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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

History of United Engineering and Malleable, Victoria, Australia

United Engineering and Malleable manufactured cement tools, builder's hardware, and metal components in Footscray, which is 5 km west of Melbourne. They were established about 1887 and were operating as late as 1947. The original location was on Elizabeth St., and in 1944 the foundry was on Gordon St. For National Library of  Australia search results on hardware company John Danks & Son Pty., Ltd., who carried UEM's products, click here.

Thank you to Chris from Australia for photographs of his tools and links about this company.

UEM No. 119 corrugating tool
UEM 116A external angle
UEM 196 step noser (altered)
From The Age, Melbourne, Victoria, 2 May 1935:

United Engineering & Malleable's products, 1940s
....In the foundries of the United Engineering and Malleable Co. at Footscray, metal products previously imported from America and England...are being turned out....

Carried on for 48 years, the industry was originally established by Shiner and Co., in Elizabeth-street. All that time the works have specialised in mixed medium-weight job work and machinery repetition work in agricultural machinery and general engineering requirements. The process illustrated on this page is used in connection with the filling of moulds, prepared by skilled tradesmen, in the malleable iron foundry. Taken from the mixing ladle the metal is agitated, then poured into small hand ladles, each moulder carrying his ladle and pouring the metal into his own moulds. The rod shown in the hands of the tapper is 8 or 9 feet long, on the end of which is a shaped daub of clay. This is forced into the orifice, a small opening at the bottom of the cupola, for sufficient time to enable the congregation of another 5 or 6 cwt. of metal to be treated for, say, 30 minutes. As the process takes place sparks fly about in a thrilling pyrotechnic display.

"Malleable" is a term to define the making of metal ductile so as to stand up to shocks and blows, particularly in the case of articles which are too expensive to forge. Under strict scientific control, this manufacture is not completed until the moulded articles have been treated for many days in the annealing ovens, which are maintained day and night, Saturdays and Sundays, at certain temperatures. Metal parts used in the railway and electricity undertakings call for constant analysis, and pyrometer control in this way. The manufacture of detachable link sprocket chain and attachments, used in conveyors, elevators and agricultural machinery, has replaced heavy importations of this product. In the industry also is found a complete plant for the output of builders' hardware, including metal stamping, manufacturing and assembling and electroplating of different finishes, and the packing and distribution. The company reports splendid support of the Australian-made products.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

History of Iron City Tool Works

Iron City Tool Works of Pittsburgh, PA, was a medium-sized manufacturer of hand tools for railroads, mines, blacksmithing, and stone masonry. Their logo, stamped deeply into all their tools, is a 6-pointed star with IRON CITY inside the star. Older Iron City tools may also say WARRANTED CAST STEEL, as did tools of many makers. Here are 2 pages of Iron City's tools in 1937.

Pittsburgh directory 1863-64
According to Pittsburgh city directories and Ancestry.com, the business began about 1862 as Kloman & Co. iron mill in Millvale at the northeast edge of Pittsburgh. Brothers Anthony (originally Antonius) Kloman (1826-1897) and Andrew (Andreas) Kloman* had learned forging as boys in Prussia. After a year, they separated the business into 2 firms. Andrew started an iron and steel rolling mill and went on to an association with Thomas and Andrew Carnegie. Anthony began making tools using the name Kloman & Co., Iron City Forge. The tool works had a succession of partners through 1878. From 1864-66 it was Kloman & Phipps, from 1866-67 it was Kloman & Voelker, in 1867 it changed to Kloman, Buerkle & Co, and in 1872 it was Kloman, Park & Co. The first use of the secondary name Iron City Tool Works is in the 1868-69 directory.

George F. Konold & son, 1920
In 1879, Anthony Kloman gave up control of Iron City Tool Works, and the business became Park, Long & Co., with steel men David E. Park and Joseph D. Long. This lasted about 2 years, and the firm reorganized about 1881 as Iron City Tool Works, Limited. Christian Konold (1833-1888) became superintendent, and his family would eventually own the company. Christian had been hired in 1868 at Kloman, Buerkle & Co. as a hammerman, and later his 2 sons joined as forgers.  After Christian's death in 1888, his son George F. Konold (1864-1924) was superintendent for 23 years. George's brother William F. Konold (1866-1933) followed in the position, and at his death had worked for Iron City for 57 years.

