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Manufacturers Index - Weller Electric Corp.

Weller Electric Corp.
Easton, PA; Loquillo, PR, U.S.A.
Company Website: https://www.weller-tools.com
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Metal Working Machinery

History
Last Modified: Nov 20 2019 3:19PM by Jeff_Joslin
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

During World War II a radio repairman, Carl E. Weller, built a soldering "Speed Iron" that used a low-voltage high-current supply and a heating element that doubled as the soldering tip. His gun-style invention heated up much faster than traditional electric soldering irons. At the war's end in 1945 Weller established the Weller Manufacturing Co. to produce his invention. The company was a partnership of Carl, his three brothers, and two wives. Within a few years there was also the Weller Manufacturing Co., Inc., of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Weller Electric Corp. of Luquello, PR, the Weller Electric Corp., of Easton, PA, and Weller Engineering Co. By about 1957 the Weller Electric Corp., of Easton, seemed to be the one manufacturing and selling soldering irons and handheld power tools including a pad sander and a sabre saw.

The Vintage Machinery website's focus is on woodworking and metalworking machinery plus engines, motors, vises and handheld power tools. Our interest in Weller is restricted to their handheld power tools, i.e., their handheld sanders and saws.

Information Sources

  • 1962 Tax Court case involving Carl E. and Emily I. Weller. "On May 15, 1945, Weller Manufacturing Company, Easton, Pennsylvania, was organized as a general partnership under Pennsylvania law to manufacture, by, and sell electric products and equipment." A table provides the names of the partners, all members of the Weller family: Carl and his brothers R. H., Everett C., and I. Dale; Emily (Carl's wife), and Mamie V. (R. H.'s wife). Carl, Emily, R. H. and Mamie each put in $2,500, Everett put in $770 and I. Dale put in $730. In 1946 patent 2,405,866 was granted to Carl for his soldering iron. Carl transferred to the partnership his rights to the patent and any improvements on it, in exchange for a royalty of 5 percent of net sales for 5 years beginning 1945-05-15. The decision notes that the advent of television enormously enlarged the market for Carl's invention. It also notes the 1947 hiring of Robert E> Miller, an electrical engineer with sales experience and contacts in electronics manufacturers. Miller received a 20 percent interest in the partnership. In 1949 the partnership agreement was amended such that Carl, Emily, Everett and Miller each became "general partners" and the rest became "limited partners", one difference being that the general partners were also employees of the company. In June 1949 Dale sold half his interest to one Norman E. Ritter. At the beginning of 1950 Carl, Emily, R. H., Mamie, Everett, and Ritter sold a small portion of their interests to Miller. In 1952 Carl sold his rights to a reissue of the original patent for 3 percent of net sales over the life of the reissued patent. In 1952 the partnership sued Wen Products, Inc., and Drake Electric Works, for patent infringement, and in 1954 their claim was upheld, and they won again in 1955 in District Court, and again in 1956 in the Court of Appeals. Wen paid $250k to license the patent and settle the claims; future sales were subject to 7.5 percent royalty. In 1953 Miller and Carl had a disagreement on marketing policies which led to Miller resigning and moving to Florida. At this time there was the partnership known as Weller Manufacturing Co.; the Weller Manufacturing Co., Inc., of Bayamon, PR; Weller Electric Corp., Luquello, PR; Weller Electric Corp., Easton, PA; and Weller Engineering Co.