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, April 29, 2014

History of Kramer Brothers Foundry, Gem Brand Cement Tools

Kramer Bros. catalog
Beginning in 1893, Kramer Brothers Foundry, Dayton, Ohio, made high quality cement (concrete) worker's tools with the brand name Gem. Kramer Brothers' tools included nickel-plated cast iron, brass, and bronze edgers, groovers, inside and outside angles, out-curve and in-curve edgers, gutter tools, jointers, and imprint (indent) rollers. In 1914 they claimed to be the largest cement tool manufacturer in the US.
Kramer Brothers Catalog cement tools 6 pages

Kramer's other cast iron products included parts for cooking and heating stoves, coal furnace parts, piano mover casters, sewer fittings, street lamp standards (posts), floral urns, lawn settees and chairs, and garden statuary. Their garden and decorative products are in the US Smithsonian collection and sold in high-end auctions.

My scan of Kramer Brothers 1955 Highway, Street, and Sewer Castings Catalog is on

More about Kramer Brothers Foundry is available on the website of a successor company:
Talladega Foundry Company History

Kramer's operation was between Dell St. and Keifer St., between Deeds Ave. (formerly Daller) and the railroad tracks. The building and site are occupied by what appears to be a junkyard, and "THE KRAMER BROS. FDY. CO." is still painted on the building.

Kramer Brother's tool line was sold to Bon Tool Co., date unknown. "Bon Tool Co. announced that it has acquired the operating assets from Kramer Brothers Foundry Co. of Dayton, Ohio. Kramer Brothers was the exclusive manufacturer of Gem Cement Tools, many of which Bon will continue to produce."
Bon Tool Corporate News

Kramer Brothers Foundry Gem No. 27 groover
Kramer Brothers Gem No. 27 groover
The history at the below is from "History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio, Volume 1" by Augustus Waldo Drury (1909).

Kramer Brothers in 1909
Kramer Brothers No. 24 brass groover


  1. any estimate of a Kramer FDY co No 52 tool is worth?

  2. I have an edger in pretty mint condition