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Company History

Philadelphia Gear: Providing Innovative Power Transmission and Gearing Solutions for over 100 Years

In 1892, George B. Grant founded Philadelphia Gear Works in the perfect location to serve the booming steel and anthracite coal industries of Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. At the time, the country was in need of raw materials - from steel for railroads, ships and bridges; to coal for power generation; to wood, copper and other materials; as well as machinery for food production. All of this production required dependable gearing, allowing Philadelphia Gear to prosper.

 

By 1907, Philadelphia Gear employed 17 machinists - 20 by 1911 - continuing this growth over the next five years. A look at Philadelphia Gear's 1912 catalog shows not only standard stocked gears, but also custom-made products.

 

As the gearing industry continued to prosper, gear manufacturers recognized the value of joining together to advance the industry. Thus, Philadelphia Gear joined with nine other gearing companies to form the American Gear Manufacturing Association (AGMA) in 1916.

 
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Philadelphia Gear and the War Effort

At this time, much of Europe was entrenched in the first World War. When the U.S. entered the war in 1917, companies such as Philadelphia Gear increased their production of gears, sprockets, chain and automotive transmissions for ships, planes, munitions, tanks and machinery. Philadelphia Gear tripled its workforce to 55 machinists and 10 office staff.

 

As the gearing industry continued to evolve, Philadelphia Gear began producing completely packaged power transmission products. Our 1922 catalog shows an enclosed speed reducer, which was a first. Users of gear-related machinery could now rely on Philadelphia Gear power transmission specialists to create entire drive systems.

 

While other companies were ruined by the Great Depression, Philadelphia Gear survived thanks to our sale of the speed reducer. By 1939, speed reducers had become a major emphasis at Philadelphia Gear. During this time we also produced couplings and electric hoists, as well as every type and size of gear.

 

With the outbreak of World War II, Philadelphia Gear produced 14-foot ring gears to rotate battleship gun turrets, and worm gears for the hydraulic systems of virtually every Navy destroyer launched.

 

Philadelphia Gear Innovations Continue

Philadelphia Gear flourished after the war, integrating innovative European technology, like Maag, into gear production - the first U.S. company to do so for industrial applications. Other new applications included the design and manufacture of mechanical fluid mixers for agitating a variety of chemical and petroleum products - known as Philadelphia Mixers.

 

By 1960, Philadelphia Gear had expanded to a larger facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, purchasing the most advanced machine tools, heat-treating furnaces, grinding equipment and quality control devices available.

 

The new equipment was put to use right away; as we were called upon by NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense to supply gearing for large-scale radar and radio telescopes used to track satellites and missiles, as well as explore outer space. The special gear trains had to be both extraordinarily accurate and durable, and our highly skilled workers produced gearing to increasingly exacting specifications - building our reputation for large, special-function and custom gearing.

 

Such specialty gearing later included large, right-angle gearboxes for coal-pulverizing mills for electric power generation; pinion stands, rolling mill drives, and a new shaft-mounted reducer for the basic oxygen furnace used by the steel industry, drives for cement kilns and sugar mills; high-speed drives for pumps, compressors, test stands and gas turbines; large marine gears; and speed reducers and gearmotors.

 

Philadelphia Gear enclosed drives; continued to help bring fuel and energy to the world - from the Alaska Pipeline, to offshore oil drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and North Atlantic, to the Saudi Arabian Gas Gathering Program.

 

Adjusting to the Needs of Modern Power Transmission

As industry continued to grow through the 1980s, increasing amounts of power transmission were needed within ever-smaller spaces - including large roller mills in the cement industry, and hydroturbines for power generation. Responding to this demand, Philadelphia Gear reintroduced the principle of epicyclic gearing for power generation in limited space.

 

Today, Philadelphia Gear stands ready to capitalize on our more than 100 years of expertise, providing customers with a complete array of power transmission solutions, including the optimization of our inspect-and-repair regional service and manufacturing centers, strategically located across the United States.

   
 
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