Edward C. Simmons entered the hardware business as an apprentice at age 16, and after 7 years at 2 firms, he was made a partner in 1863. A year later the business reorganized as Waters, Simmons & Co., and in 1870 Isaac W. Morton replaced Mr. Waters, and the name changed to E. C. Simmons & Co. The company grew rapidly, based on an ambitiously wide distribution area and house brands to fix the company’s identity in the customer’s mind. According to one account, Simmons was the first nationwide hardware brand based on a catalog, the "Hardware Encyclopedia", with thousands of illustrated pages. Simmons established warehouses in Sioux City, IA, Wichita, KS, Minneapolis, MN, Toledo, OH, New York City, and Ogden, UT.
|E.C. Simmons warehouses|
|Keen Kutter pointing trowel|
|Keen Kutter and Shapleigh edgers|
Simmons Keen Kutter Catalogue No. 776
|Bridge Tool Co. edger (Shapleigh)|
Shapleigh Hardware 1959 Catalog
Keen Kutter products are popular enough to have been faked, and fakes are common at antique shops. Although I have not seen fake masonry tools, this article is worth reading: