Atlas Workholding History
Atlas Workholding got its start as G. T. Eames Company.
In 1911, inventor Gardner T. Eames of Kalamazoo, Michigan filed for a patent on a new type of arbor press, but was unable to secure funding for production. Eames partnered with Herbert H. Everard to create the G.T. Eames Company. Under this agreement, the rights to the patent were to be shared between both men. The company started producing the press under the “Eames Presses” brand with some success.
In 1913, Everard died, leaving his controlling share of the company to his daughter and her husband, John Penniman. Eames eventually became disillusioned with the Pennimans’ handling of the company and sold his shares to them for $5,000. Penniman then moved the company to another location in Kalamazoo and renamed it to Atlas Press Company. Eames opened a machine shop and continued to build and sell presses under the old trademark, which eventually led to conflict between the two parties, both of whom claimed exclusivity over the patent, as well as additional improvements made by Eames.
In 1919, the Pennimans filed an unfair trade lawsuit against Eames (Atlas Press Co. v. Eames), claiming rights over the trademark, patent and the improved design. The case was argued in front of the Michigan Supreme Court, which ruled that Eames had to cease use of the trademark, but refused the transfer of the improved press to the Atlas Press Company.
In 1920 the Atlas Press Company began making and selling lathes and small machine tools, including the lathes chucks. They were sold through the Sears catalog and some of them were re-branded under the Craftsman name.
Around the early to middle 1970’s, Atlas Press Company began to source its popular Atlas Chucks through Pratt Burnerd International and Pratt Burnerd America in which they ultimately took over control of the name and changed it to what we know today as Atlas Workholding.
Atlas Workholding began its expansion from the Sears / Craftsman chuck to the vast variety of workholding devices you see now in the late 1980’s under the direction and vision of B.J. Lillibridge. Atlas Workholding, a trusted name in workholding, now offers over 50 different series of workholding devices.