Part I
The Allen Gauge & Tool Company, presently located in the Homewood Section of Pittsburgh, PA was founded in 1914 by the late Charles H. Allen. Mr. Allen was born in 1870 and lived during the era of rapidly expanding mechanical and electrical developments in the United States. He perfected his mechanical skills under the tutelage of his father, a Civil War Veteran who ran a model making business in Dansville, New York. Indeed, much of the early work of Allen Gauge & Tool Company was in the field of model making and development work for investors who needed their ideas translated to mechanical engineering and model works, which reflected this specialty. Located in downtown Pittsburgh until 1938, General Engineering and Model Works was to become further known as a quality "job shop", a machine shop that could handle miscellaneous metal working jobs from simple milling and turning to complex precision die work. Job work was done for many of the large Pittsburgh companies, but model and development work continued for the inventors who had ideas to pursue. One of these was Mr. Bill Fried, a partner in the Fried & Reineman Meat Packing Company, who needed a labor saving device to mechanically link sausage. Another was Dr. C.E. Ziegler, a well known obstetrician, who had the company develop special Funis clamps and forceps, which were to become standard equipment in area hospitals for many years. In another field, Mr. Allen's skill as a precision craftsman attracted inspectors from the local pipe mills who needed accurate gauges designed and developed to measure their tubular products. This was in the 1930s, when the American Petroleum Institute began standardization of the drill pipe, casing, and other products used in oil wells. Eventually, precision gauges and tooling became the primary business, and in 1938 the company name was changed to
Allen Gauge & Tool Co
.

By the mid 1930's the cramped quarters in downtown Pittsburgh had become inadequate. Consequently, a building was purchased at Braddock Avenue and Finance Street in the East End. Additional equipment was added, including precision thread grinders, and by the time world war II had begun, Allen Gauge & Tool Co. had become a major producer of close tolerance gauges and equipment desperately needed by the Armed Forces. The Company was on a 24 hour working day during the war years, and many of the employees were exempt from military service because of their skills that were needed to produce critical war material.

There was no chance to develop peacetime products while on a 100 percent war work, and in 1945 when all defense contracts were canceled, a critical period developed for the Company. Although there was a small demand for pipe gauges, tool and die work was scarce, and unless a standard product could be developed and successfully marketed, there would be a real danger of collapse. A decision was made to pursue the sausage linking machine which had been developed in the late 1920s. There had been very little need for this labor-saving device during the depression years when an abundance of cheap labor was available. Conditions had changed then and it was believed that the machine had been perfected to the point that it could be sold to the sausage industry.