Register :: Login
Manufacturers Index - W. P. Davis

W. P. Davis
North Bloomfield, NY; Rochester, NY, U.S.A.
Company Website: http://www.hpproc.com/
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery & Metal Working Machinery

Last Modified: Sep 13 2019 2:32PM by Mark Stansbury
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

From 1881, and perhaps earlier, W. P. Davis operated out of North Bloomfield, NY, making drill presses and key seating machines, and also acting as a full-line dealer in machinery for working metal and wood. In early 1889 he opened a sales office in Rochester, and by late 1890 the works (factory) had also moved from North Bloomfield to Rochester. By this time Davis was also manufacturing engine lathes.

William P. and Charles F. Davis reorganized the firm in 1894 as the W. P. Davis Machine Co. of Rochester, NY. William died in 1904 and Charles left in 1914 to establish the short-lived C. F. Davis Machine Co. to manufacture key seaters and engine lathes.

W. P. Davis Machine Co. was sold in Oct. or Nov. 1915 to a syndicate operating as Davis Machine Tool Co., Inc. According to the 1916 Rochester City Directory, the plant at 305 St. Paul St. manufactured engine and turret lathes, tool room lathes, shapers, drills, keyseaters, and cutting-off machines. As part of the war effort, the company built the Liberty lathe for the U. S. government. It was a center pedestal design probably intended for mobile military workshops.

Another source said the company manufactured munitions for the war effort and was located at 126-130 Mill St., Rochester. This may have been an auxiliary facility.

Davis Machine Tool Co., Inc. failed, and all property and equipment was sold at auction Oct. 22, 1923. Real estate consisted of four buildings, with the main address at 307 St. Paul St. One auction lot was described as the Davis Keyseater business as a whole. The plant's former location is High Falls Terrace Park today.

From 1911 Rochester City Directory

Davis Keyseater Co. first appeared in Rochester city directories in 1927 at 255 Mill St., the same year that C. F. Davis Machine Co. disappeared from the directory. However, the firms had different addresses on the opposite side of the Genesee River. Research has not found what connection, if any, there was between these firms.

By 1963, Davis Keyseater Co. had been acquired by Hansford Manufacturing Corp. Today, Davis Keyseaters are made by Hansford Parts & Products Co. of Macedon, NY.

Information Sources

  • Article in the September 1881 issue of Manufacturer & Builder, described W. P. Davis's drill press.
  • July 1882 issue of Manufacturer & Builder.
    W. P. Davis, of North Bloomfield, N. Y., ran his works day and night, from January 1st to April 1st, when he increased his facilities until he thought he could keep up with orders. Now he is again obliged to start up on overtime, and states that, judging from letters received from users of his machines, he will continue to have a large sale for some time to come.
  • Brief mention in the March 1885 issue of Manufacturer & Builder, in an article about the New Orleans Exhibition. Davis was exhibiting a pair of key-seating machines.
  • The American Artifacts web site has a web page that quotes a 7 September 1883 letter from Davis. The letter is signed, "W. P. DAVIS, Proprietor, North Bloomfield Foundry and Machine Tool Works."
  • 1889-01-10 American Machinist.

    W. P. Davis (Upright Drills and Slotting Machines), North Bloomfield, N. Y., writes us:

    Business has been fairly good the past year and have turned out and sold as many of our special machines as in any previous year. We have not brought out any new machines the past year, but expect to build a very large machine the coming year, especially for heavy key-seating. We find, since we have made a push on key-seating machinery, many have learned the value of such special machinery, and the demand is increasing, and we have now a call for special heavy machines, suitable for cutting key-ways in large gears, propeller wheels, etc., etc., and expect to bring out such a machine the coming season. There is a large field in this direction; but mechanics, as a rule, have to be educated up to the point that it is really advisable to have special tools for such work, instead of using a "makeshift" arrangement, as is used in many shops at the present day.

    We are to open a salesroom and office at Nos. 169 & 171 Mill street, Rochester, N. Y., next month, and shall keep a full line of machinists' tool, engines and boilers. This will give us better shipping facilities, and ship more promptly. We shall run our foundry and machine works at North Bloomfield as usual. We are running full time (10 hours) and full complement of workmen, and expect to continue the coming year. We have made a trip within past month both East and West, and find everything looking well for a good year's business, and also find there is already a demand springing up that is felt especially by the larger dealers in machinery. We have made several minor improvements in the manufacture of our tools, but nothing of importance.

