Technical Member Profile: Somma Tool

Somma Tool Company, Inc. offers a full line of tooling for screw machines, lathes and CNC machines. With 30 employees at its 28,000-square-foot facility in Waterbury, Connecticut, the company specializes in manufacturing cutting tools, holders and precision machining accessories.


Somma Tool Company, Inc. offers a full line of tooling for screw mach-ines, lathes and CNC machines. With 30 employees at its 28,000-square foot facility in Waterbury, Connecticut, the company specializes in manufacturing cutting tools, holders and precision machining accessories.

The family-owned and operated business was founded in 1939 by Gerard J. Somma, a machine apprentice who came to America from Italy. After gaining experience in the screw machine departments of several Waterbury companies, Mr. Somma decided to start his own business manufacturing form tools. Up until that time, local screw machinists had to buy their tooling from out-of-state sources.

Mr. Somma’s children—Herman, Henry and Emily—worked in the family business from the beginning. “My father, Herman was only 14 years old when he started with the company,” says Eric Somma, the current president of Somma Tool and a grandson of the founder. “He was basically self-taught and was designing form tools as a teenager.”

Other family members guiding the company today are Eric’s brother Gerard (Jerry) Somma, the vice president of sales; and Emily’s son-in-law Thomas Menudo, who is vice president of operations.

Over the years, the company grew from a local specialty form tool grinding house to offer a complete line of tooling to customers nationwide, as well as overseas.

“In the early days, the company made only cutting tools,” Eric Somma explained. “Through acquisition of other companies, we added tool holders and work holders to the mix. And in 1990, we teamed up with Kennametal to sell the Erickson®brand of collets and work holders to the mix. Our philosophy has always been to use the newest technology to manufacture the highest quality tooling that would help improve the productivity of our customer’s screw machines.”

Somma Tool has been a PMPA technical member since 1975. The company is active in its local chapter and at national events. “The Technical Conference and PMTS are excellent,” Eric says. “It’s a great way to meet our customers and show them what’s new.

“I find the Listserves to be interesting, too,” he continued. “A lot of the questions don’t directly pertain to us, but I like how everyone works together. If someone needs a few bars of material, a collet, or has a sales, technical or administrative question, they can put it on the Listserve. It’s an amazing way to share information.”

The fourth generation of the Somma family joined the company in 2004 when Eric’s son Rob graduated from college with a degree in mechanical engineering. “Rob has designed an inexpensive insert holder that’s doing very well,” Eric says. “He’s following after his grandfather Herman.”

On October 18, PMPA will present its highest honor to Herman Somma, who passed away in November 2004. The Frank T. McGinnis Merit Award recognizes Mr. Somma’s contributions to the industry and his extensive service above and beyond the call of duty. The presentation will take place at the association’s annual awards banquet in Bonita Springs, Florida. Herman Somma is the first technical member to receive the award, which was first presented in 1943.