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Despres Dowel Manufacturing Company

This company appears in the 1940 edition of the Grand Rapids City Directory, but not the 1930 or 1950 editions. The address is given as 1739 Elizabeth Ave., N.W., Grand Rapids, Mich.

No research has been done to refine the dates.

The company ad illustrates hand screws and bar clamps, among other items.

Reno Vise Company

This firm was apparently short-lived, operating during 1884 only. It used Thomas Reno's design.

Detroit Machine Screw Works

This firm was established in 1877, and incorporated in 1880. It used Thomas Reno's patent of 1884, and employed him, apparently from 1885 until 1900.

Grand Rapids Hand Screw Company

The early history is confused, with conflicting dates, and slightly different descriptions of events.

In 1880, or possibly 1887, it was a partnership of Wheeler and DeLisle.

There were a number of auxiliary operations, and acquisitions. From 1893 to 1900, it also operated GR Fixture Co. making show cases. In 1907, GR Fixture Company became the Wilmarth Showcase Co.

In 1905, it bought Benedict Furniture Clamp Co.

In December 1909, The John Widdicomb Co. purchased that portion of the business known as the Grand Rapids Hand Screw Co. and moved it to what is known as the John Widdicomb Co. - Kent Plant at North Front and Webster Streets, giving it a department of its own.

After 1916, its name became Grand Rapids School Equipment Co.

Date of closing given as 1930-35.

The Public Museum of Grand Rapids has a collection of 29 catalogs, covering the period 1891 to 1915.


PM Historyand PM Manufacturersare documents from the Collections of the Public Museum of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The catalogs are from Product Literature Collection #29, Public Museum of Grand Rapids, Michigan

Benedict Furniture Clamp Co

Unknown, except for purchase by GR Hand Screw Company in 1905.

Material from the Collections of the Public Museum of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

T. B. Rayl

Pollak has an entry for Rayles as a distributor in the 1880s. However, the mark in Pollak is not the mark found on the clamp. There are several possibilities, including changes over time.

Berkey and Gay Furniture Co., of Grand Rapids MI

The origins of the firm go back to 1859, although the name Berkey and Gay was first used in 1873. It apparently continued until 1923 at least. It was famous for high quality furniture in the Gothic Revival and Eastlake styles.

Limbert in MI

The firm was founded in 1894, and ceased operation in 1944. During that time, it was famous for Arts and Crafts furniture.

Valley City Clamp Shop, of Grand Rapids MI

The dates and activities of the firm are unknown at this time.


The Public Library of Grand Rapids has been a source of much information. The staff is unfailingly helpful.

The Detroit Public Library, and the Detroit Historical Museum have been very helpful.

Books include

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