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.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

History of Louden Machinery Co. Cement Tools

Louden No. 2 curved edger
Louden Machinery Company is best known for cast iron barn hardware and fittings, and they also designed barns for their customers. Louden made and sold at least 7 cement tools designed for building dairy barns. As shown in their 1918 barn plans catalog, these tools supplemented the conventional edger and finishing trowel in constructing concrete floors and stalls. Tools shown in their 1918 catalog are the No. 1 straight edger, No. 2 curved edger, No. 4 small curb tool, No. 5 and No. 6 curved steel trowels. Louden's 1928 catalog features the No. 2, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6, No. 7 radius trowel, the No. 8 cut-out smoother, and the No. 9 curved edger. The 2 small tool are very similar to foundry molding tools.

Wikipedia has an excellent history of the business. "The Louden Machinery Company was an American engineering, manufacturing and design company based in Fairfield, Iowa. Founded by William Louden, the company in its early years manufactured and sold the patented hay carrier that he invented in 1867. The company later expanded into a wide variety of farm equipment and, in 1906, began an Architecture Department that reportedly designed more than 25,000 barns from 1906 to 1939." Louden also had a Canadian location in Guelph, Ontario.

Louden 1918 dairy barn plans catalog
Louden 1928 catalog

Sunday, May 14, 2017

History of Sands Level and Tool

Sands Level and Tool Co. has been manufacturing levels and other tools since the late 1890s, with an emphasis on masonry applications. In addition, Sands made cement tools for an unknown time.

J. Sand & Sons advertisement, Feb. 1914 
Julius Sand, a bricklayer, started the business in Detroit, Michigan. He was born 28 May 1858 in Danzig, Germany, and died 13 Dec. 1929 in Detroit. According to the Sands website, Sand invented the solid-set vial and a lightweight aluminum level. Julius Sand and Julius Sand Jr. received US Patent 1,087,555 for a cast aluminum level on 17 Feb. 1914. By 1922 the firm was operating as J. Sand and Sons. The business relocated to 601 Clinton St., Clinton, Indiana, and at some point was purchased by Unit Rail Anchor Co., the parent company of Hubbard Tool of Pittsburgh, PA.

While in Detroit and Clinton, Sands made a line of cement tools, primarily of conventional cast iron design. They also made cement and corner tools from stamped steel, with the brand name "Clinsteel". I was unable to determine the date that this name was introduced, but it was before 1957. Sands catalogs are very scarce, so I am unable to document manufacturing dates.

Harmon Machine Co. of Wichita, Kansas purchased Sands around 1957, and Kraft Tools bought Sands in 2005.

Sands groover, Detroit, MI
Sands groover, Clinton, IN

Sands Clinsteel corner tool, Clinton, IN 
Sands Clinsteel groovers

Monday, February 27, 2017

Drywall Corner Tools

US Patent 2616285
Some corner tools were designed for specifically for drywall, instead of both drywall and plaster. One example that I came across on US eBay received US Patent 2616285 on 4 Nov 1952.

The inventor was Samuel Tilden Shields (28 Sep 1894 - 3 Mar. 1964), born in Cleveland to John J. Shields and Harriet Van Gorder. Samuel Shields was a salesman, a contractor in Cleveland in the 1920s, and in sales again by 1942. He also received US Patent 2787820 in 1957 with Alfred Knudsen. This was for a window buck, a steel jamb for poured concrete walls.

Shields drywall corner tool