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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

History of Fayette R. Plumb Inc.

Fayette R. Plumb was one of the major American tool makers of the late 19th and 20th centuries, and their products included a variety of hammers for brick and stone. Their factory was within walking distance of Henry Disston and Sons, another firm whose market dominance was a result of high product quality, management skill, and a dedicated work force. This chronology of Fayette R. Plumb,  Inc. owes much to Yesteryears Tools.

Plumb brick hammers sold in 1924
1856 – Jonathan Yerkes (1830-1897) relocated his Moreland, Pennsylvania works to the former borough of Frankford, PA, annexed by Philadelphia in 1854.

1867 – After completing his formal education, Fayette Rumsey Plumb (1848–1905) took a job with the hardware firm Lloyd, Supplee & Walton in Philadelphia, intending to learn the hardware business. This link is a photograph of a painting of Mr. Plumb.

1869 – Plumb formed a partnership with Jonathan Yerkes. Yerkes and Plumb began building a new works in Bridesburg, another former borough just south of Frankford, adjacent to the Pennsylvania Railroad.

1887 – A complete takeover by Plumb began with Yerkes's retirement in April, 1886. Jonathan Yerkes initially sold his stake in the company to his brother Edward A. Yerkes. Shortly thereafter Edward A. sold out to Plumb but the Yerkes & Plumb name was maintained on products for some time. Other Plumb brands included Y & P with an anchor and Anchor Brand, possibly used until the 1930s.

1899 – Incorporated as Fayette R. Plumb, Inc., with Mr. Plumb as president. A manufacturing directory published the same year gives Plumb's address as East Tucker St. and Trenton Ave.

1901 – Fayette Rumsey Plumb, Jr. (1877-1966) was treasurer.

1905 – The elder Mr. Plumb died suddenly while on a trip.

1906 – Fayette R. Plumb's products in a hardware whole catalog.

1910 – The company began construction of a plant in St. Louis, Missouri. The project was overseen by Calvin Perry Bascom, who then became general manager of the St. Louis facility.

Plumb's Philadelphia plant (before 1918)

1918 – Company officers and management were:
Fayette R. Plumb Jr., President
Joseph H. Plumb, Treasurer
John M. Williams, Secretary
Frank L. Campbell, Assistant Sales Manager
S. Herbert Logan, Statistician
William D. Plumb, Factory Manager
William J. Walsh, Plant Superintendent
J.A. Mellon, Comptroller

1919 – History of Plumb's production during World War I.

1920 – Fayette R. Plumb, Jr. was president, his brother William Dodman Plumb (1888-1944) was works and employment manager. The 1920 Sanborn fire insurance map shows Plumb's works on James St. between Buckius St. and Wakeling St. To see the map click this link and then scroll down Content to the sheet Philadelphia-19161929-Vol11_sheet1020. To go directly to a copy I made of the same map, click here.

1920 Sanborn map, Fayette R. Plumb
1929 – Plumb's mailing address was 4830 James St., Philadelphia. Bing Maps

1944 – William D. Plumb died.

1945 – After World War II, Fayette Rumsey Plumb II (1920-1911) entered the family business, eventually becoming vice president in charge of manufacturing. His father was William D. Plumb.

1953 – Fayette R. Plumb Jr. stepped down as president after 48 years, and was replaced by his son D. Rumsey Plumb.

1960 – Their mailing address was 4837 James, Philadelphia 37, PA.

1966 – Fayette R. Plumb Jr. died.

1971 – Plumb Company was acquired by the Ames Co. of Parkersburg, West Virginia. Ames was owned by industrialist and philanthropist Bernard Patrick McDonough Jr. (1903-1985), and labels and advertisements identified it as a McDonough Company.

