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Manufacturers Index - Pawer Ltd.
Last Modified: Jan 14 2020 6:36PM by Jeff_Joslin
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Pawer Ltd. was established in August 1964 by Werner Bongartz and Paul Jolkowski. The business name was taken from the first names of the co-founders and was frequently misspelled. Bongartz, a German-trained tool and die maker, had been working at General Instrument where he designed and built machinery for manufacturing televisions, especially coil winding machines. Jolskowski worked at, and continued to work at, sheet-metal products manufacturer Leo Kraemer & Co. Bongartz designed and built the machinery sold by Pawer Ltd., and Jolkowski provided initial capital and market expertise. At some point in the 1970s Bongartz bought out Jolkowski and became sole owner.

A brochure from 1966 or '67 features the Pawer Limited line of sheet metal machinery for making ducts and fittings, including a cleat bender, a collaring machine, and a fish locker. During the 1970s Bongartz designed and built custom machines for assembling electrical connectors, particularly for making neutral bars and ground bars for circuit breaker panels. These bars have a series of drilled and tapped holes with set-screws, with an intersecting hole for wires. The bars' mounting holes were different from the other holes, and the bar-ends needed different spacing than the inter-hole spacing. In addition, some bars had "missing" holes in certain places where there was no space in the circuit breaker panel for wires and screwdrivers. Bongartz's machines used cam-driven mechanical logic to control the action of the drills, tapping heads, bar feeders, and cut-off saws. This design approach was less flexible than those used in the competitions' machines, but was much faster and so was ideally suited to producing larger-volume parts. Bongartz also designed and built the accompanying screw machines, which used multiple screwdrivers to insert screws into the bars, each screwdriver capable of inserting screws at a rate of over two per second. These machines were very successful and Pawer Limited's line of sheet metal machines was soon discontinued.

The company had two large customers for its custom bar machines. One, whose factory was in a rural area, was unable to find skilled workers to maintain and adjust these sophisticated machines. Instead, they asked Bongartz to take the machines back and run them himself. Bongartz did so, hiring workers to run the machines while he spent much of his time keeping the machines running at top speed. Running the machines proved to be far more lucrative than building them, and for more than a decade the business thrived as he manufactured bars for the two large customers. He continued to design and build new machines for producing other high-volume electrical connectors. One machine, for making individual screw terminals for high-current connections, integrated drilling, tapping and screw assembly. A saw cut off about an inch of aluminum extrusion, which was placed into a slot on the periphery of a rotating disc. The disc rotated through multiple stations that drilled and tapped the screw-hole, drilled the cross-hole, and inserted the set-screw. The disc rotated through the stations at a rate of more than one per second, producing about 4000 parts per hour in a machine with a footprint of about 3 feet by 4 feet plus the bar-feed.

Bongartz trained several apprentices over the years, a couple of them becoming long-time employees. Bongartz never allowed any of these senior employees to have a stake in the company, and when his health began to fail in 2003, there was no-one left to take over the business and it was wound down. The custom machines were scrapped.

Information Sources

  • Undated brochure of sheet metal machinery from Pawer Ltd. Ursula Bongartz, wife of Werner and bookkeeper for Pawer Ltd., provided the estimated date of 1966-67.
  • The history given here is condensed from years of conversations with Werner and Ursula Bongartz, my wife's parents.