Often, interested and dedicated fanatics, errr, scholars, research the history of a particular company by pouring over moldy town records, searching old, yellowed newspapers and pestering local historical societies for information. Some of us simply buy an old trade catalog and extract the company history from the preface.
This is one of this instances. Witherby has always stood for excellence in edge tools, chisels, gouges, turning tools, draw knives, etc. I recently received a very nice and very scarce copy of a c1950 catalog for this self-same company. As I had hoped, there was a concise history of the two companies. To add to the allure of this catalog, there are a number of tools and tool sets that I had neither heard of nor seen before. The history is presented here, as well as at The Toolemera Press website:
IN 1827, in Millbury, Massachusetts, T. H. Witherby started manufacturing the fine steel 'chisels that today still bear his name. The high standards of quality under which those tools were designed and produced gave Witherby Chisels a very high reputation among tool users.
After forty-two years of consistently maintaining this reputation, the Witherby business and its good will were purchased in 1869 by the Win¬sted Edge Tool Company of Winsted, Connecticut, an organization that had been manufacturing edged implements since 1829.
Three years after acquiring the Witherby rights, the new owners decided to discontinue their other products and concentrate on Witherby Chisels. Later gouges and drawing knives of similar high quality were added to the Witherby line, and in 1882 the present company name, The Winsted Edge Tool Works, was adopted.
In all these years of expert tool-making from 1827 down to the present day-dose to a century and a quarter-a vast wealth of knowledge and experience has been accumulated. The Witherby reputation for high quality has never been lost sight of. The excellence of the steels selected has been maintained. Special hardening and tempering processes have been perfected, to give uniformly hardened surfaces, with absence of soft areas. The procedure of rigid inspection at various vital stages of manu¬facture is scrupulously upheld.
Equal skill and care are devoted to the design and production of handles for Witherby Tools. Only high grade, second growth white hickory stock is used. For the leather tips, skin of excellent quality is expertly applied. And all handles pass as rigid inspection as is given the steel blades.
These are reasons why we are able to stand behind every Witherby Chisel, Gouge and Drawing Knife with the following unqualified guarantee.
For the full effect of this catalog, please head over to my companion web site, The Toolemera Press : Free Stuff, for the pdf. Unfortunately, the recent spate of bootlegging of material has led me to add some additional security measures. When this pdf is printed, or viewed in any PDF reader other than Adobe Reader, you will see a faint copyright logo splashed across the middle of each page.
Till next, Gary
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