1980 – The Plumb division of Ames was sold to Cooper Industries, Inc. of Houston, Texas (the date is according to a Cooper catalog). Cooper placed Plumb in its Cooper Group operating division with other hand tool brands including Crescent, Lufkin, Nicholson, Weller, and Wiss. The Cooper Group's address was PO Box 728, Apex, NC 27502.
Plumb Cooper 24 oz. brick hammer
1981–  A new Plumb factory opened at 3012 Mason St., Monroe, NC.

1982 – Fayette R. Plumb II retired as Vice President in Charge of Manufacturing; the Philadelphia factory was closed. A supermarket was built on the site north of James St., and  the building was converted to The Baptist Worship Center in 2007. One surviving Plumb building is on the south side of James St. Google Street View in September 2014 shows the rear wall of Plumb’s handle and coal storage building (below).

2010 – Cooper Hand Tools division was spun off into Apex Tool Group, a joint venture of Danaher Corp. and Cooper Industries. Apex Tool Group had over 30 brands including Plumb. “Apex is a company that Danaher and Cooper formed in 2010 by merging their individual hardware making assets. Danaher and Cooper each hold 50% of Apex Tool.” Plumb tools are being made outside the United States, primarily in China.

October 2012 – Danaher Corporation and Cooper Industries sold Apex Tool Group to Bain Capital.

Plumb's hammer brands in 1940 included these, starting with the most expensive:
Yerkes & Plumb knapping hammer
Plumb Chrome
Plumb Au-to-graf
Plumb Favorite
Plumb Leader

Plumb's other brands, marks, and labels included these:
James West & Co. (early, second quality)
Vulcan Tool Co. (early, second quality)
Q. C. Mfg. Co. (third quality line)
Quaker City Mfg. Co. (for hardware wholesalers)
Philadelphia Tool Co. (Plumb’s bought the company)
Private label production for major hardware wholesalers

History of Nutting & Hayden, Concord, NH

Nutting and Hayden described themselves as manufacturers of granite cutters’ and quarry tools. Their office and factory were at  12 Ferry St., Concord, New Hampshire. There are no old buildings located at this site today. The business began in 1881 as a partnership between Luther Morse Nutting (1846-1924) and Henry W. Hayden (1856-1917). Mr. Nutting patented a bush hammer design, US 412,532, ‎filed Mar. 12, 1885, issued Oct. 8, 1889.

According to a 1906 Concord directory, Walter O. Sweet owned Nutting & Hayden and his residence was at 93 N. State St., Concord. Walter Orrin Sweet (1877-1916) married Daisy Ethel
Hayden (1881-1969), daughter of Henry W. Hayden and Eliza L. Loring Hayden.

The most recent advertisement found for Nutting & Hayden is 1907, although it is possible the business continued past that date. The article is from The Leading Business Men of Concord, and Vicinity, Embracing Penacook, East and West Concord, by George Fox Bacon, 1890.

Stone; an Illustrated Magazine, Volume 2, 1889
Nutting & Hayden bush hammer

Thursday, December 18, 2014

History of C.T. Skelton & Co., Sheffield

C.T. Skelton & Co. made some of the highest quality hand tools produced in Sheffield, UK. Following is an edited synopsis of their history from Grace's Guide:

C.T. Skelton and Co. of Sheafbank (or Sheaf Bank) Works, Sheffield, Yorkshire
1855 Company founded.
1902 Private Limited Company.
1914 Employees 400.
1961 Manufacturers of shovels, forks, picks, engineers and garden tools. 250 employees.
1962 Brades and Nash Tyzack Industries merged with C.T. Skelton and Co. of Sheffield to form Brades, Skelton and Tyzack, making garden, contractors and some agricultural tools.
1967 Became part of Spearwell Tools

CT Skelton plasterers' trowel
CT Skelton brick hammer

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

S. Tyzack & Son 1957 Catalogue Now Available

S. Tyzack 1957
From a book seller in the UK, I have just received S. Tyzack & Son's Ltd. Tools, their 1957 catalogue. Plasterers', bricklayers', and moulders' tools are on pages 80 to 87. The brands are Brades and WHS, but please note that S. Tyzack & Son is a different company than Joseph Tyzack of Sheffield, the company whose successor owned the Brades and WHS brands.

