The Ironmonger – The King of Hardware Trade Journals By Geoffrey Tweedale

The Ironmonger - The King of Hardware Trade Journals By Geoffrey Tweedale

Anyone who has picked up an old saw, plane, or knife soon looks for a trade mark or maker’s name. These can identify and sometimes date an artefact. But one often wants to know more about the history of the manufacturer or individual. Reference books and other published sources – such as newspapers and directories – can sometimes provide a lead. But they do not usually give much detail. Ideally, business records – letters, accounts ledgers, and old pattern books – should help. But not many tool and cutlery enterprises have left an archive trail. So where does one look?

In the late 1970s, I pondered this question, when I was researching the 19th century Sheffield cutlery and tool trades. I tried trawling through consecutive years of one Sheffield newspaper, but soon gave this up as too laborious. Trade journals seemed to offer a more focused source, so I began looking at leading Victorian periodicals, such as The Engineer and Engineering. These were useful and the volumes were often indexed.

However, the space devoted to hand tools and cutlery was inevitably limited. Perhaps surprisingly, Sheffield did not have its own trade journal, but I soon discovered that specialist iron and hardware journals had been published in England since the late 19th century. One in particular looked promising.

the Ironmonger-02 That journal was The Ironmonger. The only place it seemed to be available in a complete run was the British Library’s Newspaper Division at Colindale, north London. That was convenient in one respect, because I lived in London. But Colindale was on the distant reaches of the underground railway and a visit involved a three-hour round trip.

The Newspaper Division was an Aladdin’s Cave of newspapers and journals (put simply, its miles of shelving held runs of almost every British newspaper and journal ever published). But it was always a forbidding place to work. I once heard the head of the Division describe working there as like being ‘exiled to Siberia’.

The building was more akin to a depository than a library and in those days was devoid of facilities like a café or even a drinks machine. Worse, it was set in a residential suburb which was similarly devoid of shops and cafés. Volumes could only be ordered from the stacks a few at a time and photocopying was expensive.

It was soon evident, though, that The Ironmonger was a mine of information on tools, cutlery, and general hardware products. I opened my first volume and almost immediately in the issue dated 30 May 1863 discovered a the Ironmonger-03detailed account of Mappin Bros – one of Sheffield’s leading cutlery factories. A quick look through the other volumes on my table showed that it was a journal thick with news items and advertisements on tools and cutlery.

It was like a mine in other respects, too, since it was also apparent that consulting its pages would involve a lot of hard digging. The issues were bound into volumes that were squat, bulky, and often covered only a few months.

Scanning every issue of more than a decade’s run of the journal would be a serious undertaking. Inevitably, I sampled the journal and, after turning up lots of useful information and references, turned my attention to other sources. I always promised myself that one day I would return to The Ironmonger, though I did not think it would be another thirty years before I did so.the Ironmonger-04

In that period, much has changed. Computers and digitization have made 19th century newspapers more accessible, so that the extensive trawls of hard copy Sheffield newspapers I conducted at Colindale have largely become unnecessary. Indeed, Colindale library no longer exists. The British Library has abandoned it and dispersed its stock. Sadly, The Ironmonger has not been digitized and it remains a frustrating journal to consult, because so few libraries have a run.

However, I was recently able to re-acquaint myself with this journal after tracking down another set at the Museum of English Rural Life at Reading University. To look along The Ironmonger shelves at Reading is to be staggered by the sheer bulk of the journal. Not only are the volumes big and heavy (see photo above), but the run seems almost endless, spanning two bays of shelves.

I did not have time to count every volume, but the number certainly exceeds 200. The scale of this publishing undertaking generated a history of its own, which can be usefully explored before assessing The Ironmonger as a source.

The Ironmonger has a history, too

Tthe Ironmonger-05he journal can be traced – perhaps appropriately – to an ironmonger. It was founded by William Vaughan Morgan (1826-1892), who came from an entrepreneurial Welsh family. In 1852, William acquired a hardware business in London and was soon joined by his brothers – Septimus, Thomas, Walter, Octavius, and Edward. (The group photo shows William seated in the middle behind the table). In 1855, the firm became Morgan Brothers.

