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.
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
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
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