This is the only scanned S. Tyzack catalogue I can find on the internet.

S. Tyzack part 1, pages 1 to 53
S. Tyzack part 2, pages 54 to 108 including index

"In 1839, 30-year-old sawmaker Henry Tyzack moved from Sheffield to Shoreditch, just outside the City of London. Henry's father Samuel was a sawmaker, as was his younger brother Joseph and his uncle, Thomas Tyzack. We do not know exactly when Henry started making saws and other tools under his own name, but 1843 is the date used by the successor firms. In 1861 or shortly afterwards, Henry transferred the business (with two employees) to his eldest son, Samuel, who in 1860 had leased a small shop of his own. By 1871 Samuel had five employees. Henry died in 1876 and Samuel died in 1903.

"The "& Son" in the name S. Tyzack & Son likely refers to Edgar, born in 1877.... The name changed to S. Tyzack & Sons in 1905, after Edgar Tyzack inherited the business.

"Throughout its history, the Tyzack firm resold tools made by others and also sold tools that they made themselves. Their product line primarily consisted of hand tools for the carpentry and cabinetmaking trades.... The company operated until 1987 when it was finally wound down."
Source of quote

Sunday, December 7, 2014

C. Drew & Company's Masonry Tools

C. Drew & Co. was a celebrated tool maker in the seaside town of Kingston, Massachusetts. C. Drew was founded by Christopher Prince Drew (1815-1907). Since its history is covered thoroughly elsewhere, there is no need to repeat it here. In addition to its famous caulking irons, Drew made a few masonry tools. These are well documented on the site, C. Drew & Co. Tool Collectors Research Forum:

C. DREW & CO. Brick, Tile, and Masons Chisels

C. Drew hammer head, unknown type
C. DREW & CO. Hammers (Masons and Tile Setters)

C. DREW & CO. Masons Brick Trimmers or Sets

C. DREW & CO. Brick Jointers

C. DREW & CO. Pitching Tool

C. Drew brick jointer

Saturday, December 6, 2014

History of Cincinnati Tool Co., Hargrave Co., Warren Tool Corp., Warren Tool Group

Cincinnati Tool Company, Hargrave Company, and their successors manufactured masonry and other chisels, drill bits, and a wide variety of clamps.
Hargrave The Cincinnati Tool Co. Catalog 39-B in full color

1877 Cincinnati Tool Co. founded, eventually owned by Edward Hollister Hargrave (1859-
1912) and then his son John Morris Hargrave (1889-1975).
Edward H. Hargrave obituary 1912

1901 Located in Cincinnati, OH, operated by E.H. Hargrave.

1911 Cincinnati Tool Co. located in Norwood, OH.

1912 Google Books

1915 Google Books

1925 Changed name to Hargrave Co., operated at 1951 Waverly Ave., Norwood, Ohio by John Morris Hargrave.
Hargrave catalog page, masonry chisels 

1955? Acquired by Warren Tool Corp., of Warren, Hiram, and Garrettsville, Ohio. Warren also owned Columbian vises, Ken-Tool automotive, Kal-Equip Co., Iron City Tool Works, Quikwerk.

1970? The Warren Group established as Warren Tool's marketing division for all manufacturing operations.

1994 Warren Tool was sold to Wilton Corp., Palatine, IL, and continued to operate as Warren Tool Group.

2002 “In 2002, the Wilton Tool Company and…Warren Tool were acquired by WMH Tool Group (Walter Meier Holding Company AG).” The Warren Tool Group trademark held by Warren Tool Corp. was cancelled in 2002.

2014 “…Tenex Capital Management New York City, NY acquired the Jet, Powermatic and Wilton brands from Walter Meier and changed the company name to JPW Industries….”
Wilton Tools Company History

Wilton Hargrave clamps and chisels are currently for sale at industrial suppliers and Amazon, but are not on Wilton’s website. At least 2 Hargrave trademarks have expired.