The brothers issued a price list. As the business began to thrive, the Morgans expanded the scope of this list by adding items of trade news. The result was a monthly circular that was offered to ironmongers and tradesmen for a subscription. On 31 May 1859, the first issue of Morgan’s Monthly Circular & Metal Trades Advertiser appeared. Three months later it became THE IRONMONGER & METAL TRADES ADVERTISER.

the Ironmonger-06Within a few months the circulation had rocketed from under a thousand to 10,000. By 1860, volume II had 112 pages and was priced at 5 shillings a year [25 pence/42 cents]. Almost immediately, the brothers launched another journal, The Chemist & Druggist, which was an offshoot of the druggists’ sundries side of the Morgan’s factoring business. The Morgans also started other long-running trade papers, such as The Grocer (1861) and The British Trade Journal (1863).

The Ironmonger was not a technical journal, but a trade paper, and as such was a pioneer. The publishers later claimed – with some justice – that it was the first trade newspaper. It was published in London and until 1930 the managers and editors were based at No, 42 Cannon Street, EC. By 1865, each issue had sixteen pages of news and 40 pages of advertisements.

In 1878, the journal began publishing weekly and in the following year The Ironmonger Diary & Hardware Buyers’ Guide was launched as a companion.

William Vaughan Morgan was briefly the first editor. But the family had other profitable interests (notably the Morgan Crucible Co, of Battersea, London). Eventually, other full-time editors and journalists were appointed, though the Morgan family remained involved in the 20th century. After the First World War, the firm was known as Morgan Brothers (Publishers) Ltd.the Ironmonger-07

The Ironmonger was still going strong in 1959. A direct family link with the founders of the business was maintained. The journal had an editorial staff of ten, a supplements department, and an enquiry section with five full-time staff answering phone and mail questions from subscribers.

In that year, the publishers prepared a special Centenary issue. In true Ironmonger style, this was no mere pamphlet, but a glossy 328-page paperback, filled with advertisements and special essays – including a detailed history of the enterprise itself.

Sadly, the Centenary volume was a swansong. The disappearance of the traditional ironmonger in Britain, combined with the decline of so many of the country’s traditional hardware manufacturers, robbed The Ironmonger of its market.

The journal (and The Ironmonger Diary) disappeared in 1966 and Morgan Brothers was soon swallowed by rival publishing conglomerates.

the Ironmonger-08What’s in The Ironmonger?

The editors had a clear vision of the role of the journal. In the words of one director: ‘It is concerned with helping people to make a living’, by disseminating business news quickly and in a permanent form. Thus a large part of each issue has solid blocks of print, which present trade reports, information on new products, and tours of the latest exhibitions, both national and international. Most issues had trade reports from the hardware districts – Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Sheffield, Leeds, Cleveland, and Scotland.

The report (shown right) for Wolverhampton and district, 25 April 1885, commented:

The irothe Ironmonger-09n bolt door business lacks animation. Fish-tail bolts for South America have also become tame. Mr R. Lees is doing more on home than export account. The washer and kettle and bucket ear trade does not improve, and galvanised goods are particularly the subject of severe competition. This, at any rate, is the view taken by Lealey & Lees, who have an extensive connection.

This extract gives a flavour of the reports: broadly descriptive, often arcane, but useful. The range of industries covered by The Ironmonger is enormous. It is a major source on the history of the iron, steel, and gun trades. The staples of ironmongery – nails, buckets, pots and pans, lawnmowers, sanitary and plumbing requisites – are covered in overwhelming detail.

The journal is, of course, a treasure trove of information on woodworking tools. Makers of saws, planes, axes, and joiner’s tools feature in almost every issue. Company profiles and ‘tours’ of the works were an Ironmonger speciality.

Awards and official appointments were well ‘puffed’. In the late 19th century, the annual appointment of a Master Cutler in Sheffield (such as J.F. Atkinson in 1892) usually merited an article and an addition to the ‘Portrait Gallery’.

