established noise limitation levels and many hammer impact riveters could not meet this limitation.

From the early 1900's to the late 1960's The Grant Manufacturing and Machine Company sold approximately 230,000 riveting systems worldwide. This is a great milestone for any company in the world. Today The Grant Manufacturing and Machine Company is recognized as Connecticut's Oldest Machine Tool Builder and The World's Oldest Riveting Machine Tool Builder.

In 1996, Bruce W. McNaughton, the current president decided that the machines of yesterday were no longer what the world needed nor what they wanted.  He developed a new, more modern riveter that had fewer parts to replace.  The parts of yesterdays Grant machine were custom made only by the manufacturer, Grant.  Mr. McNaughton wanted a riveter that was as durable as the old ones, that was fast and precise and one that would make replacing parts easier for the customer.   In the year 1999, the new orbital riveter would be produced and marketed by Grant Assembly Technologies, LLC. The Grant Manufacturing and Machine Company still operates on its own supplying customers with parts for their older machines that are still in use.  Grant Riveters builds the new modern riveter.  The foundation of the riveter is built in India then shipped to the Grant facility in Bridgeport, CT.  There the riveter is finalized.  Spin-roller, straight-line or orbital tooling can be used with all of these machines.  Typical product assembly applications include casters, hinges, motor components, bearings, chain-link elements, a multitude of consumer appliances and automotive accessories. In addition to these products currently produced by Grant Riveters, Grant has developed other business units to compliment our expertise in the riveting and press industry. These business units include a new impact pneumatic riveter product line, a new impact air over oil riveter product line, a new extensive air over oil cylinder and integrated press product line and a portable C-frame hydraulic riveter line for squeezing rivets in truck chassis and frames.

Product improvement, process innovation and new multi-functional automated and robotic assembly systems are continuously being introduced by Grant Riveters.  All are direct descendants of the first spin-roller tool invented by J. Grant Kingsbury in 1905.  The process itself explains Grant’s maxim – “Forming the Future …For American Industry”.

Grant products have always been and will continue to be of the highest quality, and price-competitive in the world marketplace.

Organizational Overview

 

The Grant Manufacturing and Machine Company

·        Spare parts for all product lines.

·        Spare tooling for all product lines.

·        Fixtures and tooling for all new manufactured equipment.

·        System integration for all product lines.

·        Design and engineering services for old product line.

·        Labor Services for all day-to-day business at the Bridgeport, CT facility.

 

Grant Riveters

·        Pneumatic orbital riveter manufacturing processes including casting, machining and painting services.

·        Pneumatic orbital riveter machine assembly process.

·        Spare tooling for new product lines.

·        Spare parts for new product lines.

·        Multi-process integration in new orbital riveters.

·        Design and engineering system integration services for all new product lines.

·        Consulting services worldwide pertaining to the riveting and metal forming industry.

·        Contract orbital riveting services to aerospace and government military suppliers.

·        Proto-typing services for the prospective customer.

·        Management of system integration services.

·        Management of all business units worldwide.

·        Management of Sales Representatives worldwide.

 

Grant International

·        Pneumatic orbital riveter manufacturing processes including casting, machining and painting services.

·        Pneumatic orbital riveter machine assembly process.

·       Spare tooling for new product lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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  90 Silliman Avenue, PO Box 3350, Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA, 06605
Phone: 203-366-4558, 800-227-2150, Fax: 203-366-0370
Email: sales@orbitalriveter.com - Copyright © Grant Riveters 2003.

Last modified on Friday January 22, 2010