History of Dasco, Damascus Steel Products Co., Rockford, Illinois

The firm was originally Damascus Steel Products Co., then Dasco, and Dasco Pro since 1984. Their current address is 340 Blackhawk Park Ave., Rockford, IL. Earlier addresses include 2215 Kishwaukee St., where they still have a plant. Their product line over the past century has included thousands of tools and cutlery items, including a variety of brick, concrete, and tile chisels. 

Damascus Steel Products was founded in 1921 by a group of investors, and this press release appeared in several publications around March 1922: "Damascus Steel Products Corporation, Rockford, Ill., has been incorporated to manufacture and deal in tools, machinery and merchandise. Capital $50,000. The incorporators are C.F. Maitland, C.P. Twomey, J.R. Hughes and Jacob Aaron.”  The following men were instrumental in the company's early years, with their positions if known:
Dasco 1925 

Charles F. Maitland, president
J.R. Hughes, vice president
A.T. Hayes, vice president
Carl A. Palmgren, vice president and production manager
Dr. C.V. Nyman, secretary, a prominent physician
C.P. Twomey, secretary
Jacob Aaron, treasurer
Harry M. Hanson, treasurer, later president Harry M. Hanson biography

Carl A. Palmgren, a Swedish immigrant trained as a machinist and in tool making, provided the necessary technical and managerial experience to the new company. He had been plant superintendent of the Enderes Manufacturing Co. in Minnesota. Carl A. Palmgren biography
Dasco toothed bush hammer

Damascus began in leased space at 1500 14th Ave. (now named Broadway), and they moved in a year or so to 1800 14th Ave., Rockford, where there are some surviving factory buildings.

Their 1925 catalog is the only vintage Dasco catalog available on the internet.    

Friday, December 5, 2014

History of W.H. Anderson, Detroit, Michigan

W.H. Anderson was a manufacturer and supplier of tools for stonemason's tools, cement tools, and other tools. They were located at 14 and 16 Macomb St., Detroit, Michigan, but no old buildings are in this area now. William Henry Anderson (1837–1914) founded the company in 1870 or 1871, took his 3 sons into the business, and it operated at least to World War II, when Harold Stewart was president. They used the names W.H. Anderson & Son, W.H. Anderson & Sons, and Anderson Tool & Supply Co. Here is a complete catalog of their cement tools from about 1910:
W.H. Anderson's Tools and Supplies for Cement Workers

Many of Anderson's stone hammers and chisels can be seen in this circa 1940 catalog; tools for working stone begin on page 35 of the scanned copy: J.M. Waterston Catalog

William Henry Anderson
"William H. Anderson, of the firm W.H. Anderson & Son, manufacturer of stonecutter’s tools and supplies, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1837. He received a liberal education and learned the tool and smithing trade. In 1856 he emigrated to America, spending some time in New York State. He settled in Detroit in 1861, working as a journeyman at his trade. In 1865 he became mastersmith at Fort Wayne, in the employ of the government, remaining three years. In 1868 he went to Pittsburgh, Pa. In 1870 he returned to Detroit and founded his present manufacturing business, purchasing a lot and erecting his factory and smith shop, of 40x106 feet, and 3 stories high, at Nos. 14 and 16 Macomb Street. In 1886 his son, James D. Anderson, was admitted as partner. William Anderson married Janet [or Jannet] McVittie in 1863. She was born in Scotland and died in 1865, leaving one son, James D., who was born in 1864. William Anderson married Elizabeth McVittie [Jannet's older sister] in 1871. They have three children, William R., Gilbert J., and Mary M."
History of Detroit and Wayne County and Early Michigan, 1890

In 1919 the company celebrated its 48th anniversary, and all 3 of the founder's sons were officers:
James D. Anderson, president 
Gilbert J. Anderson, vice president
William R. Anderson, secretary Biography
Article on Google Books