Besides the pages of gossip, ephemera, trademarks, and obituaries, one notable feature of the journal was the publication after 1868 of special supplements several times a year.

the Ironmonger-10For example, a ‘Supplement on the Paris Exhibition’ appeared on 19 October 1878. It featured, inter alia, a discussion of the saws of Henry Disston, Philadelphia (while noting that leading English houses, such as Spear & Jackson, had not exhibited). This was a recurrent theme in the journal in the late 19th century: Britain’s standing in the world, compared with rivals in the hardware trade, such as the USA.the Ironmonger-11

On 7 December 1878, for example, an article compared ‘English and American Axes’ and betrayed anxiety at US advances in the trade.

Perhaps the most striking feature of The Ironmonger is the amount of advertising. It was not called the ‘Trades Advertiser’ for nothing. By the 1880s, advertisements packed the back pages and took up a substantial part of the journal.

Even The Ironmonger Diary was dominated by advertisements. For example, one copy in the author’s possession (1952) has a diary section of about 100 pages; but advertisements cover nearly 600 pages! Victorian advertisements often included fine engravings, woodcuts, and fancy letter-work depicting factories, products, and trade marks.

By the next century, advertisements were becoming plainer, though even in the interwar period the art work (sometimes in colour) could be striking.

These advertisements are not simply visually appealing; they also help identify leading firms and products, without spending hours or days searching the journal’s text.


the Ironmonger-12



Of course, one should remember that The Ironmonger is not simply a source for in-formation on woodworking tools. Its pages are laden with articles and advertisements on general hardware the Ironmonger-17products: everything from washing machines to vacuum cleaners; from chimney sweeping machinery to sanitary wares; from mousetraps to steel wool.

To turn the pages, even as late as the 1950s, is to be reminded of the vast range of products Britain once produced. It is a mirror for a vanished age, when manufacturing reigned supreme and when customers were spoiled for choice from a seemingly endless range of products.

Inevitably, that ‘mirror’ image is refracted through a particular lens. The journal was owned by self-made men and written for ironmongers, shopkeepers, and manufacturers of similar mind.

The tone towards captains of industry was respectful and often fawning. It is not a journal to read, say, for its reports on labour and health and safety issues.

One wonders, too, about The Ironmonger’s accuracy. Its editors were usually knowledgeable journalists – for example, William Edwin Frier (editor, 1878-98) had a wide experience of the Sheffield trade – but the journal must have relied on freelancers. The need to create ‘copy’ every week would have added other pressures.

The reports from the districts are sometimes bland and uninformative.

Not all the data and opinion can be taken as gospel, since often the main source was manufacturers and tradesmen themselves. Profiles of individuals and factories need to be read with caution.

Generally, the standard was good and the editors were not always afraid to take a strong line.

One of the most persistent Ironmonger themes was the threat of foreign competition and the failure of some British manufacturers to meet this challenge. Overall, one can make allowances for the subjectivity of the trade press. More difficult to overcome is the size of The Ironmonger and its availability.

Where to read The Ironmonger

Morgan Bros Centenary (1959) noted that since May 1859, 4,457 issues of The Ironmonger had been published. One might expect that runs of the journal and individual issues would be plentiful. But the journal is surprisingly rare. Perhaps the sheer volume of paper generated year by year meant that subscribers soon threw it out.

As far as I know, the libraries in the former hardware centres of Sheffield and Birmingham do not have a run. In nearly forty years of research, I have never seen a copy of The Ironmonger in Sheffield. It is sometimes possible to acquire second-hand copies of The Ironmonger Diary or the Centenary volume, but even these are less common than one might imagine.

The British Library retains the run of the journal I saw years ago at Colindale. Now that the latter has been closed, the journal can be consulted at the British Library’s main St Pancras site. London is crowded, expensive (especially for out-of-towners), and the British Library does not allow the use of digital cameras. So it is difficult to feel enthusiastic about working there.

I would, however, recommend the library of the Museum of English Rural Life at Reading University ( It is set in pleasant surroundings, the librarians are very helpful, The Ironmonger is on open shelf, and one can use a camera. Moreover, the library has runs of other journals, which vie with The Ironmonger for their coverage of the tool trades.

