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.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sewer Trowels

The sewer trowel is an extra-wide heel brick trowel, usually with a shorter 5-inch handle and the shape of the London pattern. W. Rose is the only company I found in the US or UK who still makes a sewer trowel. The sewer trowel has also been called the New England pattern by W. Rose and Disston (1918 catalog) and the Boston pattern by Marshalltown (catalog number 45).

Although hidden below ground, brick sewers were one of the greatest construction achievements of the industrialized nations in the 19th and early 20th centuries. A few are open for public tours either regularly or occasionally. The sewer trowel was made for the unique needs of this construction.

W. Rose 1929 catalog
W. Rose 9½ inch sewer trowel

Additional information:
How brick sewers were built, 1908 book
Brick sewer construction, 1917 article
Paris sewer history
Paris Sewer Museum, Musée des égouts de Paris
Building London’s sewers was the biggest civil engineering project in the world at the time.
A glimpse into London's early sewers
The octagon room at Crossness Pumping Station, Belvedere, Kent, UK
History of the Newark, NJ sewer system
"Notes On Building Construction", Brick Drains and Sewers

Brick sewer
Brick sewer construction

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