Howard Wood Innovates Material Handeling
Wood’s Power-Grip began in 1946 with Howard Wood, who opened a shop in Wolf Point Montana that catered to repairing automotive, electric, and small engine repairs. The tool that launched the company was built in the 1960′s and was dubbed Wood’s Power-Grip Valve Grinder, which was invented to improve upon the holding of small engine valves during the lapping process. Howard Wood had initially built this tool for his friends and acquaintances, but because of its widespread success, the tool caught on and Wood began selling it. It was however a suggestion from a glazier friend to develop his vacuum pump further, in order to handle glass, that catapulted Wood’s original idea into bigger and better innovations and products.
One of a Kind Features on Wood’s Vacuum Cups
As Howard developed his new 4-inch, 6-inch, and 8-inch vacuum cups he made them with a “handmade steel handle”, which came with two very important features. The first ground breaking feature was the red line vacuum indicator. The red line vacuum indicator would alert the vacuum cup user if the vacuum was losing suction, while still allowing him to restore the lost vacuum without breaking the vacuum cups grip. Now these two features which were originally pioneered by Wood’s Powr-Grip have become trademarks of Power-Grip vacuum cups.
In 1963 Howard Wood began manufacturing the vacuum cups, which he would later receive a patent for in 1966. In the beginning, traveling salesmen sold his vacuum cups to glass shops and as demand grew his Power-Grips were picked up and sold in catalogs both nationally and internationally. Later Howard developed battery operated below-the-hook vacuum lifters, which could handle loads weighing over 600 pounds. This below-the-hook vacuum lifter was the first of many models, leading to many new variations over the years such as manual, AC, DC, and air powered vacuum lifters.
Howard Wood passed away in 1983, passing on a storied legacy told through his unique inventions. In 1990, Wood’s Power -Grip left Wolf Point behind for a bigger production space in Laurel Montana. Today they are one of the standard tool manufacturers in the glass industry, as they continue to grow and expand their product line.