Register :: Login
Manufacturers Index - Stow Flexible Shaft Co., Ltd.

Stow Flexible Shaft Co., Ltd.
Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Metal Working Machinery

Last Modified: Sep 11 2019 4:15PM by Mark Stansbury
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

Stow Flexible Shaft Co., Ltd. was a separate company from Stow Manufacturing Co. of Binghamton, NY, which also made flexible shaft machines. The Philadelphia firm was originally named Stow & Burnham and was a partnership between inventor Nelson Stow and George Burnham, chief financial officer of Baldwin Locomotive Works. They exhibited their machines at the 1876 Centennial International Exposition, but their first production run had a defective part, causing a $10,000 loss. Stow sold his interest and withdrew from the partnership, which was renamed Stow Flexible Shaft Co., Ltd. around 1877.

Their advertising cited uses as tapping, reaming and boring machines, emery wheel grinders, and wood boring machines. The machines were run from line shafts, and later by electric motors.

The partnership of Stow Flexible Shaft Co., Ltd. was dissolved effective Nov. 1, 1893 by George Burnham, Jr., secretary. It was succeeded by Stow Flexible Shaft Co., owned by Frederic Schoff (1848-1922), at the same location, 26th and Callowhill Sts., Philadelphia. Although Mr. Schoff was a civil engineering graduate, he made a successful transition to mechanical engineering, with at least 3 U. S. patents for flexible shaft machinery.

Although we do not know how long the company operated, in 1956 it was at 1608 Fairmont Ave., Philadelphia.

Information Sources

  • Press and Sunday Bulletin, Apr. 11, 1914, Pg. 8.
  • Invented the Dental Drill, Moberly Weekly Monitor, May 30, 1901, Pg. 7.
  • The Stow Flexible Shaft by Stow & Burnham, a leaflet given to attendees at the 1876 Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia.
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 14, 1893, Pg. 6.
  • Eastern Manufacturers and Industrial Directory : Buyer's Guide and Classified Telephone Directory : The Yellow Book 1956 by Bell Directory Publishers, Inc., pg. 79.
  • An article about Schoff's wife, social reformer Hannah Kent Schoff, is at the site West Philadelphia Collaborative History, and it also mentions Stow Flexible Shaft Co.