These include The Implement & Machinery Review and the Hardware Trade Journal. If one becomes bored with reading dusty old journals, then a tour of the Museum provides an excellent diversion.

Most of The Ironmonger has never been read by contemporary researchers. Its riches remain locked within its vast volumes. I have never had time to do more than sample its pages. This is due to its bulk, the lack of finding aids, and the Everest-like challenge of ever reading it from cover to cover. But the Museum at Reading at least provides comfortable surroundings for those who are mad enough to make the attempt.

Further reading
  • Sir Austin Uvedale Morgan Hudson MP, The Brothers Morgan (1953).
  • The Story of The Ironmonger: The Growth of a Trade Journal’, in The Ironmonger Centenary Number 1859-1959 (London, 1959).
About the author

Geoffrey Tweedale is a specialist in the Sheffield cutlery and tool trades.

HCOVER1-Tweedale's Directory 2nd edn (2014)-300is latest publication is Tweedale’s Directory of Sheffield Cutlery Manufacturers 1740-2013: Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition (2014), pp. 740. This volume contains histories of over 1,600 cutlery manufacturers. It is available from

His previous publications include

  • Sheffield Steel and America: A Century of Commercial and Technological Interdependence, 1830-1930 (Cambridge University Press, 1987);
  • Steel City: Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Technology in Sheffield, 1743-1993 (Oxford University Press, 1995);
  • The Sheffield Knife Book: A History and Collectors’ Guide (Hallamshire Press, 1996).

Geoffrey Tweedale
July, 2017
© All Rights Reserved


The PDF version of this article is available here for download.

Unusual Panel Saw by the American Saw Co.

American saw Co. Saw blade etch - featured image.

This article was authored by Wiktor Kuc and Joe Steiner.

Some time ago Joe Steiner (former partner at Sauer & Steiner Toolworks) sent me this email:

“Hey Wiktor,

I don’t know if this interests you but here are some pics of a saw from a co. that is the first example I have seen (maybe you have some examples) but which I would think are relatively scarce. The saw was in rough shape and the etching was nowhere to be seen behind some very thick rust. I saw the handle in a pile of saws and it screamed special. Cleaned it a bit but didn’t want to go too far. It will never be a collector or even a user saw because of the unfortunate breakage on the nose but what a cool etch. I wonder if this was advertising in a useful form for their patented removable teeth in the circular blades that they may be more famous for. I don’t know if you want to include it in the stuff you have on the American Saw co site.

Panel Saw

American Saw Co. – Panel Saw

Specifics on the saw… 20″s now but has been broken so was a little longer, closed drop beech handle held on with 4 split nuts (2 on back MIA) and a graphic 1″ Warranted Superior medallion with eagle holding arrows below 8 (9?)Stars. Mr. FARMER was very proud of his saw because he signed it on both sides. The etch in the middle of the blade –  “MANUFACTURED BY AMERICAN SAW CO, NEW YORK XLNT WARRANTED SUPERIOR EMERSON’S PATENT JULY 16th 1867”.

I don’t know if there was something special on that date but his patents weren’t on this date. I love the “XLNT”, short for excellent?

Joe Steiner”

The Saw

This handsaw was made by the company, known for their mill saws and saw maintenance tools. The handle is nicely shaped in traditional English style, with a well defined “lamb’s tongue”. Unusual etch in bold font with Emerson’s patent “loudly” pronounced and emphasized.

I believe this is very rare example. I have been asking some serious saw collectors about saws made by American Saw Co., but no one has seen this kind of saw. This rarity and unusual etch makes this saw, in my view, an important and valuable collectable item.

So, here it is…

Blade Length PPI/Mark/Type Nib Design Type Blade Mark/
Handle Screws/ L. Screw Estimated Prod. Date
20 -22″ 10/No/
rip filing
none Panel Saw Etch Beechwood 3/1 1867 – 1870
20" handsaw by American Saw Co.

20″ handsaw by the American Saw Co.


Well, it was probably 22″ saw, before the toe was broken off.


Manufactured By American Saw Co. New York XLNT Warranted Superior Emerson’s Patent July 16th, 1867.

