About Us


empster Machine Shop was founded by James Dempster in 1886.  Born in Perth, Scotland and later immigrated to Knoxville, James was “Knoxville’s Pioneer Machine Shop Operator.”  Originally established on the banks of the Tennessee River, water power was used to operate the first shop.  When the times changed, the nature of the business did as well and Dempster Machine Shop moved to its current location at 1950 Laurans Avenue.   After World War 2 ended, Richard Dempster took over management of the shop.   The commitment shows in his words, “I ran it for 40 years.  It’s awfully hard (to quit) even when you want to do it.”

Along the way there have been many contributions from many people and have been central to the success of the business.  Currently, the business is being operated by Ross Dempster, along with his brother Steve Dempster and sister Mary Ann Klein as Vice Presidents.  Ross’ son Andrew Dempster currently works at the shop and is interested in continuing the family business for a sixth generation of Dempsters.