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, December 5, 2014

History of W.H. Anderson, Detroit, Michigan

W.H. Anderson was a manufacturer and supplier of tools for stonemason's tools, cement tools, and other tools. They were located at 14 and 16 Macomb St., Detroit, Michigan, but no old buildings are in this area now. William Henry Anderson (1837–1914) founded the company in 1870 or 1871, took his 3 sons into the business, and it operated at least to World War II, when Harold Stewart was president. They used the names W.H. Anderson & Son, W.H. Anderson & Sons, and Anderson Tool & Supply Co. Here is a complete catalog of their cement tools from about 1910:
W.H. Anderson's Tools and Supplies for Cement Workers

Many of Anderson's stone hammers and chisels can be seen in this circa 1940 catalog; tools for working stone begin on page 35 of the scanned copy: J.M. Waterston Catalog

William Henry Anderson
"William H. Anderson, of the firm W.H. Anderson & Son, manufacturer of stonecutter’s tools and supplies, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1837. He received a liberal education and learned the tool and smithing trade. In 1856 he emigrated to America, spending some time in New York State. He settled in Detroit in 1861, working as a journeyman at his trade. In 1865 he became mastersmith at Fort Wayne, in the employ of the government, remaining three years. In 1868 he went to Pittsburgh, Pa. In 1870 he returned to Detroit and founded his present manufacturing business, purchasing a lot and erecting his factory and smith shop, of 40x106 feet, and 3 stories high, at Nos. 14 and 16 Macomb Street. In 1886 his son, James D. Anderson, was admitted as partner. William Anderson married Janet [or Jannet] McVittie in 1863. She was born in Scotland and died in 1865, leaving one son, James D., who was born in 1864. William Anderson married Elizabeth McVittie [Jannet's older sister] in 1871. They have three children, William R., Gilbert J., and Mary M."
History of Detroit and Wayne County and Early Michigan, 1890

In 1919 the company celebrated its 48th anniversary, and all 3 of the founder's sons were officers:
James D. Anderson, president 
Gilbert J. Anderson, vice president
William R. Anderson, secretary Biography
Article on Google Books

Set of Anderson stone chisels

Anderson brass edger
Anderson chisel

W.H. Anderson brass groover

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