Bridgeport Machine Rebuilders

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Bridgeport Machines History Lesson

Economic Recession - Been there done that…

As a machine tool rebuilder, we follow manufacturing trends very closely. We are typically the last one to slow down (just before a recession) and the first one to pick up (just before a boom). Knowing when to expand and/or hold your position is the key to manufacturing survival. If Bridgeport Machines history tells us anything, history repeats itself.

Bridgeport Machines Brief Summary

The company's origins date to 1929 when Rudolph F. Bannow, president of Bridgeport Pattern and Model Works, enlisted his customer and friend, Magnus Wahlstrom, to jointly develop an electric hedge clipper. The two worked together on the hedge clipper for over a year when the project was put on the back burner because a company called Atlas Tools asked them to develop a special type of milling attachment. Bannow and Wahlstrom developed the tool, a "portable self-contained horsepower high-speed milling attachment," which they called the Model C Head upon its introduction in 1932.  Despite the drastic decline of the U.S. economy at the time, the tool proved itself to be very versatile in metal shops and soon became a commercial success.

Bannow and Wahlstrom incorporated their organization that year, under the name Bridgeport Machines Inc. During the 1940s, the company grew steadily, building new products and a name for itself with little competition. Bridgeport Machines profited from the post-World War II manufacturing boom as well. By 1960, the Bridgeport, its original milling machine, had become the standard tool used everywhere from school metal shops and mid-sized companies to large manufacturing facilities.

Slow down - late 60's

The machine tool industry is a cyclical one, and in the late 1960s, the industry was experiencing a slow down. In an attempt to expand sales by diversifying its product mix, Bridgeport introduced a line of surface, abrasive, and toolroom grinders that became extremely successful. By 1970, Bridgeport had also introduced the Series II milling machine, a larger version of Bridgeport's original machine, and the first numerically controlled Series I milling machine. In the 1970s, Bridgeport purchased the Harig brand of surface grinders.

Boom again...early 70's

In 1971 demand for machine tools began to skyrocket, fueled by the expanding commercial aerospace and defense industries and a shift among automobile manufacturers to front-wheel drives and four-cylinder engines. Bridgeport's slump was over as it began scrambling to meet new demands. The company successfully filled its orders through 1973, but began to slip as demand outpaced supply. By 1974 the backlog at most manufacturers, including Bridgeport, grew as high as two years.

Recession again...early 80's

If the 1970s were challenging because of excessive demand for Bridgeport's machines, the 1980s were tumultuous. Just as Bridgeport had expanded to meet increasing demand, a recession hit the United States. Between 1981 and 1982, industry sales dropped by more than 60 percent from $5 billion to less than $2 billion. In 1982 Bridgeport diversified its product line again through an agreement with Romi S.A. of Brazil to import Romi's standard engine lathe. In 1983 the Group posted a $16 million loss, but by 1984, the group was back in the black again, with an $11 million profit.

Recession again…late 80's early 90's

The economic recession of the late 1980s hit the company hard, as sales dropped from $185 million in 1989 to $98 million in 1992. Most of its losses were due to the closing of customers' plants; the company responded by downsizing and restructuring its operational and financial organizations.

Boom again…mid 90's

The tide turned again in Bridgeport's favor that year, when the U.S. machinery market entered a boom. "U.S. factories are operating at 84 percent of capacity, their highest rate in more than five years," noted Business Week. "After years of underinvestment, there's a pent-up demand for machinery." By the end of 1994, Bridgeport had a backlog of $44 million. By the end of 1995, the backlog had increased to $75 million.

So here we go again…BOOM!


 

Rebuilt Mills for Sale

We sell Rebuilt Bridgeport Mills for approximately 50-60% of a new Bridgeport mill

We also offer an opportunity to trade-in your well used Bridgeport mill with a purchase of a rebuilt Bridgeport mill. Our rebuilt machines are guaranteed for a period of 1 Year, under normal use and proper maintenance.

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