Abraham Landis was the sixth of seven children of aPennsylvania carpenter. A. B. Landis started as an apprentice to two of his older brothers, Franklin and Ezra, who manufactured steam engines. He and his brother F.F. formed a partnership to build farm machinery, which they sold to the Geiser Co. in Waynesboro, Pa.
While working for Geiser, A.B. developed the Landis universal grinding machine. In 1890, he and F.F. formed a new partnership to manufacture cylindrical grinders, later reorganized as Landis Tool Co. Later still, the Landis Machine Co. was organized to sell A.B.'s threading machines.
His contributions to the manufacture of engines for the budding automobile industry were particularly prolific. His 1903 patent for an automatic magazine feed and release for short cylindrical parts enabled efficient grinding of connecting rod pins. The 1905 specialized grinder for automobile crankshafts eliminated torsion in the shaft by mounting the work on two live heads, counterbalanced by the journal bearings. Roll-grinding improvements permitted smooth finishes on automotive sheet metal for the first time. In 1910, he left both Landis companies and opened an engineering laboratory, developing a camshaft grinder with automatic feed.