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, February 15, 2016

Astle Tool Co. of Annandale, NJ, and Union Steel Tool Co., Plainfield, NJ

Iron Trade Review, Vol. 47, 1910
Steel, Vol. 48, 1911
Astle Tool Co. of Annandale, New Jersey and Union Tool Steel Co., Plainfield, NJ were connected by the same tool maker. George W. Astle was born 10 Oct., 1861, in New Jersey, and died in 1941. Astle was trained as a blacksmith by his father, James T. Astle. George Astle made a brick trowel, mill picks, facing hammers, and other tools for stone. He worked in Annandale in Hunterdon County up to 1910, when he joined with businessmen Thomas F. Budlong and Ellsworth P. Baylor to form Union Steel Co., also called Union Steel Tool Co., with offices in nearby Plainfield, Union County, NJ. Apparently the business was short-lived or was bought by another tool maker, because no advertisements or articles appear after 1911. Union Tool Steel Co. is not listed in the 1912 Plainfield directory.

There is more information about George W. Astle in the book, Early Tools of New Jersey and the Men Who Made Them, by Alexander Farnham. Astle's brick trowel is pictured on page 65. It is deeply stamped G. W. ASTLE ANNANDALE, N.J. U.S.A. An 1886 panoramic map of Annandale shows James T. Astle's shop.

G.W. Astle mill pick head

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