Emerson Patents

The patent date referenced on the etch, July 16, 1867, refers to patent No. 66,692 received by Emerson for an “Improvement in Saw”.

Illustration from patent No. 66,692 awarded to James E. Emerson on July 16, 1867.

Illustration from patent No. 66,692 awarded to James E. Emerson on July 16, 1867.

Patent’s narrative provides, in part, the following information:

“The first part of my invention consists in providing the saw with apertures or perforations, a series or plurality of which extend consecutively and in a definite line from or near the throat or point of juncture each pair of teeth, and which subserve the purpose of facilitating the sharpening of the saw, as will be hereinafter more fully explained.

The second part of my invention consists in a novel method of forming the saw with clearing-teeth, in connection with chambers or openings in the blade, for purpose of removing the sawdust from the kerf, and cutting off the ridge which remains at the base of the kerf in consequence of the “set” position of the teeth. … It is of course to be understood that this embodiment of several varieties of teeth in a single blade is merely to condense the illustration, the individual saws, as manufactured, necessarily embracing but one kind of working tooth.” 

It is obvious that the patent date in the etch has nothing to do with this saw and is pointing to a patent Emerson received for another of his many designs of circular and long crosscut saws and theirs teeth.  I can only speculate a purpose for which this handsaw was made. The following comes to mind:

The 1867 was a special year for Emerson.  The American Saw Company was formed in January 1866 and by the beginning of 1867 the management of the company decided to participate in The Paris World Exposition 1867.  The Exposition opening was scheduled for April 1st and Emerson was preparing to make a mark at this exhibition.

The Trenton Daily State Gazette reported on January 3, 1867 the following: “An interesting affair occurred at the American Saw Company’s works on New Year’s Day. The employees of that establishment were regaled with a dinner served upon a mammoth circular saw about twenty-two feet in circumference, now in course of manufacture for the Paris Exposition. In connection with this reunion around the festive saw, a handsome saw and swage of solid gold were presented by the employees to Mr. J. E. Emerson, the director of the works.”

By the end of February the saw was ready and for one day was displayed in Trenton for public viewing. The Trenton Daily State Gazette posted following announcement on February 28, 1867: “The Mammoth Saw Manufactured in this city by the American Saw Company will be on exhibition at Brearley, Cogill & Co’s hardware store, this day and evening only, corner of State and Green street. This saw is seven feet and four inches in diameter and is designed for the World’s Fair in Paris.”

The 1867 was also a year during which Emerson was awarded seven (!) patents. Just in March alone, as he was finalizing preparation for the Expo, he received two patents.

It is clear that “our” saw is a commemorative of Emerson’s patent No. 66,692 and most likely was designed for marketing purposes. It is also possible, that the saw was designed to be a gift to a special attendee of the Paris Expo or to other prominent personality, associated with American Saw Company. It is unquestionable that the saw was made with special care and the whole design is a convincing argument of that.

How this saw landed in Canada where Joe Steiner found it is a puzzle for another article…

English style handle in beechwood, three flat-head screws with split nuts and one medallion.

English style handle in beechwood, three flat head screws with split nuts and one medallion. “Farmer” – carved on the handle. Most likely the owner of the saw.

"Farmer" - carved on the handle's back side as well.

“Farmer” – carved on the handle’s back side as well.

Warranted Superior medallion and three flat-head saw screws.

Warranted Superior medallion and three flat-head saw screws.

This medallion kept me at attention for a long time. There are variety reasons for that and I will explore them next.

The Medallion

Important note: the following analysis are my own (Wiktor), and for any silliness in my observations the reader might find here, I am the one that should take blame, not Joe Steiner. Critique and disagreements are welcome and should be also directed to me.

Here is the medallion from a panel saw made by the American Saw Company (for The Paris World Exposition 1867?) and discussed above.

Rare design of an eagle.

Rare design of an eagle.

Question: Where this medallion came from? Why the eagle is so different from the other we usually see on majority of American saws? Was it made in US or in England?

One of the observations I have is that this medallion is very rare. It was used on a saw discussed in this article and no other examples are known to me.

