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 Reading Saddle & Manufacturing Co.

Hardware Dealers' Magazine 1913 (note misspelling)
Hardware Dealers' Magazine 1922
Reading Saddle & Manufacturing Co. was one of many U.S. makers of cast iron cement tools at the beginning of the 20th century. They were organized in 1900 to take over the American Saddle Company's works, which made bicycle saddles. They occupied a 2-story brick plant surrounded by housing in the industrial city of Reading, Pennsylvania. The 45 by 60 foot building at 316-318 Maple St. was built for Reading Nickel Plating & Electrical Co., founded in 1883, which did electroplating and manufactured electric motors and dynamos and sold those made by others. American Saddle may have replaced the electrical side of the business before closing. Reading Saddle & Manufacturing's organizers included one of the plating company's officers, and Reading continued to operate the metal plating side of the business. Their cement tools were nickel plated.

By 1922, Reading Saddle & Manufacturing Co. had expanded their plant to 316-332 Maple St., and added a weeding hoe, block planes, and a hacksaw to their large line of hardware specialties. Specifically, this included box and can openers, butcher knives, carpet stretchers, cast hammers, cement tools, chisels, clamps, cleavers, coat and towel hooks and racks, glue pots, hatchets, ice picks, levels, lunch boxes, pincers, pliers, plumb bobs, pulleys, putty knives, sad iron handles, screwdrivers, shears, spading forks, tongs, vises, wall scrapers, window sash hardware, and wrenches. Reading Saddle's products may be identified with these variations in spellings and letter spacings:

Reading Saddle #63 curbing edger 
R.S.&MFG.CO.
R.S. & MFG. CO.
R. S. & MFG. CO.
Reading Saddle & Mfg. Co.

The 1929 Reading city directory lists Reading Saddle at 316 Maple St. By the end of 1929 Ennis Manufacturing Co., which also manufactured hardware specialties, had replaced Reading Saddle at 316 Maple St. John L. Ennis had been one of the organizers of Reading Saddle in 1900.

Reading, PA was also the location of the larger and older Reading Hardware Co., which had no known connection with Reading Saddle.

Reading Saddle & Mfg. Co. Cement Tools

Reading Saddle #2 edger, nickel plated

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