Greenlee Bros./Greenlee Tool Co.
Chicago and Rockford, Illinois

Tool Types

Carpentry Tools

Directory of American Toolmakers Information

This company was founded by the Greenlee twins, Robert Lemuel and Ralph Stebbins, who were born in PA and moved to Chicago in 1859 to work for the Machine Roller Co. In 1876 they perfected a "hollow chisel" and in 1881 a power ripsaw. "& Co." was added to their name in 1890 and 1904 saw a move to Rockford. They dealt primarily in power tools, not offering hand tools until 1910. They acquired the Reliance Edge Tool Works of Youngston OH in 1910, the Rockford Bit Co. of Kokomo, IN in 1916 and the Jackson Mfg. Co. of Jackson, OH in 1918.

Identifying Marks


General Information
Products of note include the Greenlee Hollow Chisel Mortiser, a combination four-sided chisel and rotating bit that allowed square holes to be made in wood; a Greenlee Tie Machining Car, a mobile railroad tie milling machine which gained import in the post-civil war western expansion; and a Self-feed Power Ripsaw, a wildly popular power saw that proved both safer and more effective than existing equivalents. After 1910 they became one of America’s most prolific manufacturer of edge and other small hand tools.



Nelson, Robert E., Ed. (1999). Directory of American Toolmakers: A listing of identified makers of tools who worked in Canada and the United States before 1900. Early American Industries Association.

Greenlee Bros. & Co. (1940). Greenlee Mortising and Boring Tools. Greenlee Bros. & Co., Rockford, IL.

Links -- The modern day Greenlee's site (now Greenlee & Textron), including company history – OWWM entry on Greenlee Bros. -- OWWM entry on Greenlee Bros.