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, October 23, 2015

Gauging Trowels

Tyzack gauging trowel
In the plastering trade, gauging means mixing specific proportions of plaster or cement with water. It has also meant a particular mix of plaster, which might be called the gauge, and a gauge board would be used for mixing plaster.

The gauging trowel is a versatile tool used by plasterers for  mixing (gauging) small amounts of plaster, pulling plaster out of a bucket, and occasionally for applying small amounts of plaster to a wall or surface.

WHS gauging trowel
One of the best books on decorative plastering, Plastering, Plain and Decorative, by William Millar, 1905, refers to 2 sizes of gauging trowels. The smaller one was like a pointing trowel, 6 by 3 inches, with a point. The larger one was 7 to 9 inches long by 3 to 3½ inches, tapering to a round tip.

The modern gauging trowel is sized in between those, with a round end. Gauging trowels are manufactured on both sides of the Atlantic, but a comparison of UK eBay and US eBay shows that old gauging trowels are much more common in the United Kingdom. This is a result of plastering being more common in the UK than the US.
Plastering Plain & Decorative, William Millar 1905

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Gutter Tools

Gutter tool, maker unknown
The gutter tool is for shaping concrete gutters for streets, sidewalks, driveways, and floors in factories, institutions, and farm structures. The traditional gutter tool is the size of an edger or groover, with a dished bottom which rises to a lip on 3 sides and square on one end. They were cast iron or bronze, with wooden handles.

The gutter tool was developed when the use of concrete increased dramatically in the late 1800s and early 1900s, replacing brick, gravel, or dirt surfaces. The first concrete street in the United States was laid in 1891, the 100 block of Main St. in Bellefontaine, Ohio. In 1893 the 100 block of East Court Ave., a block away, was paved, and this original pavement is preserved.
Portland cement, 19272% increase 1890-1909
Building Age, Vol. 32, May 1910
Gutter tool, 1904
Gutter tool and other cement tools, 1910