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, April 27, 2016

Montgomery Ward & Co. Lakeside Tools


American retailer Montgomery Ward & Co. used Lakeside Saw & Tool Co. and Lakeside as house brand names for tools, knives, razors, cutlery, and other items. Many of these items did not carry the Montgomery Ward name, and gave the impression that Lakeside was an independent manufacturer. Because there is no published history of the Lakeside brand to set the record straight, that has led to much speculation on internet forums on the maker of Lakeside tools. Lakeside Saw & Tool Co. was incorporated 24 January, 1908, with a token $1,000 of capital stock, and address at 120 Michigan Ave., Chicago. By 1911, its address was 108 W. Chicago Ave. Both locations were Montgomery Ward's buildings. On this evidence, we conclude that Lakeside Saw & Tool Co. was a subsidiary of Montgomery Ward & Co. Other subsidiaries in 1911 were Lakeside Foundry Co. and Lakeside Implement & Vehicle Co.

Certified List of Illinois Corporations, 1911
Lakeside Saw & Tool logo
Researching the history of the Lakeside brand would be easy with access to Ward’s catalogs over the 128 years the company operated. However, only the 1916 and 1920 have been scanned and are available for viewing and download. These are on Archive.org, and I have edited both down to the pages with tools. Based on these, we can say that the Lakeside brand was well-established by 1916 and was used on their first-quality items. According to a limited-view Google scan of a 1950 Montgomery Ward catalog, another brand had replaced Lakeside by that time. Wards Master Quality tools were higher priced than Lakeside tools.

As with other house brands like Sears Craftsman, Lakeside tools were likely manufactured by various independent companies. These would have contracted with Montgomery Ward to supply items of a specified quality with the Lakeside name etched, stamped, or on a label or decal. Because Ward guaranteed satisfaction with their goods, it was imperative that Ward buy items free of defects. Based on tools that have survived, we know that Lakeside tools were well-finished. Where the tool allowed it, the Lakeside logo is large with impressive script. In the picture above, notice the MW worked into the design, for Montgomery Ward.

In 1916-20, the Lakeside line included a full selection of brick and plasterer's trowels, cement tools, and stone tools.

Montgomery Ward 1916 catalog pages with tools
Montgomery Ward 1916 catalog on Archive.org

Montgomery Ward 1920 catalog pages with tools
Montgomery Ward 1920 catalog on Archive.org

Montgomery Ward 1916 catalog, page 904 
Montgomery Ward 1920 catalog, page 907
Ward's Master Quality forged brick trowel

Friday, April 22, 2016

History of J.W. Mixter Saw Tool Co.

Jason Woods Mixter
J.W. Mixter Saw Tool Co. of Plymouth, Massachusetts, made tools for maintaining large circular saws and a few other tools. These included the mill pick pictured in their 1893 catalog. Mill pick patents were common at this time, but I could not locate a patent for the Mixter pick. The highly tempered blade could be removed for sharpening, extended as it wore down, and replaced. It's not apparent from the picture how the blade was fastened in the head, but it may have been a wedging device. The Mixter No. 1 pick's blade was 1-1/8 inches wide and the No. 2 was 1-1/4 inches wide. Mixter picks were very expensive even with the 10 blades included, $8.00 and $10.00 in 1893.

According to the 1893 catalog, the business began in 1858 and was incorporated 1888. It was named for Jason Woods Mixter (1837-1924), born in Worcester County, MA. Nothing is yet known of his early life and training, but he married late, at age 28, to Lydia Edes, daughter of prominent Plymouth resident Oliver Edes. The marriage furthered Mixter's business interests. Mixter was a partner in zinc mines with his father-in-law and brother-in-law Edwin L. Edes, and Mixter also served on the board of directors of the Plymouth and Middleborough Railroad. Mixter's home was at 116 Court St.

Mixter Improved Mill-Stone Pick
It is unknown how long Mixter Saw Tool Co. operated, but their products were mentioned in print as late as 1912. The company appeared in business directories a decade later, although these may not be reliable. According to one source, they were at Town Square, Plymouth, city directories have the address as Market St. in 1890 and Church St. in 1905. The 1903 map below gives another location east of Sumner St., which is an apartment complex today. Mixter's was one of many industries in the 19th and early 20th century Plymouth, making rope, nails, rivets, textiles, as described in the 2008 book, A Guide to Historic Plymouth

Mixter himself appears to have been vigorous into old age. His wife died when he was 54, he remarried at age 73 in 1910, and he lived to age 87.

Here is the complete J.W. Mixter 1893 catalog.

Jason W. Mixter, Plymouth, MA 1903

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Concrete Chipping Hammers and Bush Chisels

The Vulcan Tool Manufacturing Company's 1933 catalog shows a hammer and handled chisels for chipping concrete. Note that the heads are shown upside down. The complete catalog is here.

Vulcan Tool Mfg. Co. 1933 catalog, page 29