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Manufacturers Index - Biesemeyer Manufacturing Corp.
History
Last Modified: Apr 12 2019 8:15PM by Jeff_Joslin
If you have information to add to this entry, please contact the Site Historian.

In 1978 Bill Biesemeyer was a former carpenter and boat builder who saw a need for a better table saw rip fence that would consistently lock down parallel with the blade. He came up with a simple, robust and effective design, applied for a patent, and then he and his wife, Joan, rented a 1000 square foot manufacturing facility to begin making the T-Square Fence. These very early Biesemeyer fences bore the name T-Square Saw Fence Co.

By 1980 Biesemeyer had realized that he was not a salesman or marketer. He met Roger Thompson and quickly realized that Thompson had the skills he lacked. Thompson became a partner, the business was relocated to Mesa, Arizona, re-incorporated as Biesemeyer Tools Inc., and sales started to grow very rapidly.

Rockwell began producing a knock-off version. The Biesemeyer fence patent was issued in 1980 and so Biesemeyer Tools sued for patent infringement. Rockwell was a large established company with deep pockets and Biesemeyer's lawyers advised them to negotiate with Rockwell. Biesemeyer withdrew the suit and negotiated an agreement for Rockwell to make Biesemeyer fences available as an option for Rockwell's Delta tablesaws, especially the best-selling Unisaw. This arrangement was profitable for both companies and continued for the term of the patent and beyond.

By 1991 the Biesemeyer company name had changed to Biesemeyer Manufacturing Corp. In 1995 the business was acquired by Delta Manufacturing Co., who continue to manufacture the Biesemeyer line of fences until at least 2011 when Delta was acquired by a Taiwanese company and subsequently went bankrupt.

Information Sources

  • 1984-12-23 Arizona Republic.
    Firm thrives on time-saving invention / Device for carpenters puts Mesa company on U.S. list for growth / By JOHN STAGGS Arizona Republic Staff / In 1978, when the country was plunging into a recession, William Biesemeyer plunged into business. This year, Inc. magazine listed Biesemeyer Manufacturing Corp. of Mesa as 113th in a field of its 500 fastest-growing small-to-medium-size firms in the nation. As such, the company, was the fastest-growing in Arizona on Inc's list.
    The full article can be seen under "Publications".
  • An owwm.org forum discussion includes a photo of a tag on a Biesemeyer fence reading, "T-Square Saw Fence Co. / 89? W. Elwood / Phoenix, Arizona 85041".
  • The February 1981 issue of Fine Woodworking gives the company name as Biesemeyer Tools Inc. The address was 216 Alma School Rd., Suite 3, Mesa, Ariz.
  • An ad in the April/May 1985 Fine Wood Working is from "Biesemeyer Manufacturing, 216 S. Alma School Road, Suite 3, Mesa, Arizona 85202. ... BIESEMEYER / The T-Square™ saw fence company".
  • Writeup in the "What's New" section of the March 1981 Popular Science.The company name was given as "Biesemeyer Tools", and the price for the 50-inch version was $240.
  • An owwm.org forum discussion has more information on Biesemeyer's history and has photos of some of the different versions of the Biesemeyer fence.