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© 2019 by Obsidian Manufacturing Industries, Inc.

Our History

William Arter was born in 1879 in Lancashire, England.  He grew up to become a mechanical and electrical engineer that immigrated to the United States in February 1908.  Upon his arrival in the country, he worked for several companies including Westinghouse Company, Long Island Railroad, and Heald Machine Company.   In 1914 he designed a rotary surface grinder, perfected it, and put it on the market in 1915.  Its success was instantaneous.  Mr. Arter and his family went on to build a very profitable company that has played an important part in our country's industrialized history. 

1914 - William Arter organized the Persons-Arter Machine Company

1924 - The name was changed to the Arter Grinding Machine Company.  The goodwill and patents of the Warren F. Fraser Company Co., of Westborough, MA were acquired at this time.  Several of the special model grinders that Arter made were based off of the Fraser models.

1958 - In March 1958, Sundstrand Machine Tool in Belvidere, IL announces the purchase of the Arter Grinding Machine Company and begins integrating it into the capital goods division of Sundstrand.  Under Sundstrand’s ownership, the name of the grinders manufactured were gradually changed from Sundstrand-Arter Grinders to Sundstrand Grinders.

2002 - Tri-CAM, Inc. in Rockford, IL purchases all products lines from Centro-Metalcut, Inc. including the Arter Grinding Machines.  The product line’s name was changed to Arter Precision Grinding Machines during Tri-CAM, Inc. ownership. 

1918 - The company was commonly referred to as the Arter Machine Company

1955 – Approximate time when Arter Grinding Machine Company acquired the rights from The Grenby Manufacturing Co. to manufacturing the Models EG-103 and IG-103 cylindrical grinding machines.

1980 – Two Centro-Metalcut, Inc. employees, Don Blachford and Frank Gyorkos, had a vision for Arter grinders when they heard that Sundstrand wanted to sell the product line.  In May 1980, with the help of Blachford and Gyorkos, Centro-Metalcut, Inc. (CMI) in Rockford, IL completed the purchase of the product line and assets from White-Sundstrand Machine Tool Company.  Under CMI’s ownership, the Arter name returned and each grinder manufactured by Centro-Metalcut, Inc. bore the company’s name as well.      

2007 - Quantum Design, Inc. purchases the Arter product line from Tri-CAM, Inc.

2018 - The product line is purchased by Obsidian Manufacturing Industries, Inc. including all assets.  David Nordman, Vice-President of Obsidian Manufacturing Industries, Inc., worked with the product line from 1984 to 2007 when he was employed by CMI and Tri-CAM, Inc.

Proudly Made in the USA

Arter Grinders, made in the USA, proudly serves the United States Military

William Arter started his company during some very turbulent years in United States history.  His first Arter Grinder was sold during World War I and also when the automobile industry was just beginning to take off in the United States.  From 1918 to 1935, a period of 17 years, company records indicate that 887 new Arter grinders were built, not including rebuilds, or 52 machines per year or an average of one per week. 

Arter Grinders were not just rotary surface grinders.  Although all Arter special grinding machines were obsoleted prior to the mid-1950’s, there were several models developed for specialized use.  They include automatic piston ring grinders, automatic head grinder, and an automatic cylindrical grinder.  Many of these specialized grinders aimed at serving the rapidly developing automotive industry.

World War II brought the war production board that instructed Arter to concentrate their production on the machine which was the best engineered, easiest to manufacture and could be built in quantity the fastest and cheapest.  Arter decided that machine would be their Model A-3 in 12” and 16” sizes.  As a result, they received orders for hundreds of these machines during WWII.  The used machinery market was, at one time, flooded with the Arter Model A-3 grinder with many people seeking spare parts and repairs for their machine even though they have not been manufactured after 1948.   It has been stated in historical company documents that World War II was responsible for holding back the Arter Company in fully developing their hydraulic powered machines as they chose to produce their most efficient and cost-effective model grinder to help with our country’s war effort.

During the 1980s and 1990s, our country’s Department of Defense once again called upon Arter Grinding Machines for their precision grinding capabilities.  Orders were placed in large quantities for Model H grinders during this time.  Centro-Metalcut, Inc. also manufactured many Model D and Model E’s as well as Model EG/IG-103.

Arter Grinding Machine Co. awarded Army-Navy "E" Award Twice in World War II.

For skill, industry and devotion on the production front of the greatest war in history, the Arter Grinding Machine Company was awarded the Army-Navy "E" Award by achieving "Excellence in Production" ("E") of war equipment.