To analyze a bit further I reviewed all saws I have and then multiple websites, forums and blogs on Internet. I also used Google Image Search but no other examples showed up, except one.  Here it is:

The same type medallion found on Internet.

The same type medallion found on Internet.

Although at first glance this medallion appears to be identical, there are small variations that, after close examination, are apparent. With that in mind, I assume that the creator of this medallion continued to use the same motive of eagle, but it was probably a different die, made at different time. He actually, in my view, came very close.

Smaller version - face and sides.

Smaller version – face and back sides.

I found this medallion on a TreasureNet website/forum at this location. It was posted there with a request for info. Unfortunately, no explanation or further elaboration is available there.

My next step was to review again the type of Warranted Superior medallions used in US in early years. Below I gathered a few examples of Warranted Superior medallions from American saws – late 1840 to late 1860:

Warranted Superior medallions with "American" eagle.

Warranted Superior medallions with “American” eagle.

On occasion some saw makers and manufacturers use the same type of eagle with their name.  Here are some examples:

Branded medallions with "American" eagle.

Branded medallions with “American” eagle.

To round up this review and assure the readers, I am perfectly aware of other forms of eagle use by some saw manufacturers in US.  Here are some examples:

Branded medallions with different eagle designs.

Branded medallions with different eagle designs.

NOTE: The pictures of the medallions shown above came from different sources. Majority of them are my own. A few were taken for a Saw Medallions Reference Guide compiled by “summerfi” at Thanks much for this resource.

Well, we are back, at the same point where we started and questions remain:

Where this medallion came from? Why the eagle is so different from the medallions we usually see on American saws? Was it made in US or in England?

Here again, is the medallion in question.

Rare design of an eagle

Warranted Superior medallion with rarely-seen eagle design.

At this point I realized that there is one more forum I have to visit – the Although I knew that members there are mostly interested in English saws, it was still worth a shot. Here is what I found…

Medallion from a backsaw, branded as A. Rosling made by Bearshaw & Son.

Medallion from a backsaw, branded as A. Rosling made by Bearshaw & Son.

Medallion from a dovetail saw, stamped A. Rosling. This brand name was used by Beardshaw & Son and the saw is posted on the forum by the member with id “kiwi”. The saw was found in Canada.

Medallion from a saw made by Taylor & Son, Sheffield, UK

Medallion from a saw made by Taylor & Son, Sheffield, UK

Taylor & Son medallion posted on the forum by the member with id “dyounmoses”. Unfortunately, no description of the saw or where was it found was given.

The three medallions came together in perfect harmony. As you can see, the design of this medallion is almost identical. The differences are so minor that I am tempted to consider one source of manufacturing of these medallions. The minor difference, which definitely exist, are a result of different dies made over time to satisfy different needs and different customers.

Since two of the medallions are used on English saws, is this a proof the medallion was manufactured in England and then sold in US? That would be a quick and convenient conclusion, but I am not ready for it. What we have here is what we see – a design shared by three different saw makers.

And this is a good example of the difficulties that any research of sawmaking, when taken to this level of details, is faced with. There is not enough data to resolve some nagging questions – it is that simple.

To add some more to this realization, here is the last straw. Just as I was hoping to be done with this presentation, I remembered that there is one more source I should check – the site. I remembered one saw on that site – a very high-priced, old, and beautiful saw. And there it was – a dovetail saw, made (most likely by Disston) for Dilworth, Branson & Co.
And what do we see on this saw… ? We see this:

The medallion from the backsaw made for Dilworth, Branson & Co.

Medallion from a backsaw made for Dilworth, Branson & Co. Courtesy of

This is the best resolution I can get at this time. Nevertheless, this is the same medallion design as the one on “our” saw.

The Dilworth, Branson & Co. was a name used by one of the oldest, if not the oldest, hardware house in US. Here is a snippet from Iron Age magazine, Vol. 61, April 21, 1898, p. 41:

“James M. Vance & Co. are recognized as the oldest Hardware concern in Philadelphia, and are probably the oldest in the United States. The present firm has no data as to the exact year in which the business was founded but they find among their records receipts dated in 1777.

