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, August 26, 2014

Bellota Trowels, Corporación Patricio Echeverría of Spain

Bellota is a brand of Corporación Patricio Echeverría, of Legazpi, Spain, founded in 1908 by Patricio Cirilo Echeverría Elorza. Bellota has a full line of trowels for bricklaying, plastering, stucco, and concrete finishing, in several regional styles. Bellota still makes a traditional wood handle decorated with 2 or 3 rings, which other trowel makers abandoned decades ago. Bellota construction tools catalog in pdf form (Spanish)

Bellota plastering trowel (Llana Lisa Mango Madera 5864 Bellota)
Patricio Echeverría (1882-1972) was a manufacturer, inventor, and philanthropist in Legazpi, in the Basque region of northern Spain. Although his family were paper makers, Echeverría took up the forging trade. After completing his apprenticeship in Legazpi (or Legazpia) , he worked in forges in nearby Mondragon (also called Arrasate). In 1904 he returned to Legazpi and opened his own blacksmith shop. In 1908 he founded Segura, Echeverría and Co. (Segura, Echeverría y Cía) with a partner. The modest factory of 12 workers made agricultural, mining, carpentry, and masonry tools. Due to business differences the partnership dissolved in 1909, and Patricio continued on his own as Corporación Patricio Echeverría. The factory had 106 workers at its beginning, grew to 453 employees in 1931, and had 3,400 at his death in 1972.

Antique Bellota trowel (paleta de albañil) 
Echeverría was an innovator in metalworking and manufacturing. In his first forge shop in 1906 he patented a method of forging a hoe or rake (Patent No. 38,511). Later patents included metal polishing (1931), circular saw (1933), double column eccentric press (1933), mechanical press gooseneck (1934), and a metal bender (1936). Echeverría also adopted innovations by others. The first was a technique in manufacturing blades which he found on a trip to England in 1920. Another, in 1931, was an Austrian method of manufacturing scythes. Echeverría built a vertically integrated business in phases, beginning with an electric furnace in 1931, a mill, and the production of special steels. After a reorganization in the 1990s, the company ceased production of steel, lamination, and stamping parts.

In the 1920s Corporación Patricio Echeverría began to use the Acorn name and logo for its products. A conflict arose with the English firm Henry Taylor Tools, although Echeverría’s acorn appeared upside down from Taylor’s logo. Echeverría negotiated the use of the symbol in exchange for a 35,000 peseta payment to Taylor.

Antique Bellota trowel
Echeverría believed in sharing his business success with his workers and his community. His good works were recognized with a Spanish title in 1958.

Translated quote from Wikipedia biography Condado de Echeverría de Legazpia (Spanish)

The County of Echeverría of Legazpia (El Condado de Echeverría de Legazpia) is a title of Spanish nobility created by the Head of State Francisco Franco, on August 18 of 1958, in favor of Patricio Echeverría y Elorza, Basque metallurgical businessman, son of artisans, distinguished by his great work for society: homes, schools, libraries, nursing, and tuberculosis prevention.

The peerage was given by:

“The extraordinary merit that brings this great Spaniard, who has dedicated his life to the enhancement of the industry and the social and moral improvement of the factory workers, and deserves to be rewarded with a title of nobility that remembers the recognition of the Motherland of  one of the most significant in the task of raising the standard of living of Spanish men."

Decree granted in daily ABC , July 18, 1958, page 37

Biography & photograph of Patricio Cirilo Echeverría Elorza (Spanish)
Google Maps - area of Corporación Patricio Echeverría, Legazpi

Following is a quote from the company website:

Present in more than 120 countries, with 11 registered brands and more than 18,000 references and a team of 1,400 employees worldwide, Corporación Patricio Echeverría has manufacturing plants in Legazpi (Spain), Zumarraga (Spain), Olloqui (Spain), Illinois (USA), California (USA), Fortin de las Flores (Mexico), Manizales (Colombia), Indaial (Brazil), Hovedgard (Denmark) and lastly Nashik (India). Our headquarters are located in Legazpi, Spain, in the so-called “Valley of Iron” in Guipuzcoa where Patricio Echeverría founded the company in 1908. Corporación Patricio Echeverría has two main divisions: The Hand Tool business unit...[and] The Agrisolutions business unit....
Bellota trowels and spreaders of today

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Duck Bill Trowels and Coke Trowels

The duck bill trowel, also called a coke trowel or duckbill trowel, has a narrow taper with a round tip. A typical size is 10" x 2". Today, the duck bill trowel is used for finishing tight inside corners and curves, such as curb and gutter faces and other awkward spaces.

Coke trowels include the duck bill trowel and other shapes as shown in the 1939 Marshalltown catalog. The name originated from their use to seal coke ovens, according to Disston's 1932 catalog. Marshalltown makes 2 styles of coke trowels today, like the second and fourth from the top in the picture below. Marshalltown.com Coke Trowels
Coke oven construction

Coke Ovens Park - About the Coke Ovens

W. Rose duck bill trowel, 10 inch
Marshalltown 1939 coke trowels
Disston  No. 80 coke trowel, 1932