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.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

History of E.C. Stearns & Company

Some of the history of E.C. Stearns & Company of Syracuse, New York is unknown. It was one of the major US hardware foundries of the Victorian era and has pages on Wikipedia and Vintage Machinery. Its products are clearly marked and are common on eBay and comparable outlets. However, the published histories don't say when the company stopped making tools and hardware, or how or when the company met its end.

The firm was organized in 1864 and was led by 3 family generations, George Noble Stearns (1812 -1882), his children Avis Stearns Van Wagenen (1841-1907) and Edward Carl Stearns (1856-1929), grandson John Edward Stearns (1895-1979), plus Van Wagenen’s son-in-law Herbert E. Maslin. Avis Stearns Van Wagenen is noteworthy as the only woman with a leadership position in a major American hardware company, and she has a Wikipedia page.

Avis Stearns Van Wagenen, Edward Carl Stearns, Herbert E. Maslin
E.C. Stearns' hardware products included cement tools, screw clamps, door frame clamps, vises, saw vises, jack screws, hollow augers, saw sets, band saw setters, spoke shaves, bench drills, mallets, chisel handles, chest handles, patent parlor sliding door hangers, patented locks, window and door screens and screen frames, hinges, adjustable stove-pipe thimbles, hammock hooks, barn door locks and hangers, cast-iron stable hay racks and feed boxes, iron sinks, faucets, and lawn sprinklers. E.C. Stearns' primary material was cast iron.
E.C. Stearns Catalog No. 34, cement tools pages

In the late 1880s Stearns began to make mechanical products, beginning with bicycles (including a shaft-drive bicycle) and lawn mowers, followed by automobiles, typewriters, and adding machines. As the decades passed, Stearns shifted production away from hardware and tools.

Stearns factory, 224 Oneida St., Syracuse

In 1935 the factory relocated from the 1882 buildings at 224 Oneida St. to Eastwood, now part of Syracuse. By 1956 E.C. Stearns was in bankruptcy, and the owners were brothers Edward M. Grandinetti (1912-1990) and Louis Anthony Grandinetti (1914-1998).

"Hearings on a reorganization filed under the Bankruptcy Act by the E. C. Stearns & Co. Inc., have been adjourned until April 10 to obtain further progress reports on the business. The petition was filed Feb. 1 by the brother-owners of the company, Edward Grandinetti of 106 Wilson Pl. [Syracuse], and Louis Grandinetti of 64 Ely Dr., Fayetteville. The company manufactures lawn mowers and power mowers. The petition asks for an extension of the company's credit time. It is not a liquidation petition and business is going on as usual, according to Laurence Sovik who is representing the Grandinettis."
The Post-Standard, Syracuse. NY, Thursday, March 1, 1956

E.C. Stearns & Co. No. 128 Edger, nickel plated

No comments:

Post a Comment