  • 1890-09-01 The Mechanical News.
    W. P. Davis has recently been moving to his new shop in Rochester, N. Y. It is located directly on the Genesee Falls, having a water power of 100 ft. tall. The building is strictly fireproof, and is thoroughly heated by steam and ventilated, having elevators and every modern appliance. It was expected that everything would be in running order by the 10th of this month. Mr. Davis is putting in quite a large quantity of new machinery, including lathes, millers, planers, grinding machines, etc. He writes: "I shall continue to operate my works at North Bloomfield at the present, but my facilities here are such that I am increasing my output of machinery. I shall soon be in condition to furnish promptly upright drills of the latest improved pattern, from 10 in. to 36 in., planers from 20 in. to 42 in., of any length of bed required, and lathes from 10 in. to 30 in. I shall operate my store as usual, in which we keep a full line of every kind of machine tools that is kept in stock by any machinery house in the country, also tools and supplies. My works here are distinctly separate from my sales room, and all work will be made in large quantities, thus insuring the best possible tool for the least money. I am positioned to ship promptly all goods manufactured by me, and shall soon have out a full line of larger tools."
  • 1891-01-10 The Age of Steel, advertisement.
    Key Seating Machines, 20-inch Drills. Iron Planers a Specialty. Send for list of New and Second-Hand Lathes, Planers, Drills, or Anything in Machinists' Tools or Supplies. W. P. Davis, Rochester, N. Y. Works at North Bloomfield.
  • 1892-11-15 Scientific Machinist.
    W. P. Davis, of Rochester, N. Y., reports business satisfactory. Mr. Davis is the only dealer in machinery and supplies in Western New York. He removed from North Bloomville to Rochester a few years ago and opened a supply store, which has prospered beyond his expectations. He has a factory down on Mill race, where his very popular line of drill presses and cutting-off machines are built. Mr. Davis has an 1892 catalogue of his machinery and supplies, containing some 300 pages, which he will be pleased to send free to any one thinking of purchasing machinery and supplies.
  • 1905-10-07 The Iron and Machinery World.
    The glory of old Falls Field, says a Rochester. N. Y., dispatch, has been departed for many years, and now the halo that has remained visible to the eyes of older residents, is to be broken and the site of many historical events is to be covered by buildings in which artisans, not athletes or artists, will be the central figures. The property has been purchased by the W. P. Davis Machine Company, which will erect in place of the rambling old structures now standing, four large shop buildings, with an aggregate floor space of 60,000 square feet, and at a cost, ultimately of about $76,000. The machine company is the outgrowth of a business started in 1872, in a diminutive way by William P. Davis, at North Bloomfield. The company is composed of W. P. Davis, C. F. Davis and Miller Gillette. The proposed new plant, which will be supplied with shipping facilities by a spur of track from the New York Central, will consist of a machinery store. three stories. 40 by 160 feet; a factory building 100 by 142 feet, of one story; a repair shop. 100 by 50 feet, and a storage warehouse, one story high, 140 by 40 feet.
  • The New York Times, Oct. 31, 1915, Pg. 18.
  • Liberty lathe history and machine information can be found at Tony Griffith's Lathe web site.
  • August 1920 Machinery briefly describes the C. F. Davis Keyseater from the C. F. Davis Machine Co., Inc., 133 Andrews St., Rochester, N. Y.
  • Democrat and Chronicle, Oct. 18, 1923, Pg. 23.
  • Various 1920-22 sources and 1930-21 sources list West Tire Setter Co. as being at 255 Mill St., Rochester, N. Y., which was the 1924 address of Davis Keyseater Company. So far as we can tell, the two firms are unrelated; it is possible that Davis Keyseater Co. was renting space from West Tire Setter Co.
  • 1924-08-24 American Machinist has a small text ad from Davis Keyseater Company, 255 Mill St., Rochester, N.Y.
  • A posting on a genealogy mailing list says that William P. Davis was the proprietor of W. P. Davis Machine Co., and his brother, Charles F. Davis, also worked for the company.
  • American Lathe Builders: 1810-1910 by Kenneth L. Cope, 2001 page 38