5 Spindles of Fury

By Lloyd Graff

New Year, new opportunities. I foresee a flurry of activity in 2018 in acquisitions in the machining world. Recently one of the largest screw machine operations in the country changed hands. KKSP Precision Machining based in the Chicago suburbs was sold by its owner, CapitalWorks of Cleveland, to Mill Point Capital of New York.

CapitalWorks bought KKSP in 2012 with management participation. They successfully integrated the Monterrey, Mexico, plant which has around 25 Davenport screw machines with the Chicago and Wisconsin plants. The Wisconsin plant is in Pheasant Prairie, just across the border from Illinois. KKSP also has a plant in East China, Michigan.

Graff-Pinkert sold K&K Screw Products, KKSP’s predecessor business, some of its first Davenports in the late 1960s. Today, the company has over 200 of the little dynamos producing 280 million parts a year.

Davenport Screw Machine

The Davenport machine is close to my heart. My father had a Davenport shop during and after World War II. Earl Brinkman, who had apprenticed to Mr. Davenport, the inventor of the original 5-spindle automatic, took a liking to my dad and helped him acquire the machines and get them running in 1942. Brinkman made a personal appearance at the inauguration of our new Oak Forest machinery warehouse in 1984.

Some people believe that the 3500-pound 5-spindle Davenport automatic won World War II for the Allies. The rigid Germans, despite their renowned engineering prowess, only ran 4-spindle multis during the War. Americans, running shells on the little Davenports with an index time of one second, slaughtered the Nazis in efficiency.

The basic brilliant design of Mr. Davenport and the improvements of Earl Brinkman are still very much alive, just ask the folks at KKSP.


I did not vote for Donald Trump because his impulsiveness scared the heck out of me, but after 14 months in office he has been remarkably successful. Yes, his behavior is unconventional, even erratic and scary, but the results are certainly positive in many ways.

From a business standpoint, many people in the machining arena changed their view of the world almost immediately after the election. It was a signal that the extremely corrosive attitude of the Obama administration toward business, especially represented in its oppressive regulation, was over for now. This has proved to be true. The EPA bureaucracy has really eased up. There is still enforcement, but the attitude has shifted from “gottcha” to “you need to improve this.” Citations are much less frequent.

Equally important is the phenomenal rise of the stock market in 2017. Virtually all asset classes gained in value last year. Unemployment dropped to 4%. Oil production grew to a rate of 10 million barrels a day, the highest in 47 years. The tax bill of 2017 is a major positive for American manufacturing just with its depreciation rules. The pass-throughs for LLC firms are an improvement, though more of a break would have been nice.

I still think Trump is scary, but what a remarkably successful or lucky first year he has had.


Today’s Machining World is moving into an exciting new arena, Podcasts. Noah and I will soon be interviewing some really fascinating people in the machining realm and disseminating the audio on Podcast smartphone apps. In recent months I have really gotten hooked on this radio show format. I think it will work well for us, and I am really stoked about trying something new. There is a flavor and feel that comes through on an audio interview that you just cannot capture in print.

Don’t worry, the blog will continue; but I think the Podcast will be a terrific addition.

Question: Has President Trump been successful in 2018?

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13 thoughts on “5 Spindles of Fury

  1. frank

    I would say that President Trump had a very tumultuous but successful first year in office, I think he did more positive things for the economy than his predecessors. Foreign policy a little scary but probably time for a different approach then previous administration.

  2. Bob Ducanis

    Do you remember your tongue-in-cheek Swarf interview with the 9/16″ RA-6 Acme Ser.#22414? I remember the machine replying to your question, “What do you do?”. The machine replied that it made bullet cores 24 hours a day / 7 days a week during WWII. I think the 9/16″ Acme would give the Davenports a run for their money in WWII production figures.

    It was a funny and enlightening interview with a weathered screw machine. I guess there could be worse things & people to interview than an old & wise screw machine.

  3. Dick Crosby

    Amen! to your article. Thank God we’ve finally got somebody; though very unconventional;
    that can and will shake up the Washington swamp. I’m referring to to the whole Trump team. However, it’s a long way from complete as far as the wife and I are concerned.
    The deregulation programs, and getting off the corporations backs, are the biggest pluses
    as far as we’re concerned. The net effects must, and certainly will trickle down to the citizenry. But the deficit sure scares me/us. It’s bound to get worse before it gets better. Lots of praying to do!

  4. Sara

    Trump is wonderfully successful in a year. Amazing with all the fake news attempts to destroy him and his family even
    his young son. He like most successful businesses and business owners takes Chances. We do give large
    sums of money we borrow from China and backing to countries that burn our flag and never come to the table to talk solutions. Our corporate tax rate forced businesses to move offshore and hire workers in their countries. They are coming back every day since tax rate was lowered. The methods are different, but the good old boy swamp is draining slowly. Did you enjoy the last 8 years progress which by the way doubled the debt since the forming the country? I give Trump credit for talking about the elephant in the room instead of a special committee that is supposed to finish in two years and takes four and most forgot the question. Media has cried Wolf too often and our citizens are catching on to Fake news. The party is over. Do you think crooked Hillary would be doing a better job? It reminds me of the Politicans in Chicago that have been taking in huge sums of money for schools and “the poor” for 60 or 70 years. The poor are poorer and the schools are some of the worst in the nation. What is the definition of doing the same things over and over??
    The USA needs a strong leader that gets things done and cares for our citizens.

  5. Dave Bradley

    Yep the regulations are lightening up. EPA and OSHA are letting up. But that doesn’t fix the $10,000 poison arrow from OSHA that took out my 10 man shop when times were at their worst. This isn’t Trump’s fault. But things need to be corrected as to not allow some OSHA inspector to pass out $10,000 fines like they were $35 traffic tickets. No problem, we just closed the doors on your business. He was soooooo proud.

  6. Grimstod

    Trump is only scary because he is honest and does not sugar coat things with lies like other politicians. It is about time we had a president who was one of the people. Yes he has been very successful and I will vote for him again despite the lies of the mainstream news media.

  7. Joe

    People are blind and have lost their moral compass. I could go on and on about trumps failures but I know the ear plugs are in. Just read the recent NY Times transcript of the trump interview and if you still think he is fit for office then I feel sorry for you and your children’s children. Wake up people!

    1. Doug

      I agree with one thing you said, we have lost our moral compass. The fact that an absolute criminal reprobate like Hillary Clinton would even an outside shot at being president is proof of that.
      There are no perfect people, but at least we now have an executive loves our country and wants to make it better for everyone, rather than the hatred and disdain directed at us by the former.

  8. Joe

    It dosent matter what newspaper interviewed him. He answered the questions like an inbecile. Did you read it?

    (There are no perfect people, but at least we now have an executive loves our country and wants to make it better for everyone, rather than the hatred and disdain directed at us by the former.) Loves our country, everyone, us!!!

    If you think trump loves this country then you need to find your moral compass. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

    1. Doug

      I’ve seen no indication that he doesn’t love this country, (America first, M.A.G.A., telling the anti-US United nations to kiss off, etc.), perhaps you could substantiate that a bit.


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