Company History

Proud of the Past, Prepared for the Future

In 1954, Abbott Engineering and Manufacturing Co. began producing soft jaws and specialized tooling on a subcontract basis in Phoenix, AZ. The business initially consisted of one employee operating out of a rented Quonset hut, but quickly matured into a dynamic, profitable corporation.

In 1955, Abbott built the nation’s first Pie Jaw® brand chuck jaw. This new type of jaw eliminated the problems inherent in rectangular jaws. Drawing on their experience and expertise, Abbott began testing their concept thoroughly. The prototype set consisted of three aluminum circular segmented jaws that were machined out of an aluminum billet. Shortly after that, the first order was placed for the new, innovative product.

Spurred on by cost-cutting techniques, an expanding product line and rapidly increasing acceptance of its Pie Jaw® innovation, Abbott emerged into national prominence in the early 1960s. By 1968 the company name had changed to Abbott Aluminum Chuck Jaws, a division of How-Mil Enterprises, Inc. With the advent of CNC machines, the product line was further expanded to include tooling columns, tooling blocks, master plates and segments, angle plates and parallels.

In early 1990, Carl Reed joined Abbott Aluminum Chuck Jaws as President and Chief Executive Officer. Since then, many changes have taken place within Abbott, resulting in dramatic improvements in the quality, availability and affordability of an expanded line of products. However, the biggest change occurred in August 1993.

After 40 years of operating a business in Phoenix, Arizona, Abbott Aluminum elected to move its entire operation to Manhattan, Kansas. In concert with the relocation, Abbott further expanded its line of Workholding products to include an extensive inventory of steel and aluminum straight jaws, cast iron and steel Pie Jaws® and a very comprehensive inventory of aluminum tooling columns, sub-plates and associated fixturing.

As a direct result of the increased manufacturing capabilities, Abbott changed its name to Abbott Workholding Products, which more accurately described the numerous products being manufactured in the 37,000 square foot Kansas facility.

Abbott is the originator of and industry leader in aluminum chuck jaws and other lightweight products. We use certified (99.8%) pure aluminum in our hammers to avoid material contaminations when utilized on exotic high-temperature metals. Abbott Pie Jaw® brand chuck jaws are made of 319 cast aluminum. All other CNC tooling products (angle plates, parallels and tooling columns, etc) are made of A713 (Tenzaloy TM) aged to T-6 condition.

As significant as any other single technological advancement in precision toolmaking, our revolutionary Pie Jaw® brand chuck jaws technology has benefited manufacturers in a host of industries by enabling them to drastically increase their productivity, quality and profits while reducing production costs. Pie Jaws® can be used in place of rectangular jaws in more than 75% of all machine tool applications. In most cases, manufacturers quickly realize the many inherent benefits they offer.

  1. Concentricities and close tolerances are easily and consistently maintained. Production quality standards are significantly improved.
  2. Gripping and holding of material is positive and effective without distorting thin-walled materials.
  3. Machine and tool life are drastically extended due to more effective application of coolants.
  4. Substantially lighter-weight jaws enhance operation utilization and shop efficiency.

Today, Abbott manufactures more than 4,000 aluminum, steel and cast iron straight and Pie Jaw® brand chuck jaws, as well as master plates, segments, tooling columns, sub-plates, and a variety of accessories. The significant weight and cost advantages of aluminum tooling columns and fixtures have necessitated the emergence of the product line for Abbott with over 120 different sizes and configurations currently in production. Skilled technicians allow Abbott to service requests for special orders that require precise customer specifications. Currently, Abbott’s products are achieving greater industry acceptance than ever before. We have established customers all across North America as well as internationally. With more than $4 million in inventory, Abbott can provide fast, reliable, overnight delivery to most U.S. and international cities.

It is the dawn of a new era at Abbott Workholding Products. We are extremely proud of our past accomplishments and industry heritage. We will continue to provide the guaranteed quality products and personalized service that have helped us earn our enviable reputation as the industry leader for over 50 years.

Although we view our yesterdays as stepping stones to tomorrow, Abbott is preparing for the future today by adding technologically advanced equipment and expanding our production facilities. What’s more, we intend to create new products and opportunities that capitalize on our extensive Workholding experience, expertise and manufacturing capabilities.

However, while achieving our new milestones, one thing will never change – Abbott’s unwavering commitment to develop more effective ways to increase your productivity and profitability.