Leighton A. Wilkie (1900-1993)
Born in Winona, Minnesota, Leighton Wilkie, while working for his father at Wilkie Machine Works, perfected and successfully marketed the Universal Wilkie, a tool for aligning connecting rods that had been developed in his father’s garage. Moving to Minneapolis in 1926, Wilkie turned his sights to manufacturing, and in 1929 developed the Continental Process, a method of stamping parts out of metal quicker and at less cost than processes currently available. His most important contribution to manufacturing, however, came in 1933 when he invented the metal cutting band saw. He called the machine a DoALL, and later gave the same name to his company. Wilkie developed the philosophy of demonstrating tools to prospective customers so that they could see the benefits and be able to purchase the product immediately. This philosophy carried through to his establishment of a marketing arm for his firm that includes over 60 industrial supply centers in the United States where machines and tooling are demonstrated and sold. The DoALL organization, with its chain of local outlets, became the largest national distributor of machine tools.