William H. Hays (1847-1926), a Pittsburgh bookkeeper, managed the business beginning in 1881. He was chairman from 1887, or earlier, to 1926, and his son William H. Hays, Jr. (1877-1966) was treasurer in 1903. Son John Crossan Hays (1891-1968) followed his brother as treasurer. Nothing else about Mr. Hays's business background or his financial stake in Iron City is known. The house Mr. Hays built in the late 1880s at 5200 Westminster Place suggests that he was already wealthy or that Iron City Tool Works was very profitable for him.
Pittsburgh, 1882 map by G.M. Hopkins

The original tool works was on Butler St. (renamed Railroad St.) between Smith (30th St.) and Morton (28th St.), then at Butler St. and Wilson St. (32nd St.). In 1869 they were still at 32nd Street and Railroad St. This building expanded over the next 30 years until it occupied almost the whole block from 32nd to 33rd. By 1890 there was a second building at 32nd St. and Smallman St. Iron City suffered a fire in 1903 and rebuilt on the same spot, remaining there until 1958.

Apparently Iron City sold to wholesalers and did little advertising, and surviving catalogs are rare. I have located their 1891 product line in their New York agent's catalog, and extracted those pages for you. The Pittsburgh Commodity Index of 1913 lists Iron City's products:

bars (17 styles)
blacksmith’s tools
breast augers
caulking tools
chisels (17 styles), including brick, splitting, and stone cutters’ chisels
coal drills
coopers’ tools
hammers (18 styles), including bush, hand drilling, macadam, napping, paving, spalling, stone, and other hammers
hoes (6 styles)
mattocks (9 styles)
Iron City 6-lb. spalling hammer
mauls (6 styles)
mining machine bits
picks (19 styles)
plow anvils
punches (5 styles)
rail forks
sledges (8 styles), including limestone, pein and flat face stone, stone
spike pullers
stone workers’ axes
swages (4 styles)
tongs (3 styles)
track tools
track wrenches
vises (6 styles)
wedges (10 styles), including stone wedges

Warren Tool Corp., founded in 1911 by George F. Konold, took over Iron City in 1958. Warren made many of the tools that Iron City did. In 1994 Warren Tool was sold to Wilton Corp. of Palatine, IL, and continued to operate as Warren Tool Group until Walter Meier Holding Company AG bought Wilton in 2002. Iron City's former building at 3201 Smallman St. still stands.

 

Iron City Tool products, 1953
Iron City Tool advertisement, 1908
*Andrew Kloman is remembered for Pittsburgh's historic Smithfield Street Bridge.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

History of H.H. Harvey, Augusta, Maine

H.H. Harvey was a manufacturer of tools for quarry workers, stone masons, and blacksmiths, with a factory in Augusta, Maine, and a store and office in Boston, Massachusetts. They were in operation from 1871 to at least 1914 (possibly 1920). The business was named for Henry H. Harvey (1840-1928), a native of England. The plant was destroyed by fire in 1893, and the announcement that it was being rebuilt said that Mr. Harvey's 3 sons were then active in the business. They were George H. Harvey (1862-1902), Fred M. Harvey (1863-1945), and Frank A. Harvey (1867-after 1930). The 1894 book, Boston and Bostonians has a page about the business that is very complimentary of Henry Harvey and his products.

H.H. Harvey patent bush hammer
Alexandria, VA newspaper, 7 Nov. 1871 
In early 1913, an announcement in several trade publications said  the business was incorporating as H.H. Harvey Manufacturing Co. with a capital of $25,000, with Henry H. Harvey as president, grandson George H. Harvey (born 1886) as treasurer, and Fred M. Harvey. The 1913-14 Augusta city directory listed only the H.H. Harvey Handle Co. The 1919 Augusta directory listed only the H.H. Harvey Hammer Co. The 1920 US Census described Fred's occupation as "manufacturer, tools". The 1923 Augusta directory has no listing for a Harvey company.

Iron Age, 6 April 1893
It's indicative of the family's character that one of the newspaper articles I found was from 1874, saying that 12 year old George H. Harvey found a $5 bill on the railroad tracks on the other side of the river, and the owner could claim it at his home near the factory.
 

H.H. Harvey's 1896-97 catalog was reprinted by Early American Industries Association in 1973, indicating an early interest by collectors in Harvey's tools.  Its title is H. H. Harvey's Special Illustrated Catalogue for 1896-7: Granite, Marble and Soft Stone Workers' Blacksmiths' and Contractors' Hammers and Tools, Manufactured by Him in Augusta, Maine.

H.H. Harvey's works were at 108 Bangor St., corner of Locke St., Augusta, on the east side of the Kennebec River. There is a fire station on this site now.

For more information about patent bush hammers made by H.H. Harvey and others, see Joseph Richards and the Patent Hammer.

Augusta, ME 1878; number 23 is H.H. Harvey (right side) 
H.H. Harvey stone hammer
The Granite Cutters' Journal 1912