Grindley Mfg. was founded on July 8,1943 when Bob Grindley went into the tool & cutter and form tool grinding business. He developed his skill in tool and cutter grinding in the Warren School of Aeronautics. The teacher of the school had him coming in on Saturdays to do a little grinding work on the side. After he left the school he went to work for North American Aviation as a tool and cutter grinder. That is when Bob realized that he could make a business with his skills. There was only one problem however, World War II. There were no machines available to buy. You had to be an established business and also had to have priority to pull resources from the war effort. So, beginning a long tradition of overcoming obstacles, Bob designed and built his own tool and cutter grinder. On July 8, 1943 Bob started his business in his garage with “Betsy”, the machine he built.
In February of 1944, Bob was invited to join the U.S. Armed Forces. In 1946 after being honorably discharged from the Army he resumed his business in a friends garage. There was still cutter grinding work but he expanded by taking cylindrical grinding also. In the same year he purchased a Heim centerless grinder for $500 out of a junkyard. When he came back from the war he found that most of his pre-war customers were closing shop or had already gone out of business. He had only one pre-war customer. Now Bob had to do both sales and production and this was proving detrimental to the success of the business. In 1947, Bob found that there was a shortage of contract centerless shops in the LA area, so he purchased a Cincinnati centerless grinder. (Both the Heim and Cincinnati grinders are still producing parts.) He also hired production help.
In the late 1940’s he lost some parts due to a grinding error. Bob remade them for the customer on his Sears Atlas lathe. The customer was pleased with Bob’s remade parts. Those parts were troublesome for Bob’s customer so he offered to introduce Bob to his customer. This led to his first complete part contract. The customer was Hydro Aire. This changed the shop from a grinding shop to a complete part shop. He did a lot of business with companies that were making gyro-scopes such as Litton Industries, Librascope and Gianinni, with an emphasis on close tolerance parts such as a belleville washer. Believe it or not, it’s often the small things that make the big differences.
In the Mid-late 60’s we got a contract to build some pistons for an actuating valve. But before we could ship the parts they went out of business leaving us with a large unpaid bill. The piston was part of an assembly for the air force. Instead of junking the parts we made a proposal and received the contract for the whole assembly. With that contract Grindley Mfg. became a prime contractor for the U.S. Air Force.
Doing Aerospace and Military has been a significant part of our work to the present. In the Mid 70’s we started changing our shop from manual and hydraulic machines to CNC machines. Now all of our primary manufacturing equipment is CNC controlled.