Atlas Machine & Supply, Inc. (Louisville, Ky.) Records, 1900-1999

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator:  Atlas Machine & Supply, Inc. (Louisville, Ky.)

Title:  Records, 1900-1999

Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Special Collections.

Size of Collection:  2.0 cu.ft., plus 8 volumes, 1 oversized folder

Location Number:  Mss. BB A881

Scope and Content Note

Collection consists of the business records of Atlas Machine and Supply, Inc., a heavy-capacity industrial machinery remanufacturing business founded in Louisville, Kentucky in 1907.

Business records include Gimmel stock certificates, 1920s shop inventories, accounting ledgers, account statements, shop statements, early audit reports, elevator inventory lists and elevator photo and print book, 1939 company appreciation letters, 1933 employee time tickets, 1930s and 1940s advertising postcards for Atlas services, Construction Digest images with correspondence, and proofs, Atlas Machine and Supply advertising pamphlets, newspaper and magazine articles featuring Atlas, employee handbooks, Whayne Supply sales receipts and lists, scrapbook, mortgage contract and receipts of payment to Mary Belle Chick, and staff memos.

Folders 1-12 consist of advertising records concerning the Atlas Company.  Materials include a chronology of Atlas Company compiled from Louisville City Directories, advertising material, a brochure and photographs created by Construction Digest showing the Atlas exterior, Construction Digest proofs and ads, publications with articles concerning Atlas, brochure materials including photographic negatives, advertising pamphlets, a typed document entitled The History of Atlas Machine & Supply, Inc., a printed booklet entitled From Family Business to Community Stewardship, A History of Atlas Machine and Supply Co., a groundbreaking ceremony program, a chart showing drill sizes for taps, and copies of the Atlas Machine logo.

Folders 13-21 consist of financial records concerning the Atlas Company. Materials include photocopies of articles of incorporation, mortgage contract and receipts, amendments to articles of incorporation and bank deposit receipts, lease documents, agreements, receipts, and sales contracts with distributors, an agreement with Timken Roller Bearing, notices from the treasury department, tax documents, receipts and bank notes, bills of sale of motor vehicles, shop statements, compiled financial statements, and material requisition form and sales receipt for shop equipment.

Folders 33-34 consist of stock certificates, some of which were issued to members of the Gimmel family.  The Gimmel family owned Atlas for much of its existence.

Folders 35-40 consist of records related to employees of the Atlas Company.  Materials include the 1928 resignation letter to of H.C. Haas, Jr. who was Secretary-Treasurer and Director at the time, time tickets for three employees, a Gibbs Machine Company Employee Handbook, an employment agreement for Richard Gimmel, a wage and fringe benefit survey of other companies prepared by the National Tooling & Machining Association and two employee handbooks.

Folders 41-48 consist of correspondence concerning the Atlas Company.  Materials include correspondence regarding a right of way in constructing a new building, correspondence with Mason Paint, internal meeting notes and staff memos, First National Bank correspondence and receipts, correspondence regarding construction of the W. Jefferson Street building, correspondence with Group Nine Marketing in regards to a trade show exhibit and expected costs, company appreciation letters to clients, and marketing correspondence.

Folders 49-52 consist of parts lists and prices (1948-1993) for various services and products of Atlas Company.

Folder 53 consists of certificates (1960-1985, undated) awarded to Atlas Company.  Records include a resale certificate, two Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Member certificates, a certificate for completion of air dryers training, and a certificate awarded by the City of Louisville and the Urban Renewal Agency.

Folder 54 consists of pages removed from a scrapbook.  These papers do not appear to have been removed from volume 72 (Scrapbook, 1927-1933), and are likely from a scrapbook which was not transferred to The Filson.  The pages primarily consist of advertising material such as mailing cards and circular type letters sent to auto machinists and repair facilities.

Folder 55 contains news clippings (1954-2003, undated) concerning Atlas Company.  News clippings primarily concern significant events in the company’s existence, such as breaking sales records or the expansion of a new facility.  Included is an undated letter to the editor written by Robert N. Gimmel.

Volume 56 is an Atlas Machine Company Elevators catalog (circa 1910).  The catalog contains grayscale images of various elevators, motors, and platforms, along with text describing the item for sale.

Volume 57 is a book entitled Successful Patents (1913) published by Richard B. Owen.

