Founded in 1906, South Bend began as a manufacturer of metalworking lathes, supporting all types of industries like the Armed Forces, scientific labs, university shop classes, naval ships, industrial production and small shops. By 1930 South Bend produced almost 50% of all engine lathes in the United States and went on to serve 88 countries. Under the new ownership of Shiraz Balolia, South Bend has surged to its former glory days and expanded its selection to include high-end milling machines, surface grinders, metal bandsaws, and metalworking accessories. We have a long history of quality and success.
South Bend Lathe Works employees pose for a group photo during the early days of the company.
For over 100 years, our customers have been using South Bend machines to do great things.
Our list of early customers reads like a who’s who of industry leaders and entrepreneurs. Auto companies and airplane manufacturers like Ford, Chevrolet, Lockheed (then Lougheed), and Boeing used South Bend Lathes to develop parts and components for both the vehicles and the machines that helped to manufacture them.
American Airlines is one of many transportation companies that used South Bend Lathes in the 1930s. These photos show AA mechanics at work and their completely equipped shop featuring South Bend Lathes.
Thomas Edison, holder of over 1,000 patents, had one in his industrial laboratory – the world’s first such laboratory.
South Bend machines were used to help build the railways and the hydraulic dams that powered the new factories of the industrial revolution.
Left – A University of Notre Dame shop that was fully outfitted with 26 South Bend Lathes.
Right – A 9 inch South Bend Lathe in the MIT Physics Department's mechanical lab, circa 1935.
During war-time, South Bend machines were commonly found on battleships and ships carrying troops and cargo across the ocean. They were strapped to the back of army trucks and used on the battlefield as mobile repair units to rebuild tanks and other equipment during the great World Wars.
During the space race of the 1950's and 60's, South Bend machines helped to build the first American manned rockets and put Americans on the moon – NASA and a great many of its suppliers used them. Military aircraft were manufactured on South Bend equipment, as were parts for computers, servers, satellites, and more. NASA currently has at least one modern South Bend lathe in their equipment arsenal.
The "old" from 1926, and the "new" from 2020.
In the modern era South Bend machines can be found in almost every kind of industrial R&D laboratory, where they assist customers in the development of everything from the next generation of motorsports to the robots that move inventory in automated warehouses. Wherever people are working to create, manufacture, or repair with high precision, you'll find South Bend.
Numerous South Bend lathes and milling machines in a robotics lab.
Just over a decade ago, South Bend came under the ownership of American entrepreneur Shiraz Balolia, founder of a modern empire of equipment suppliers including Grizzly Industrial, Woodstock International (ShopFox), Steelex, and other companies that supply machine shops and cabinet shops around the country with dependable machinery. Using over 40 years of industry experience (Mr. Balolia has a full machine shop in his home), South Bend has now added very high-end woodworking equipment created to meet the needs of the most demanding users whose main requirement is high-class, dependable machinery.
Large inventory of machines in stock for same day shipping.
Ownership and principle business offices for South Bend Tools are located in Bellingham, WA with a national parts warehouse located in Springfield, MO.