Reader Simple Simon’s sweet photo of this industrial-looking Canadian Buffalo drill press piqued my interest and inspired me to find out more about it. The key word here is industrial, and as it turns out, though the Canadian Buffalo brand is new to me, the company is old –- very old.
From what I could dig up online, it seems that Canadian Buffalo Forge Co. was established in Montreal around 1903 as the Canadian offshoot of the Buffalo Forge Co., which has been kicking around since the late 1800s.
The business originally centered on blacksmith forges, but they diversified into a/c, dust collection, and eventually drill presses like this one. Buffalo Forge’s subsidiary, Canadian Blower & Forge, built Canadian-made drill presses such as Simple Simon’s that were very much like tools you’d find in the shop today.
What’s completely cool is that the company that started out as Canadian Buffalo Forge has hung on through the years and exists today as Howden Buffalo. They’re still in the industrial business, and just as they did years ago the fresh-faced Howden Buffalo makes large fans, blowers, and rotary heat exchangers for large applications.
Sure, it’s a giant, slightly over-simplified leap from a blacksmith forge to modern industrial equipment. However, owning a little piece of the chain, like this drill press that can trace its lineage fifty years into the past and the future, adds a great deal of character to any shop.