Set of Anderson stone chisels

Anderson brass edger
Anderson chisel

W.H. Anderson brass groover

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Miniature Trowels

Collecting or making miniatures is a specialized aspect of any hobby. Miniature tools can be toys, so-called salesman's samples, jewelry, or hand-crafted for the joy and challenge of making a small object. Here is a link to a UK eBay listing for a plasterer's trowel and a picture from the listing.
eBay UK

Unmarked trowel 4-1/2 inches x 2 inches 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Chisels for Brick and Block

Several styles of chisels are used for cutting brick and concrete block, removing excess mortar, or removing old mortar from joints. In order of their popularity, they are:  

Brick set, brick bolster (UK) – wide, thick blade, for cutting brick; typical widths are 2-1/2”, 3”, 3-1/2”, 4”, 4-1/2", 5”.

Brick sets, from left, 2 by Baltimore, Delaware, Stanley
Mason chisel, mason's chisel, brick chisel, brick bolster – narrower, thinner blade than a brick set, for cutting and shaping brick, concrete block, and stone, or trimming hardened mortar.

Mayhew No. 777 mason chisel
Plugging chisel, tuckpointer’s chisel – narrow, heavy blade with a long bevel and a long handle, for removing old mortar from joints before pointing.

Baltimore No. 335 3/16" plugging chisel
Fluted plugging chisel – a flute on each side of blade, popular in the UK.

Cape chisel – narrow, heavy blade with a symmetrical taper, for removing old mortar from joints, and used by machinists for cutting keyways.

Cape chisel with swaged edge, unmarked

The site How Stuff Works has an excellent video of brick chisels being made at Baltimore Tool Works, which closed in 2009. The lack of automation is typical of older forges, making this video a rare insight into earlier manufacturing processes. Assembly Line Baltimore Tool Works

All types of brick chisels should be sharpened with a flat bevel, as on a sharpening stone or a belt sander. The concave surface or hollow grind made by a grinding wheel makes a thinner, weaker edge.

Chisel makers in the United States

All major masonry tool manufacturers have sold or made brick chisels, including Bon, Goldblatt, Kraft, Marshalltown, and Stanley in the US. Smaller US companies which have made brick chisels include the ones below:

American Swiss File & Tool Co.
24 John St., New York City
American Swiss Files 1920 catalog 
American Swiss Tools, catalog about 1923 

Baltimore Tool Works, formerly at 1110 Race St., Baltimore, MD
Their product line was bought out by Mayhew Steel Products in 2009.

Dasco 1922 advertisement

Dasco Pro, 340 Blackhawk Park Ave., Rockford, IL
Originally Damascus Steel Products Co., then Dasco, and Dasco Pro since 1984.
Earlier addresses include 2215 Kishwaukee St., where they still have a plant.   
Dasco Pro website
Google Streetview - Dasco plant

Delaware Tool Steel Corp., formerly at 34th & Market St., Wilmington, DE.
Sylvan N. Levy (1888-1967) was president and held several patents, some with William B. Levy.
Made a brick set, brick chisel, and cape chisel.
Delaware Tool Steel Corp. Catalog

C. Drew & Co., Kingston, MA
Operated 1837-1980 in the same location.
C. Drew & Co. Tool Collectors Research Forum

Enderes Tool Co., Albert Lea, MN
Offices at 1103 Hershey St., plant at 924 E 14th St.
Enderes recently changed owners.
Enderes Tools website

Kraeuter Co., formerly at 569 18th Ave., Newark, NJ
Established in 1878 by August Kraeuter, by 1970 it was Kraeuter Tools Division of Dresser Industries.

Mayhew Steel Products, Inc., formerly at Deerfield Ave., Shelburne Falls, MA
Office and warehouse now in Turners Falls, MA.
Originally named H.H. Mayhew Co. 

