Posted 6 years ago
This is as much as I know about it:
In 1918, Fred Wappat established Wappat Gear Works, marketing his line of precision-cut gears to makers of machinery and automobiles. Besides gears, he made washing machines, and then in 1927 he introduced the Alta line of "power handsaws", a very early line of handheld circular saws. They were big saws, with 8" to 10" blades and with a then-innovative automatically-retracting blade guard. The saws were powerful and rugged but light for their size. The early models were intended for stone and concrete, and were popular for cutting roadways for resurfacing. They were used during a renovation of the Washington monument. Later models were woodworking tools aimed at carpenters. Added to the product line were door-lock mortisers and power planers.
In 1928 the company announced that they were focusing solely on their line of circular saws. (At that time the business was located on Meade Street at Braddock Avenue.) The following year Wappat Gear Works was acquired by the large and well-known maker of un-powered handsaws, Simonds Saw & Steel Co.; they continued to operate as Wappat, Inc. within the Simonds Saw and Steel Division. The "Alta" name had been dropped by then.