About Air Tool Sales & Repair Co., Inc.
Air Tool Sales & Repair Co., Inc. was founded in 1918 with the issuance of a patent to Waldemar Meyer for an innovative rivet set. The company was started by Mr. Meyer and was called the Universal Air Tool Co.
The firm did most of the air tool work for the Submarine Boat Co. in Kearney, N.J. It also was involved with the shipping industry through its repair of riveting hammers and wood boring machines for this industry.
The firm has always maintained this dual track of manufacturing and repairing pneumatic equipment.
Waldemar Meyer died in 1928, leaving three sons: Walter, Alfred and Howard. Walter took over the business and ran it, successfully maintaining the dual track of manufacturing specific air tool items and repairing the best known pneumatic equipment of the period. Alfred assisted Walter in the firm.
In 1935, Walter met Alois Muller, a skilled machinist, and set up a partnership in Brooklyn. In 1939, it was incorporated under the present name and moved to Long Island City. Pneumatic Tool Sales also set up a specialized company at that time called “Bentley Machine and Tool” to satisfy war production contracts.
ATS continued its work in the pneumatic tool industry for military and shipping industry clients and also became the major supplier of radar castings for the General
Walter was President of the firm, Alois ran the machine shop facility, and Mrs. Muller, Alois’ wife, was the Treasurer. Isabelle, Walter’s wife, completed the slate of officers. Pneumatic Tool Company’s machine shop developed the reputation as the best machine shop in New York City.
It’s biggest client was General Electric. Another major client was the George A. Fuller Construction Co. Pneumatic Tool Sales had a large part in assisting Fuller in the
refurbishing of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
FIRST ROTARY AIR COMPRESSOR
In addition, ATS, in conjunction with George A. Fuller, began work on one of the first prototypes of what became the rotary air compressor. The rotary compressor became the biggest advance in compressor design in 50 years.
At that time the firm also began representing one of the pioneer air compressor manufacturers in the U.S.A., Schramm, Inc. and proceeded to become one of their major distributors and service centers. The business grew slowly, but steadily and increased its reputation for quality work and service. Today ATS represents Ingersoll-Rand, the country’s leading air compressor manufacturer.
Muller’s share in the firm was purchased by George Nowicki and George Matousek in 1966. Nowicki and Matousek are the husbands of Walter Meyer’s daughters. Walter Meyer died in 1973. Muller continued to work for ATS until his death at 84 in 1987.
Pneumatic Tool sales continued to make major contributions to the pneumatic tool industry. In 1948 the firm designed, built and marketed a small hand-held rock drill. It was called the RHandi-Drill” and was the forerunner of the many small hand-held rock drills manufactured by many tool companies today.
Among the air tools ATS invented was the Boom-Mounted Post Hole Digger: it was the first automatic air tool for the installation of highway guard rails.
In conjunction with the L&J Concrete Co., ATS created the “Stomper”. The company’s engineers used a swiveling gun mount on which was installed an air cylinder and a compressor, a large ram and a stroke-controlling timer. This one unit did the work of 10 men breaking concrete. The concept was further developed into the boom-mounted pavement breakers of today.
For the N.Y. Telephone Co., ATS created a longitudinal pipe cutter that cut without damaging the telephone cables. ATS also developed a machine for making telephone wire connections. The device held a magazine of wire connectors and automatically connected two pieces of wire: the machine became the precursor of the Automatic Splicer.
One of the most novel machines developed by Pneumatic Tool Sales in the 1960’s was the Klemat. This was a device mounted on wheels which included a carriage with air cylinders that supported two horizontal rock drills and automatically bored horizontal holes in the side of a roadbed to which an additional concrete lane was to be added. Reinforcing rods were then inserted into the drilled holes to secure the newly poured concrete.
ELECTRONIC MICROSCOPES & CIGARETTE FILTERS
In addition to road construction equipment, Herb Klenck, ATS’ Chief Research Engineer, developed other devices. For Sylvania, ATS created the first prototype for housing the magnets used in electronic microscopes. The firm also made the prototype of a device called the “Perspectograph” which allowed perspective drawings to be done automatically rather than manually. ATS patented the brass skeleton for a cigarette holder, into which honeycomb filter paper was inserted, resulting in the first filtered cigarette holder.
In conjunction with the research and development department of Brooklyn Union Gas Co., ATS made prototypes for a device for sealing plastic pipe at the job site; for a machine to cut underground steel pipe from the inside; for devices to make gas meters theft-proof; for a machine to seal mains and joints underground so as not to have to dig up streets; and for an air compressor mercury-activated alarm system.
The company was involved with Con Edison in creating noise abatement equipment, special mufflers for pavement breakers and noise testing facilities.
Pneumatic Tool Sales pioneered the experimental work and built the machinery for high temperature carbide brazing of scaler pistons, by fusing copper into the electromolecular structure of the piston’s base metal.
“THE AIR PEN”
Its greatest contribution was the introduction of the “Air Pen”. This tool was the first air operated etching tool in the industry and is a patented device. Along with the needle scaler, it is one of the two most significant new products in the modern air tool industry.
The company also created the “Erector Set Compressor” which allowed large air compressors, required in maintenance and renovation of high-rise buildings to be dismantled easily into components that fit into elevators, and then quickly reassembled at the building level.
LABORATORY & TESTING CENTER
Under the leadership of Nowicki and Matousek, the firm moved to College Point, N.Y. They developed its customer base of utility companies, and increased its research and testing facilities. Pneumatic Tool Sales also strengthened its relationship with the City and State of New York, becoming a close advisor, bidder and supplier to more than a dozen different municipal or state departments and authorities.
In 1989, Nowicki and Matousek sold their interest in Pneumatic Tool Sales to Roger H. Lourie and Lloyd W. Milne, two businessmen with wide manufacturing experience. These individuals, working closely with Matousek and Nowicki, are continuing Pneumatic Tool’s concentration in servicing construction, utilities and marine trades. They have expanded the firm’s laboratory and testing facilities and are overseeing the company’s continued association with Ingersoll-Rand, Chicago Pneumatic, Thor, Cleco-Dresser and other such major firms in the industry.
In addition, they have begun a major effort at selling highly specialized “Pneumatic Power Pumps” to the shipping, construction and refinery industries.