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.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

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.    

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