The Delta Legacy: Tracing the Origins of Delta Machinery

Delta Machinery, a renowned name in the world of woodworking and power tools, has a rich history dating
back to the early 20th century. The journey of Delta traces its roots to a small metalworking shop in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where a vision for innovation and quality craftsmanship began to take shape.


Founding Years:

In 1919, the foundation for Delta was laid when Herbert Tautz, a German immigrant and entrepreneur,
established a small machine shop named Delta Specialty Company. Initially focusing on small, niche projects,
Delta quickly gained a reputation for producing high-quality tools and machinery. Tautz’s commitment to
precision and durability set the stage for Delta’s future success.


Innovation and Growth:

Delta’s first breakthrough came in 1923 when Tautz introduced the first-ever scroll saw with an adjustable
table. This innovation marked the beginning of Delta’s commitment to producing tools that not only met but
exceeded industry standards. The company’s dedication to research and development propelled it forward,
leading to the introduction of several groundbreaking products.
The Unisaw, introduced in 1939, is a testament to Delta’s commitment to innovation. This table saw became
an industry standard and solidified Delta’s reputation as a pioneer in woodworking machinery. The Unisaw’s
unique design and precision features set it apart from competitors, making it a favorite among woodworkers.


From the early 1920s, Delta Specialty Co.’s “American Boy” scroll saw. Photo: David Sampar

Relocation and Expansion:

As demand for Delta’s products continued to grow, the company outgrew its original Milwaukee location. In
1945, Delta moved its headquarters to Jackson, Tennessee, where it expanded its manufacturing capabilities
and diversified its product line. The post-war period saw increased interest in woodworking as a hobby, and
Delta capitalized on this trend by offering a wide range of tools for both professionals and enthusiasts.
Delta’s commitment to quality and innovation remained unwavering, and the company continued to introduce
groundbreaking products. The 1950s saw the launch of the Rockwell/Delta line, further solidifying Delta’s
position as an industry leader.


Keith Bohn’s 1939 Unisaw, S/N A-100—the earliest Unisaw known

Acquisitions and Challenges:

Over the years, Delta Machinery underwent several ownership changes and acquisitions. In 2005, it became
part of the Stanley Black & Decker, and in 2011 it was then aquried by Chang Type Industial CO. These
transitions brought challenges, but the legacy of Delta’s commitment to excellence still persists today!


Legacy and Impact:

Delta’s impact on the woodworking industry is immeasurable. Woodworkers, carpenters, and DIY enthusiasts
worldwide have come to trust and rely on Delta tools for their precision, durability, and innovation. The brand’s
commitment to quality craftsmanship and customer satisfaction has created a lasting legacy that continues to
thrive in the 21st century.

The Deltagram, 1945-46
Volume 15, No. 5

Conclusion:

Delta Machinery’s journey from a small metalworking shop in Milwaukee to a global powerhouse in the
woodworking industry is a testament to the brand’s enduring commitment to innovation and quality. As the
legacy of Delta continues with each new generation of tools, it’s clear that the vision set forth by Herbert
Tautz nearly a century ago continues to shape the future of woodworking and power tools.

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