The founder of the business was Samuel Dilworth, and after his decease the business was carried on by his sons, William and Charles. They were succeeded by William Dilworth, who afterward admitted Samuel Branson and the firm name then became Dilworth & Branson. About 1847 they admitted to partnership two young men, James M. Vance and Henry D. Landis, who were in their employ, the business after that date being carried on under the name of Dilworth, Branson & Co. In 1858 Messrs. Dilworth and Branson retired, and the business was continued under the name of Vance & Landis.”

Taking the above information into account, the saw was made most likely sometime between 1847 and 1858.

So here we are, with dates for “our” medallion ranging from 1847 to at least 1867 or beyond, and this is without taking into account the saws made by two English firms.

The resolution – NONE… Conclusions – NONE…

The questions still remain:

  • Who was the maker of this medallion?
  • Is it possible that the medallion was made in England by one and the same firm?
  • How did it end-up on saws made in US and England?
  • or Was it made in US?

If you have a comment, data, or any other observations, please post them here or email to:  We will be very happy to hear from you.

Wiktor Kuc and Joe Steiner
July, 2014

A Smithy & A Foundry-man — Regional Meeting

Header Image for 2014 Regional Meeting

Early American Industries Association
Regional Meeting – Perry Hall, Maryland

A Smithy & A Foundry-man

Lectures and Demonstrations on the American Blacksmith
& Foundry work: casting & molding metal
Saturday, September 13, 2014 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
At Windy Hill Forge in Perry Hall, Maryland
3824 Schroeder Ave * Perry Hall, MD 21128

Event Fee: $20 (early bird discount register by September 6) or $25 onsite registration
Lunch included: Maryland Crab Soup, BBQ Chicken, Homemade Salads, Corn on the Cob, Homemade Root beer & Lemonade
Free & ample parking.

Visit: for more info & directions or
Contact: Ray Zeleny: 410-256-5890

Event Itinerary:
8:00 AM Morning Tailgate, Registration & Continental Breakfast
10:00 AM Welcome
10:15 AM American Blacksmith Lecture and Demonstration

  • Ray Zeleny, Owner of Windy Hill Forge & The Cast House, Member of EAIA, MWTCA, & PATINA

12:00 PM Lunch: Maryland Crab Soup, BBQ Chicken, Homemade Salads, Corn, Homemade Root beer & Lemonade
1:30 PM Foundry Sand Casting Lecture and Demonstration

  • Robert Eagan, Owner of American Alloy Foundry, Member of EAIA

3:45 PM Closing Remarks
Local Overnight Accommodations:

  • White Marsh, Maryland 21236
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott,
  • Marriott Residence Inn
  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • Hampton Inn
  • Home2 Suites by Hilton.

Additional Local Places of Interest & Events:


  • Please fill out and return he form here to register for this event.  (Make checks payable to: Ray Zeleny Send to: 3824 Schroeder Avenue ▪ Perry Hall, MD 21128)

Spread the word:

  • Please help spread the word on this event to others. You can download and share a PDF version of this content in a flyer format here.


9th Annual Tool Discovery Day

Shelburne Musuem Shaker barn full of tools

9th Annual
Sunday, July 20, 2014
11am to 3pm

The Chester Ranlett Tool Museum , Route 6, Eastham, MA
Located behind the Swift-Daley House Museum and adjacent
To the Eastham Post Office. Plenty of parking.

All are welcome to a gathering of tool collectors, anyone interested in sharing their knowledge and experience or just enjoying a part of the past in a setting committed to preserving old tools used by a variety of craftsmen.

Plus Demonstrations:

  • Including
    Pewter Spoon Making

Bring your old tools to Trade or Tailgate or describe as a “whatsit”

  • Appraisals available by a team of Experts

11 am to 1 pm Tailgate

  • (call Irwin Sitkin @ 508 -945-3069 if you plan to set up)

1 pm Welcome by Mark Herman, Curator
1:15 pm Tours

  • Tool Museum
  • Beach Shack
  • Swift Daley House

“Whatsit” Session

Please get the word out to others. You can download a flyer for the event here.

