History of the Athol Machine Company.

Athol Machine Company (1868 – ?)

Laroy Starrett, one of America’s tool pioneers and inventor of the combination square was the founder, along with other associates, of the Athol Machine Company in 1868. During the time with the company Starrett developed a line of vises a meat chopper and other mechanics tools. He left the company due to patent disputes in 1875. Subsequently, Laroy sued the Athol Manufacturing Co. and won, this left him with enough capital to buy the company in 1905. Records from the Secretary of the Commonwealth Massachusetts Division of Corporations prove that Athol Machine Co. changed its name to Athol Machine and Foundry in December 1920. Therefore Athol vises bearing the name “Athol Machine Co” are pre 1921 and those bearing the name “Athol M&FCo” are post 1920. The Starret company is still in operattion and basically any Athol vise manufactured after 1905 is a Starrett vise whether it bears the Starrett brand or not. Even though Athol vises are no longer manufactured there is no record of the company’s closing. Athol Machine Company’s main building still stands and can be observed in Google Maps Satellite View, please see pictures below.


Chronological Facts:

1868 – Company founded by Laroy Starrett and associates
1875 – Larroy Starrett leaves the company over patent diputes
1905 – Laroy Starret buys the company
1913 – The clutch handle vise was introduced
1920 – The Athol Machine Co. name was changed to The Athol Machine & Foundry Co.
1921 – The Company announces its new line of vises
1921 – Facilities are modernized and Production increases from 60-70 to 250 vises per day.
1921 – Company starts producing vises with welded jaws
1922 – Laroy Starrett dies.
1922 – U-Beam bench vise is introduced
1922 – Milling Machine Vise is introduced

Original Address:

82 South St, Athol, MA 01331

Athol Machine Company Building

As of 2016 only the two main structures of the original building still remain:

Athol Machine Company Building

Building can be observed in the following aerial view.


State Library of Massachusetts 
The Starrett Story – From the Starrett Company
Yearly Index of Forging and Heat Treating – 1922 – Google Books
American Machinist – 1922 – Google Books
The Iron Age – 1921 – Google Books
State of Massachusetts Corporate Search


No comments yet.

Write a comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.