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.

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

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