Vaughn & Bushnell, currently at 11414 Maple Ave., Hebron, IL

Chisel makers and brands in the UK

Evro 4.5 inch (11 cm) brick bolsters
Draper, Chandler's Ford, Hampshire

Eclipse, currently a Spear & Jackson brand

Faithfull Tools website

Moore & Wright, Sheffield, brands include Moorite and Surecut
Moore & Wright website

Spear & Jackson
Spear and Jackson website
J. Tyzack & Son 4.5 inch (11 cm) brick bolster

Tyzack, currently a Spear & Jackson brand

Other chisel makers

Rennsteig, Germany

Saturday, November 8, 2014

History of Kraft Tool Co.

Kraft Tool Company of Shawnee, Kansas is a relatively new firm, dating to 1981. Kraft is noteworthy for several reasons. They have bucked the trends of industrial consolidation and outsourcing, and in 2001 they purchased W. Rose Brick Trowel Co., America’s second oldest tool manufacturer, established in 1798. Kraft also owns the venerable Sands Level & Tool Co.

Kraft logo on bronze groover
Kraft is a privately held company founded by two former Goldblatt Tool Co. executives, Simon Kraft and Ronald G. Meyer. Like Goldblatt, Kraft is located in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Note that Kraft’s mailing address, Shawnee Mission, is a Postal Service creation. Kraft is located in the city of Shawnee, where they built a nearly 100,000 square foot plant in 1996. Kraft’s brands, in addition to W. Rose and Sand’s, are Superior Tile Cutter and Hi-Craft.

Simon (Si) Kraft (1924-1990) was Goldblatt Tool Co.’s Sales Manager in the 1960s, according to advertisements and catalogs. He signed the letters to customers that appeared in the catalogs, a role that Norman Goldblatt had before Bliss and Laughlin bought Goldblatt.

Ronald G. Meyer (1948- ) has served as President of Kraft Tool Company, although I have not verified his current status. Mr. Meyer was National Sales Manager of Goldblatt Tool Co. until 1981. He graduated from William Jewell College and earned a Degree in Business in 1970. Mr. Meyer’s father, Max Meyer, following a 37-year career as a funeral director, worked with his son at Kraft Tool for another 20 years. Ronald Meyer holds several US patents on masonry tools and tool features.

Kraft Tool website

Thursday, October 23, 2014

History of Goldblatt Tool Co.

Goldblatt advertisement 1918 
Goldblatt Tool Co. has been a manufacturer and retailer of a full line of masonry tools in the Kansas City, Missouri area for over 100 years. Goldblatt sold directly to retail customers for decades, so many of their catalogs survived.

According to the Goldblatt Tool Company's version of its history, "In 1885 when a Russian immigrant named Henry Goldblatt, hoping to build a new life in the frontier town of Kansas City, opened the 'H. Goldblatt Tool Company' it was with the unbridled optimism that was sweeping the United States."

The real story, researched from, other internet sources, and a Goldblatt family member, follows. Thank you to Andrew Goldblatt for his photographs.

Henry H. Goldblatt was born about July, 1855, as Henry Milner in Lithuania. Henry took the surname Goldblatt as a ruse to avoid conscription. According to the family, an adopted child could not get drafted in the czar's army. Henry, his wife Mary, and 3 children emigrated to the United States around 1882, and later had 2 more children.
Henry Goldblatt's hardware store, 1425 Grand Ave., around 1901
Henry began business in Kansas City, MO, selling second hand furniture. In the 1897 city directory, he owned a saloon at 1434 E. 18th St. In the 1900 city directory he owned a second hand store at 1425 Grand Ave. In the 1901 directory, the business description had changed to retail hardware, with the family living upstairs at 1425 Grand Ave. By 1906 the retail hardware store had moved to 1410 Grand Ave.

