Please note

Because of the lack of published trowel and masonry tool histories, the information here is based on other sources that may be less reliable and certainly are incomplete. These include eBay and tools that I purchase myself that are the starting points for my research. I will write what I know as I learn it. If what you read here interests you, please check back often and look for revisions and corrections. Scanned catalogs are either mine or by Rose Antique Tools and used with permission, and are on Google Docs as pdf files. A few are links to other websites. Your photos and information are welcome. Please click on any picture to enlarge it. Comments are welcome, but any with links will be deleted as possible spam.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

History of William Johnson Inc., Newark, NJ, Trowel Maker

1910 advertisement
William Johnson made a variety of forged steel and cast iron tools in Newark, NJ. An eBay search shows dividers, calipers, pinch dogs, gas burner pliers, smelting ladles, a nail puller, a faucet seat cutter, scrapers, and dibbles. Mr. Johnson was a prominent businessman in Newark in 1872, as described in The Report and Catalogue of the First Exhibition of Newark Industries. Mr. Johnson was a member of the executive committee and a speaker at the 1872 exposition, and his company exhibited "a great case of carpenters' and other tools." The firm was advertising its brick trowels in 1910 and 1917. In 1938 it was sold to C.S. Osborne & Co. of Newark. C.S. Osborne continues to sell many of the items that Johnson made, including brick trowels, an edger, jointers, and finishing towels, including some with the Johnson name.

Full text of The Report and Catalogue
Short article in American Scissors and Shears (Google Books)
C.S. Osborne & Co. website

William Johnson pointing trowel
William Johnson pointing trowel etch

William Johnson brick jointer

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