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, July 4, 2016

History of Ennis Manufacturing Co. and Vernontown Tools

Ennis catalog cover
Organized 24 Dec. 1929, Ennis Manufacturing Co. took over the factory of Reading Saddle & Manufacturing Co., 316 Maple St., Reading, PA. John L. Ennis had been one of the organizers of Reading Saddle in 1900. By 1944 Ennis had moved to 8th and Oley Streets, Reading.

Ennis made many of the hardware specialties that Reading Saddle had made, with fewer cast iron items and more forged steel tools. The quality of Ennis products ranged from low to average, for the household market. Later Ennis items carried the brand name Vernontown Tools. These included average quality concrete and plaster finishing trowels in carbon steel and stainless steel, guaranteed against blade breakage. Both Ennis and Vernontown items have a logo of "NS" in a diamond, a phonetic rendering of "Ennis".

Ennis's building was damaged by fire 28 Jan. 1969, but the company continued operating for an unknown time. The Vernontown trademark was taken over by Barco Industries for "masonry tools; namely, margin trowels, pointing trowels, brick trowels, plastering trowels, spreaders, floats, putty knives, linoleum knives, scrapers, groovers, edgers, and tampers."  The Vernontown trademark was cancelled 21 Feb. 2004. Barco history is covered at Yesteryears Tools.

Vernontown stainless steel plastering trowel 11'' X 4.5 ''


  1. I know ted Ennis who ran this after his father and brother died.he is still living in Fla at 89 yrs old. His son is in reading still

  2. I'm sitting with Ted right now having a cocktail, he turned 90 last Friday. He is one cool dude.

    1. If you could ask Ted to contact me, I would really appreciate it! I am an Ennis descendent and would really appreciate the opportunity to talk to him about the history of our family's company.

    2. Please email me