1909 Sanborn map, 1400 block Grand Ave.
1896 Sanborn map, 1434 E. 18th St.

Not until the 1909 city directory is Henry listed as having H. Goldblatt Tool Co. at 1402 Grand Ave. In 1910 the company issued Catalogue No. 6, which suggests that No. 1 was in 1904. Henry's fourth child, Louis I. Goldblatt (1887-1955) was a manufacturer’s agent with the same business and home address as Henry.

In 1922 Goldblatt built a distinguished brick and stone 2-story brick building at 1522 Walnut St., Kansas City. The street number has changed to 1520 Walnut St. The building is in a National Historic District, and is described on page 6 of this document.

The 1933 city directory lists Louis I. Goldblatt as president of Goldblatt Tool Co., and his older brother Philip G. Goldblatt (1878-1961) as vice president-secretary-treasurer. Henry died in 1934. The illustration to the right is from their 1928 catalog and is not identified but is likely a member of the Goldblatt family.

After World War II, Louis's son-in-law Alexander A. Levy (1914-2007) was president, Louis's son Melvin Lloyd Goldblatt (1922-2012) was treasurer, Philip Goldblatt was vice president, and Philip's son Norman F. Goldblatt (1908-1981) was secretary. The company moved to 1910 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO in 1949. An interesting aside is that Melvin left the company and moved to California in 1960, where he was bookkeeper for the rock band Jefferson Starship. Melvin Goldblatt obituary Alexander Levy obituary  Norman F. Goldblatt

Goldblatt Tool Co. employees, November 1953
Advertisements and catalogs from 1960-1969 list Simon (Si) Kraft (1924-1990) as Sales Manager. Ronald G. Meyer was National Sales Manager of Goldblatt Tool Co. from 1969 to 1981. Mr. Kraft and Mr. Meyer co-founded Kraft Tool Co. of Shawnee, Kansas in 1981. Business Week 

Around 1963 or 1964, steel maker Bliss and Laughlin Industries bought Goldblatt Tool Co. from the Goldblatt and Levy families. In 1965 the company built a 200,000 square feet manufacturing facility on a nine acre site at 511 Osage Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas.

In 1982 Bliss and Laughlin changed its name to Axia Inc., and in 1984 a group of investors acquired Axia in a leveraged buyout. The new company sold Bliss and Laughlin Steel Co., leaving Goldblatt Tool Co. as its largest division.

Axia sold Goldblatt and another division to Stanley Works in 1991, and Stanley continued to operate the plant at 511 Osage Ave. Goldblatt’s market share declined after the sale, resulting in Stanley’s selling the division to FinishPro Tools of Lenexa, Kansas in 2006. In 2010 Goldblatt Tool Co. was sold again, to Hangzhou Greatstar Tools Co., Ltd. (HKGS) of Hong Kong, China, operating under Goldblatt Industries, LLC. Goldblatt press release YouTube video 2011 

Under Vintage Trowel Catalog Downloads is a high quality scan of the Goldblatt Tool Co. 1938 Catalog. It includes tools and clothing for brick masons, stone masons, cement workers, and plasterers. Due to the file size, it is broken into 2 downloads, pages 1 to 43 and pages 44 to 80. This is only half of the 160-page catalog. The rest is not scanned, including concrete molds, machines, and paint. More scans of Goldblatt catalogs are coming.

Norman F. Goldblatt 

1938 catalog

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Japanese Trowels

Here are several sites and searches that show a variety of Japanese masonry and plastering tools:

Monotaro construction tools - trowels - trowels

eBay US - Akacho trowel manufacturer

eBay US - Midoricho trowel manufacturer

Japanese sakan kote trowel
Manufacturers include:
Tokyo Nishikan

History of Red Devil Tools, Smith & Hemenway Co., Landon P. Smith, Inc.

