Frank Washburn Buffum (1859-1922) founded Buffum Tool Co. around 1907, after selling a telephone company. With his brother Charles, Buffum was also in the lumber business in 1909-1910 and founded the Nord-Buffum Pearl Button Co. in 1902. After Frank Buffum’s death, Buffum Tool Co. was sold in 1924 and it became Buffum Tools, Inc., William George Marqua, President. Apparently Marqua left the firm in 1926, and according to one source Buffum Tools Inc. continued to operate until about 1940.
Besides being a prolific manufacturer and energetic businessman, Frank Buffum was an inventor and held several US patents in his name. His tools have a reputation for good quality, and Buffum proudly identified them with the company name, city, and state. His distinctive trademark was a swastika with right facing arms, considered a good luck charm at that time. Buffum advertised frequently in trade publications and sold by direct mail.
By 1914, The Iron Age Directory listed Buffum Tool Co. in 29 categories. At a 1917 trade show, Buffum Tool Co. exhibited over 500 tools. Besides the above named tools, their products included tools for the machinist, mechanic, engineer, blacksmith, plumber, tinsmith, and gardener. They also made household items, a small printing press, animal traps, and wagon jacks. During World War I, Buffum made bayonets and airplane parts. Buffum’s main plant, partially rebuilt after a fire, still stands at 198 North 4th Street, Louisiana, MO. Google Maps
|Buffum Tool Co. 1921 advertisement|
|Buffum Tool Co. logo|
|Buffum Tool Co. stamp|