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, September 22, 2015

History of Staatsburg Tool Corp.

Staatsburg No. 113 curbing tool
The business that became Staatsburg Tool Corp. was located in the New York village of the same name, on the Hudson River. It was owned and operated by 4 generations of the Bodenstein family. Their specialty was ice tools, but as the demand for those disappeared, they began making cement tools.

John H. Bodenstein (1823-1875), a native of Germany, made ice tools in Staatsburg from 1858 to 1875. After his death, sons John George Bodenstein (1850-1935) and Henry Bodenstein (c. 1852-1934) ran the business as J.G. Bodenstein & Brother through at least 1892. The partnership was dissolved in the 1890s, and John G. continued as J.G. Bodenstein & Co. In 1920 they were also using Staatsburg Ice Tool Works. By 1936, the name was Staatsburg Tool Corp.

John George Bodenstein Jr. (1884-1965) continued the business until his retirement in 1957, when his nephew George N. Bodenstein (1904-1985) took it over. According to an ad in "Hardware Age" in 1970, Staatsburg Tool Corp made cement and plaster tools and a scaling hammer. The company's buildings and all equipment were sold at auction 14 July, 1984. The last mailing address was in nearby Sharon, CT. The New York corporation was dissolved in 1995.

The factory was 2 buildings on River Rd. at Church St., in the center of town. The original plant dated to 1888, and was destroyed by fire in 1919. It was rebuilt in 1920. For a list of all the company's equipment in 1984, see here.

Employee Cecil Parker, Bodenstein Ice Tool factory, 1890-1900 

The Bodenstein family were prolific inventors, including ice harvesting and cutting devices and cooking vessels in their patents:
Henry Bodenstein, 11 patents (including 1 name misspelling)
Antoinette P. Bodenstein, 1 patent
John George Bodenstein, 5 patents (including misspellings)
John G. Bodenstein & Jr., 4 patents

Credit for the obituary is "The Rhinebeck Gazette" 18 March 1965. Credit for the photo is the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.


  1. Hi, I just found at a flea market in Mississippi antique ice tongs. They are marked B. R. ROBERSON 4 STAATSBURG-O. Would these have been made by Staatsburg Tool Co? Thanks Ben

  2. Good evening I found an ice ax with a round front and a curved pointed back marked just Staatsburg with a zero on the underside of the back. this piece is hand pounded. . it's 11" long and weights 3 lbs. Is this an early piece made by John H. Bodestein Thanks Al

    1. Yes, good chance of it. Staatsburg is a very small place, so he was probably the only maker there.