A Topeka memory

A photograph of Harry and Lynn Sprunger and one of their company’s table saws.

TOPEKA – The Sprunger Brothers Corporation, a company that manufactured power tools in Topeka, was the subject of discussion at Topeka Area Historical Society’s Jan. 21 meeting.

When Harry and Lynn Sprunger moved their fledgling home power tool company to Topeka in the fall of 1946, it was the beginning of a new chapter for both the company and the town of Topeka. For the first time in its history, Topeka had a modern factory.

“Sprunger Brothers power tools can still be found today in garages and shops,” says historical society president Harold Gingerich, “Many are still being used by satisfied homeowners. For others, the tools have become collectors’ items.”

The Sprunger brothers launched their business by first opening a small tool and die shop in South Bend around 1943. After WWII, they decided to enter the woodworking industry and build an 8-inch table saw. In the fall of 1946, the company moved to Topeka, and incorporated under the name Sprunger Brothers Inc.

They produced a variety of tools including several table saws, a jointer, a band saw, a wood lathe and a drill press.

In the middle 50s, Lynn Sprunger sold his interest in the company to his brother, Harry. In 1956, the firm built an additional plant in Ligonier, and slowly started transitioning to that plant.

The company moved to Elkhart in the 1970s and in 1984, ceased production of power tools.

The historical society has several Sprunger Brothers saws on display at their Depot Museum.

The Topeka Area Historical Society holds bimonthly public meetings and publishes quarterly newsletters. Past newsletters can be viewed on the group’s newly updated website by going to www.topekahistoricalsociety.com. The TAHS also maintains a Facebook page.

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