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, March 24, 2015

Update on Reopening of Footprint Tools

Good news for home-country manufacturing comes from the web publication DIY Week, which covers the hardware trade in the United Kingdom. The quote below is in comments on a 2009 article.

Footprint Re-Opening
3/23/2015 10:05:00 AM
By Tim Jewitt
A few years later than all the other comments but wanted to explain further what happened. 

When we entered into liquidation in 2009 we were asset rich, but cash poor. We had of plenty of assets but no cash with which to pay staff and bills with. 

The main reason for this was that we were moving to a new factory and investing in custom made forging equipment. Therefore we had ceased production to move into the new factory and had invested heavily in building up finished stock to cover us for the period of the move. 

Unfortunately the recession hit and all the cash was tied up as stock and not selling to generate cash. We had to pay wages, bills plus the additional cost of moving all our machinery (most machines were several tons in weight and are embedded in concrete foundations) led to no cash. 

As a family it was heartbreaking decision to enter Members Voluntary Liquidation. My grandfather (second generation)and father had worked there all their lives. You could say Footprint was member of our family. 

We did use the government to step in and pay the redundancy. However, much to the Civil Service's surprise (apparently this doesn't happen very often) we did fully repay the Government for all the redundancy pay that they had paid. All our staff were kept fully informed of the decision and why we had made it and what was going to happen.

When we closed the business the family still owned a lot of the assets. But it was decided to have another go, we started up smaller. When we were closing we didn't think we would re-start again so had sold off most of machinery, including our large forging equipment, to raise cash to eventually pay all our creditors and redundancy payments.

The new company is predominantly made up of old employees and we are growing. 

In January 2014 we bought a larger forge and are now forging everything ourselves. We are slowly growing the business again and winning back customers who had re-sourced to Chinese or Indian made products. 

As a family we learned that timing is everything and for us we got the timing wrong. When we closed we were turning ourselves around and investing in new custom made machinery, we were planning on growing not shrinking. 

Thank you to all our customers who have supported Footprint as we rebuild Footprint Tools and invest in British manufacturing. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spear & Jackson Catalogue Scans

Spear & Jackson 1970
There are now several scanned copies of old Spear & Jackson catalogues available here. The T3, 1961, and 1974 are from Paul, a tool collector in Australia.

Spear & Jackson Catalogue T3, around 1930

Spear & Jackson 1961 Home Catalogue (all)

Spear & Jackson 1961 Home Catalogue (trowels, saws, other builder's tools)

Spear & Jackson 1970 Hand Tool Catalogue

Spear & Jackson 1974 Catalogue

The 1970 includes Brades (WHS) and Tyzack brand tools. The contents are on page number 3, and it includes many trowels and other masonry tools. Most of my scans are 300 dpi, with inside pages in grayscale. Because of the amount of color, this scan is 150 dpi with all pages in color.