From the Best Made Archives: The American Axe and Tool Co. (part one)
In 1889 fourteen axe makers joined forces, called themselves The American Axe and Tool Company, and together they soon accounted for 90% of the country’s axe production. The details are unclear but we assume the merger was to consolidate in numbers, and economize production in the face of the impending doom of the cross-cut saw and eventually the chainsaw. Luckily many of the noteworthy axe makers in the merger kept their brands and labels in tact.
Keep in mind that the axe market was a cut throat business at the time. Some axe makers offered as many as 300 different patterns and styles and so you can imagine the competition was rife which meant innovative and elaborate marketing trickery. Sadly not much has been written or documented about the way axes were marketed and sold back then, so bear with us as we piece the fascinating pieces of this puzzle together (if anyone has information, please contact us).
Along with fancy names, regional designs, extensive catalogs, etc. the axe label (applied to the head of the axe) was a choice device in an axe marketers repertoire and in this tiny little space a whole world of woodsman and lumberjack romance blossomed and thrived.
Here are four main labels that were front and center in the American Axe and Tool catalog circa 1894. Stay tuned in the coming months as we present more amazing axe labels from the Best Made archives, and other stories of historic note.