Wells Brothers manufactured Little Giant brand threading tools. John J Grant received patent number 120,266 on October 24, 1871. This was the first modern thread cutting die. Prior to Grant’s invention, blacksmiths formed threads with jamb plates rather then cutting away metal.
Solon L Wiley and Charles P Russell associated with Grant forming Wiley & Russell in 1872. They developed a box set of taps and dies sold under the Lightning brand. Simmons Hardware began distributing the box sets. Grant left the company and associated with Pratt & Whitney from 1875 to 1878.
Elisha Wells was one of the original salesmen for Wiley & Russell. Elisha left in 1876 forming Wells Brothers with his sons Frederick E & Frank O. They began manufacturing screw plates under the Little Giant name. Franklin Snow joined the company in 1880. Snow’s financial knowledge aided growth with incorporation occurring in 1901.
Frederick left to form F E Wells with his son in 1900. They manufactured the Economy brand pipe dies. This is the company responsible for the Automatic Machine Company that produced automatic screw machines. E F Reece merged into this company in 1910.
E F & V J Reece had worked for Wiley & Russell until 1874 when they left to form Reece Brothers.
A J Smart was also an employee of Wiley & Russell. He left in 1906 to form A J Smart Manufacturing with his three sons. Smart, Wiley & Russell, and Wells Brothers merged in 1912 forming Greenfield Tap & Die. W E Wells was added in 1917 along with Nutter & Barnes. The Bickford Machine Company was purchased in 1918. Bickford manufactured machinery used to make taps & dies. Many of the brand names such as Lightning & Little Giant were retained.
Return to Home Page