Volume 58 consists of shop records (1925) documenting work performed, days of vacation taken by various employees, and which driver was assigned which delivery route.

Volumes 59-64 consist of inventories for Atlas Auto Parts and Grinding Company (1925, 1926, 1934, 1935).  Volumes 59-61 lists a general parts category, parts numbers for that category, quantities of that part held, and prices for that part for the year 1925, 1926 and 1934.  Volumes 62-64 consist of the same information for the year 1935.

Volume 65 consists of a ledger containing information related to repairs to building, new line take on, delivery cars, vacation, route, and printing (circa 1930).

Volume 66 is a ledger book documenting expenses from January 31, 1941 to 1958.

Volume 67 is a general ledger documenting various debits and credits from the 1940s through the 1950s.  Debits and credits are organized by category with categories arranged alphabetically.

Volume 68 consists of a double entry ledger (1969-1978) owned by Charles Cliff Gimmel showing balances at various banks.

Volumes 69-71 consist of account ledgers (1926-1928) which show cash credits and disbursements, along with who the transaction occurred with.

Volume 72 consists of an Atlas Motor Machine Shop  inventory (1925) showing the name of the article, quantity, list price, discount, and net cost for the item.

Volumes 73-74 consist of audits (1925-1926) describing the general financial status of the company for those years.

Volume 75 consists of a scrapbook (1927-1933) primarily containing circular letters and other mailed advertising materials.

Volume 76 is a ledger record of incomes and expenses for the years 1963-1965.

Folder 77 is an oversized folder containing blueprints for various parts and three sheets of building blueprints for the Atlas Machine Shop at 1323 W. Liberty St., Louisville, Kentucky.  The parts blueprints were created between 1911-1979 with the majority undated, and the building blueprints were created in 1965 by B. W. Schulten, 1001 Parkway Dr., Louisville, Kentucky.

The records included an image collection of over 500 photographs, prints, negatives, 35 mm negatives, slides, and 1 tintype of an unidentified boy. The smallest photographs are less than 4 x 5in in size and the larger prints are largely 8 x 10 in. Images consist of Gimmel family portraits, early photographs of Atlas employees at work, machinery, equipment, and professional photographs taken for marketing purposes. These were separated out to The Filson Photograph Collection (012PC2).


Historical Note

Atlas Machine and Supply, Inc. was founded in 1907 as a manufacturer and provider of elevators and elevator services. The company, then known as Atlas Machine Company, was located at 725-729 East Main Street in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. Two years later, Atlas added the manufacture, sale, and repair of automobile parts to the company’s business.  In 1912, company operations were moved from the 700 block of East Main Street to 713-715 West Market Street. After a building fire in 1915, the company re-built and expanded to include auto-related services, installing equipment to grind cylinders and crankshafts, and the manufacture of pistons, pins, bearings, cylinder sleeves, and other engine parts.

From 1915-1925 Atlas’s daily operations were largely managed by superintendent Robert N. Gimmel. By 1921 the repair and rebuilding of automobile motors had become such a dominating aspect of Atlas Machine Company’s business that in November the company changed its name to Atlas Motor Machine Shop. When Atlas’s president, Walter Chick, died three years later, his widow Mary Belle Hoskins Chick took measures for Robert N. Gimmel to purchase the company. Mary Belle offered to sell the firm to Gimmel for $10,000, and on October 10, Gimmel joined with his brother, Fred R. Gimmel, and Hubert C. Haas, Jr. to purchase Atlas and incorporate it as Atlas Auto Parts & Grinding Company. In 1946 Atlas moved to a new location at 1328 West Jefferson Street.

It was in the 1930s that Atlas became a family business. In 1932, Gimmel’s eldest son, Robert S. Gimmel, joined as a company salesman. Two years later his younger son, Richard F. (Dick) Gimmel, went to work in the shop under his uncle Fred. Dick worked first as a mechanic, then as shop foreman, and was promoted to company president after his father’s death in 1958. The Gimmels continued to expand the company in other fields such industrial engine sales and services, generator sets, air compressors, and heavy machine work. Due to the nature of the operation, in 1962 the company’s name was changed to Atlas Machine & Supply, Inc. to better identify the company with the products being marketed. Atlas also became one of the highest-wage, highest priced machine shop in Kentucky during this time.