Fireplace and Oven Workshop At Eastfield Village

980 x 550 To Look Good As a Featured Image

I spent the past week out at Eastfield Village for a 5 day workshop on building a traditional fireplace and beehive oven.

Group Photo of Half The Class

Group Photo Of Half The Class

The class was full of Carpentry and Preservation Carpentry Students from the North Bennet Street School in Boston.

Group Photo of the Other Half of the Class

Group Photo of the Other Half of the Class

We had a great time learning the ins and outs of building a traditional fireplace.

Group Photo Of 2014 Fireplace and Oven Class at Eastfield Village

Group Photo Of 2014 Fireplace and Oven Class at Eastfield Village

Most of the students were new to masonry work, so the results are a testament to the teaching and experience that Don, Billy and John brought to the class.

Inside a new beehive oven

Inside a new beehive oven

You can see a video recap of the week’s events on YouTube here:

If you’d like to learn more about this class and Eastfield Village, please check out another blog post I made on this topic here or visit the Eastfield Village website here.

Take care,



Oak Lumber Needed for Plimoth Plantation

Mayflower II in Plymouth Harbor

Reprinted news brief from 2013.

Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts—Plimoth Plantation announced today an appeal for white oak lumber to help repair Mayflower II, the full-scale reproduction of the Mayflower that sailed to Plymouth in 1620. The Museum hopes to promote an awareness of this need and to receive help in locating sources for these materials. Mayflower II is currently undergoing extensive repairs at dry dock in Fairhaven, Massachusetts at the Fairhaven Shipyard, and needs frames and planks replaced to make her seaworthy. These repairs are critical to the iconic ship’s return to her berth on the Plymouth, MA waterfront where she is a popular living history exhibit of Plimoth Plantation.

The 56 year-old wooden sailing ship requires very specific and often difficult to find wood to complete her repairs. The oak trees being sought are around 100 feet tall, over 4 feet in diameter and clear of any knots. “This wood doesn’t come from typical commercial sources,” said Peter Arenstam, the ship’s captain and manager of Plimoth Plantation’s Maritime Artisans program. “We are looking for very specific trees that need to be the right age, size and even have the proper bend.” The white oak is being sought to replace Mayflower II’s planks and frames. The final lumber for the planks will measure 24 inches by 30 feet and be 3.5 inches thick. The frame stock will measure 24 inches by 10 feet and be 8 inches thick. “These pieces are very long and must have no defects, making them not only extremely heavy, but very difficult to find,” according to Arenstam.

The Museum emphasizes that the sourcing of wood materials for Mayflower II must be carried out in a selective, environmentally-responsible way. All leads will be carefully considered to meet very specific requirements that will ensure the most effective use of resources. The Museum plans to implement a tree planting program to replace any trees which may be taken down to complete the ship’s repairs. Plimoth Plantation is making an appeal for white oak lumber or trees that would meet the specific requirements for creating frames and planks for Mayflower II.

Sarah MacDonald
Manager of Media Relations and Promotions
508-746-1622 x8206
Cell: 508-425-0561
NOTE: The Museum is asking to be contacted at or by calling Sarah MacDonald at 508-746-1622, Ext. 8206.

Eastfield Historic Trades Sampler 2013

Group Photo EV 2013




Web Site Upgrades

Harley Earl at the Drawing Board

Welcome to the new EAIA web site!


This site took a while to develop, but I hope that you will enjoy your visit.

Some highlights of the new site include:


  • All New Website
  • WordPress Based Support for Blogs
  • New Photo Galleries
  • New Opportunities to Contact Committees and other EAIA Members
  • Calendar of Events
  • Chronicle
  • Shavings
  • Ability to comment on posts, interact
  • View Facebook page feed
  • Fresh new look

If there is content or features you’d like to see on this new website, please contact the web committee here.

NOTE: Hyperlinks from the old site will not work. The new site has all the same general content and back issue of publications that we had on the old site, plus new content. Publications can be found via the publications page here.


Take care,
-Bill Rainford
EAIA Web Development Lead




Tool Rack -- Old Salem NC

Early American Industries Association

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