One of the most famous names in machine tools, the Niles part of Niles-Bement-Pond
equation came from two brothers, James and Jonathan Niles, who left their native Connecticut in 1845 to establish a company in Cincinnati to repair boats on the Ohio river. Their business grew rapidly and they were soon able to afford the luxury of designing their own power plants - which led them eventually to build steam-powered sugar mills that were sold to the booming plantations in Louisiana. By 1853 the firm was a major employer, providing jobs for between four and five-hundred workers.
The firm's foray into machine tool building came about almost by accident. During the Civil War, the firm, needing another lathe, found that none were available quickly enough, and instructed two young mechanics, George A. Gray Jr. and Alexander Gordon to built one. So successful was their design that before long they found themselves in charge of a new department manufacturing nothing but machine tools.
In 1866 the Niles brother were bought out by a partnership of Gaff (a wealthy distiller in Aurora, IL), Gray & Gordon . The Niles name was retained as the "Niles Tool Works" - since their main interest was in the manufacture of machine tools. The Niles factory in Cincinnati stood on a site needed for the new Pennsylvania Railroad
station, so the Company moved to Hamilton, Ohio, where water power was available from a canal along the Miami River.
Expanded enormously, the Niles Tool Works was soon rivaling the Sellers firm in Philadelphia as a builder and exporter of large machine tools. In 1898 Niles purchased control of the Pond Machine Tool Works and, during the next year, a great consolidation took place with the Niles-Bement-Pond Company being formed from several major builders of large machine tools, including the Niles Tool Works, Bement, Miles & Company, the Pond Machine Tool Company and the Philadelphia Engineering Works.Pratt & Whitney
was bought out two years later, followed by John Bertram in Canada, the Ridgeway Machine Company (which built boring mills in Pennsylvania) and the Milwaukee Machine Tool Company, a lathe builder. As a result of their take-over activities, Niles-Bement-Pond became, for a time, the largest machine-tool company in the world.
In 1920, the Company's catalog, issued from their headquarters in New York, was a huge 635-page hard-backed book, with full-page halftones of the company's main products. Some were series production items, but many were highly specialized machines designed for munitions and similar military work.
Close Up of Vignette:
Common Stock, issued in the 1940’sPrinter: American Bank Note Company Dimensions:
7” (h) x 11” (w)State: NJ-New Jersey Subject Matter: Hardware and Tools Vignette Topic(s): Male Subject
| Nude Subject
| Industrial Scene Condition:
Vertical fold lines, punch hole cancels in signature areas and body, and some toning and edge faults from age.