Business growth soared for Atlas Machine and Supply in the 1970s. The company took on distribution of several new lines of equipment such as Perkins, Waukesha, Detroit, and Rockford-Lipe Rolloway. This brought new customers for parts and industrial maintenance. The company also purchased equipment to expand into areas like sub-arc welding and a variety of services that required high precision welding. By 1980 the company expanded into Indiana, Ohio, and other nearby states. In 1981, Atlas completed construction of a 23,000 square foot addition to the W. Jefferson Street location that provided additional space for shop activities, parts storage, and office functions.

In 1982 Richard Gimmel designated his middle son, Robert N. Gimmel II as the company’s new president. The company experienced difficulties with its engine packaging program in the 1980s that plagued the new president. As Atlas recovered from the engine packaging problems, Rich F. Gimmel, Jr., Robert’s older brother, became involved with learning all aspects of the company’s business. In 1989, Rich Gimmel became executive vice-president.

Overall management of the company became more professional in the eighties. Regular supervisors’ meetings were initiated to deal with broader issues such as coordination of shop orders, material requisitions, work-load management, and performance evaluations. Rich Gimmel lead the development of a sophisticated marketing strategy with strong advertising literature, stronger goals for sales representatives, and better training and information to identify and meet customer’s needs.

Business and the geographic market grew for Atlas in the 1980s. By the end of the eighties Atlas’s primary market embraced a two hundred mile radius of Louisville, including all of Kentucky, the southern third of Indiana, and the southern half of Ohio. Atlas also drew business from St. Louis, Portland, Oregon, and Spokane, Washington. Contributing to its market was the establishment of a marketing and shop operation in Cincinnati in 1985.

In the 1990s, Atlas pursued a joint venture with IMW Industries Ltd., of Chilliwack, British Columbia, to manufacture and distribute compressors and related equipment for fueling stations. The partnership enabled both companies to achieve their economic goals while complying with legal constraints. Atlas had marketing rights in the United States while IMW had rights to Canada and overseas markets. By 1998 IMW Atlas was serving customers throughout the United States.

In 1998 Robert N. Gimmel II became CEO and Richard F. Gimmel, Jr. became president. In this same year, Atlas announced that it had purchased thirteen acres at Global Drive and Greenbelt Highway with intentions to move operations to a new plant at that site. On May 23rd, 1999, Atlas Machine and Supply held a groundbreaking ceremony at 7000 Global Drive. In 2007, the Atlas celebrated its 100th anniversary.

From From Family Business to Community Stewardship: A History of Atlas Machine and Supply, Inc by Carl E. Kramer. Published by Atlas Machine & Supply, Inc. 1998. 43 pp.


Folder List

Advertising Material

Folder 1: Chronology of Atlas Company from Louisville City Directories, 1900-1915

Folder 2: Atlas Auto Parts & Grinding Co. Advertising Material, 1937-1946, undated

Folder 3: Brochure and Photographs by Construction Digest showing Atlas exterior, 1950-1960

Folder 4: Construction Digest Proofs and Ads, 1963-1981

Folder 5: Publications with Articles

Folder 6: Brochure Materials (includes photo negs), 1981

Folder 7: Advertising Pamphlets, ca. 1980-1995

Folder 8: “The History of Atlas Machine & Supply, Inc.,” 1983

Folder 9: “From Family Business to Community Stewardship, A History of Atlas Machine and Supply Co.,” 1998

Folder 10: Groundbreaking Ceremony Program, 1999

Folder 11: Chart Showing Drill Sizes for Taps, undated

Folder 12: Atlas Machine Logo, undated


Folder 13: Articles of Incorporation (Photocopies), 1906, 1909, 1921, 1925

Folder 14: Mortgage Contract and Receipts, 1925-1936

Folder 15: Amendments to Articles of Incorporation and Bank Deposit Receipts, 1925-1946

Folder 16: Lease Documents, 1925-1947

Folder 17: Agreements, Receipts, and Sales Contracts with Distributors, 1925-1974