Red Devil, Inc. is the best known US manufacturer of glazing tools and putty knives, and they also made cement tools at one time. A summary of their history follows:
  • Frank (Francis) Ross Woodward (1845-1931), of Hill, New Hampshire, invented glass cutters and began making them in the 1870s, eventually as Woodward Glass Cutter Co. 
  • In March 1898, Landon P. Smith (1869-1946) and John Francis Hemenway (1856-1926) founded Smith & Hemenway Co. in New York City. Among other hardware products, they sold Woodward's glass cutters. John Francis Hemenway biography
  • Although it began as a sales and import firm, Smith & Hemenway soon began manufacturing their own tools using Red Devil as a company trademark. Google Books - 1921 article Their best selling products during this period were over 100 styles and sizes of pliers. Smith & Hemenway pliers   
  • In 1925 Landon P. Smith began a successful effort to take control of the company from Hemenway, accusing Hemenway of neglecting the business. The ownership and name changed in 1926 to Landon P. Smith, Inc., operating at 106 Coit St., Irvington New Jersey. At this time the pliers line was sold to Crescent Tool Co., and Smith's new firm merged with Woodward Glass Cutter Co., concentrating on making painting and glazing tools. Numerous advertisements from 1926 through the early 1940s confirm the name Landon P. Smith, Inc.
  • The 1929 purchase of Master Manufacturing Co. added a line of paint hooks and related products, and in 1932 Smith acquired Vosco Tool's wood scrapers line. Also in 1932, company leadership passed to Smith's son-in-law George Ludlow Lee (1901-1966). George Ludlow Lee photograph 
  • The name changed to Red Devil Tool Co. in 1945, according to the journal, "Factory Management and Maintenance". This contradicts Wikipedia - Red Devil, Inc. Company leadership passed to George Ludlow Lee, Jr. (1926-1999). 
  • Red Devil Tool Co. was located at 2400 Vauxhall Rd., Union, New Jersey in late the 20th century. Google Maps - former Red Devil facility, Union NJ, now demolished
  • In 1965 Red Devil registered the trademark "Dresden" for a line of masonry, plaster, and tile tools, and sold those for an unknown time. At least some of those tools were made in Japan. The Dresden trademark expired in 2006. Dresden trademark history Red Devil Tools Catalog 26 1965
  • Red Devil, Inc. is still a family-owned business, located in Pryor, Oklahoma. Red Devil, Inc. website
The chronology above disagrees with several published histories of the companies involved, including Red Devil Inc. and Wikipedia. My account uses 2 or more sources each from the time periods. The most significant disagreement is with Smith and Hemenway starting the firm in 1872 in Hill, NH. There is no evidence that they ever lived in Hill, and in 1872 Smith was 3 years old and Hemenway was 16 years old.

Here is a scanned copy of a small, early Smith & Hemenway catalog, when they were located in New York City, and much larger Green Book of Hardware Specialties & Red Devil Tools, Sixth Edition
Red Devil putty knife, rosewood handle, pewter bolster 

Red Devil brochure 1939
Red Devil Dresden catalog 1969

Red Devil cement groover and edger

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Curb Tools

Antique curb tools, usually made of cast iron, are rare. This example is a Miles Craft, by Milescraft Manufacturing Co., 10409 Meech Ave.,Cleveland, OH.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Gießerei-Lanzette, German Foundry Molding Tools

Foundry molding tools are called Gießerei-Lanzette in German. Wikipedia - Lanzette (Gießerei)

W. or M. Barth made foundry molding tools in Cannstatt, an ancient town which became a district of Stuttgart, Germany in 1905. This short description of Barth's business is an 1895 book, "Beschreibung des Oberamts Cannstatt":

"...die mechanische Werkstätte von M. Barth in Cannstatt, welche als Spezialität Formwerkzeuge verfertigt und in Deutschland, sowie nach Österreich-Ungarn, Bosnien und Luxemburg exportiert…"

"...the mechanical workshop of M. Barth in Cannstatt, which manufactured specialty molds and exported to Germany and to Austria-Hungary, Bosnia and Luxembourg..."

Beschreibung des Oberamts Cannstatt
W. Barth foundry molding tool (top)
German foundry molding tools