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.

Friday, May 16, 2014

History of Smith and Holtum Manufacturing Co., S&H Mfg. Co., Holtum Manufacturing Co.

Smith & Holtum advertisement 1908
S&H brand cement tools originated with Danish immigrant Andrew (Andreas) H. Holtum (1859-1918). Holtum learned the foundry trade and started making brass fire engine bells at his home. With Corwin C. Smith, he incorporated as Smith and Holtum Manufacturing Co. in 1902 in Clinton, Wisconsin. In 1914 or 1915, Andrew Holtum purchased the interest of Mr. Smith and dropped Smith’s name, but continued to sell cement tools with the S&H brand. In 1917 Holtum moved from Clinton to Freeport, Illinois, briefly operated as Ulfers-Holtum Manufacturing Co., then changed the name back to Holtum Manufacturing Co. At Holtum's death in 1918, his sons Harold, Christian, Alfred and John took over the business. After facing raw material shortages during World War II, the business closed in 1945.

The foundry made a wide variety of castings from iron, brass, bronze, and aluminum. Some sold under its own brand names and others were parts for other manufacturers. S&H made private label tools for Belknap Hardware Co., Louisville, Ky, E.C. Simmons Hardware (Keen Kutter), St. Louis, Mo., and Sears Roebuck & Co. Their products included:

Brass bells for fire engines
Concrete finishing tools (over 100 items according to Harold Holtum)
House numbers
Sanitary fittings for dairies
Brass tent slips (guy rope tensioners) and aluminum tent pins for the U.S. military
Bronze and brass castings for hearses and automobiles
Aluminum adding machine cases
Bronze grave markers
Majestic brand cast aluminum fry pans, sauce pans, coffee and tea pots, kettles, and other utensils
Oil burners

Smith & Holtum cement tools in 1917 Chicago hardware catalog

2009 newspaper article Holtum Manufacturing Co. Made Its Mark

S&H No. 2 Edger, Clinton, Wis.
Holtum advertisement 1919 

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