Folder 18: Agreement with Timken Roller Bearing, 10 October 1926

Folder 19: Notices from the Treasury Department, 1927-1930, 1938

Folder 20: Tax Documents, 1927-1945

Folder 21: Receipts and Bank Notes, 1929-1944

Folder 22: Bills of Sale of Motor Vehicles, 1929-1951

Folder 23: Shop Statements, 1968

Folder 24: Shop Statements, 1969

Folder 25: Shop Statements, 1970-1979

Folder 26: Shop Statements, 1980-1985

Folder 27: Compiled Financial Statements, 1981

Folder 28: Shop Statements, 1986-1988

Folder 29: Financial Statements, 1987-1990

Folder 30: Shop Statements, 1991

Folder 31: Compiled Financial Statements, 1990-1991

Folder 32: Material Requisition Form and Sales Receipt for Shop Equipment, 1985, undated

Stock Certificates

Folder 33: Stock Certificates, 1927-1954

Folder 34: Atlas Auto Parts & Grinding Co., Incorporated. Book of Stock Certificates Issued to Robert N. Gimmel, Fred R. Gimmel, Hubert Haas, Jr., Gertrude Gimmel, Alma Gimmel, Richard Gimmel, Jr., Robert Gimmel, II, Charles Cliff Gimmel, 1925-1961

Employee Related Materials

Folder 35: Haas Resignation Letter, 1928

Folder 36: Time Tickets, 1933

Folder 37: Gibbs Machine Company Employee Handbook, 1977

Folder 38: Employment Agreement, 1979

Folder 39: Wage and Fringe Benefit Survey, 1984

Folder 40: Employee Handbooks, Undated


Folder 41: Right of Way Correspondence, 1946

Folder 42: Mason Paint Correspondence, 1955-1958

Folder 43: Internal Meeting Notes and Staff Memos, 1985-1988

Folder 44: First National Bank Correspondence and Receipts, 1937-1950

Folder 45: Correspondence Regarding Construction of the W. Jefferson Street Building, 1946

Folder 46: Correspondence with Group Nine Marketing regards to Trade Show Exhibit and Expected Costs, undated

Folder 47: Company Appreciation Letters to Clients, 1939

Folder 48: Marketing Correspondence 1980-1990

Parts Lists and Prices

Folder 49: Suggested Re-sale Schedule of Machine Shop Operations, 1948

Folder 50: Price Schedules, 1967, 1979, undated

Folder 51: Whayne Supply Lists of Crankshafts, 1980, 1981, undated

Folder 52: Atlas Machine Price List, 1993


Folder 53: Atlas Auto Parts & Grinding Co. Resale Certificate, 28 June 1960


Folder 54: Scrapbook Pages, 1934-1945

Folder 55: Newsclippings, 1954-2003, undated

Boxed Volumes

Volume 56: Atlas Machine Company Elevators Catalog, circa 1910

Volume 57: Book, “Successful Patents,” 1913

Volume 58: Shop Records, 1925

Volume 59: Atlas Auto Parts and Grinding Company Inventory, 1925

Volume 60: Atlas Auto Parts and Grinding Company Inventory, 1926

Volume 61: Atlas Auto Parts and Grinding Company Inventory, 1934

Volume 62: Atlas Auto Parts and Grinding Company Inventory, 1935

Volume 63: Atlas Auto Parts and Grinding Company Inventory, 1935

Volume 64: Atlas Auto Parts and Grinding Company Inventory, 1935

Volume 65: Ledger Book, circa 1930

Volume 66: Ledger Book, 1941-1958

Volume 67: General Ledger, 1940s-1950s

Volume 68: Double Entry Ledger, 1969-1978

Loose Volumes

Volume 69: Accounting Ledger, October 1925-December 1926

Volume 70: Accounting Ledger, December 1926-October 1927

Volume 71: Accounting Ledger, October 1927-1928

Volume 72: Inventory, 1925

Volume 73: Audit, 1925

Volume 74: Audit, 1926

Volume 75: Scrapbook, 1927-1933

Volume 76: Ledger, 1963-1965


Folder 77: Parts and Building Blueprints, 1911-1979, undated


Subject Headings

Advertising – Kentucky – Louisville.

Automobiles – Parts – Kentucky – Louisville.

W. Schulten, Architect (Louisville, Ky.)

Business enterprises – Kentucky – Louisville.

Elevators – Kentucky – Louisville.

Employees – Kentucky – Louisville.

Gimmel family

Machining industries – Kentucky – Louisville.


Timken Roller Bearing (North Canton, Ohio).

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