I have re-written my web page to include the following preamble:
According to most accounts I have read, David Maydole was a blacksmith in
Norwich, New York, in the early 1840s. He is widely credited (but not by all
researchers) with inventing the "adze eye" method of securely affixing the
hammer head to the handle which solved the vexing tendency of the heads to "fly
off" the handle after a sort period of use.
He subsequently built a factory to exclusively manufacture hammers as The David
Maydole Hammer Company on the banks of the Chenango Canal in Norwich circa.
1843. The business, which was now family owned, prospered mainly due to his
"adze eye" head attachment methodology and a reputation for producing hammers of
high quality and superior finish.
A fire destroyed the factory in 1848 but it was quickly replaced a by a new two-
storey building facing on the Chenango Canal which provided water power for the
David Maydole died in 1892 and by that time his family claimed the factory was
the largest producer of hammers in the United States with over 100 employees.
The firm continued to be family owned and operated until 1931, when it was
reorganized as the Maydole Tool Company. It was purchased by Mayhew Tools of
Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts as Mayhew-Maydole in 1939. Mayhew continued to
manufacture Maydole hammers until 1957 when another devastating fire destroyed
the factory. In July 1970 the Norwich Common Council bought the factory site,
demolished the dilapidated buildings, and used the site to construct an Urban
THE MAYDOLE HAMMERS 1919 CATALOG (PDF) - Reference Document.
HAMMER HEAD STAMPINGS
My compilation based on catalog listings and printed Ads.
Circa. 1843-mid 1900s:
NORWICH N. Y.
Circa. mid 1800s-mid 1920s:
Circa. mid 1920s-1939
MADE IN U.S.A.
The web page is at:
Once again I solicit help in correcting errors and suggestions for inclusion of
Sent from my iPad
I'm glad to see research on Maydole published! But I don't believe the
adz eye was designed to solve the problem of the head flying off.
Rather, I'm fairly certain the design reduced handle breakage due to
pulling nails with the claw. I have earlier blacksmith made claw
hammers that show other attempts to reduce such breakage. One in
particular increased the length of the eye to put more "meat" in that
end of the handle. In my experience, the greatest risk of flying hammer
heads is handle breakage.
Mike in Woodland
One in particular increased the length of the eye to put more "meat" in
that end of the handle. In my experience, the greatest risk of flying
hammer heads is handle breakage.
I am definitely going with Mike here.
Prying and pulling are terribly hard on a wooden handle. But there is
Simple pounding, especially on an unyielding "target", will wear a
Overstrikes, hitting the handle against a solid object under the eye,
by accident, can be deadly to a handle in one stroke.
Strapped handles were popular before the turn of the last century, and
still are when you or someone else's life depends on it. Rock climbing
and firefighting come to mind for emergency tools.
In general use, a strapped hammer lasts until you lose it, leave it
out in the rain for a season, or someone steals it.
Bell pein and many other small hammers are made from special uber
hard steel (about the same as ball bearing steel) and weld poorly.
Anything in the sledge or ax family though, welds just like a dream. ;-)
Box 409 Happy Camp, Ca 96039
Thank you Michael. I do not claim my effort here to be any kind of scholarly
research. Rather it is my intent to record some of my observations and
experiences relating to the hand tools I have used - and loved - during my
lifetime before I depart “this mortal coil”.
I agree with your comments relating to the main idea and purpose of the adz eye
design for securing woodworking hammer heads. I have thought that myself for
some time. I will add an explanatory note to that effect on my web page.
Again, thank you for your contribution, Michael.
Sent from my iPad
HAve you found the various Maydole catalogs and literature at Archive.org?
I have found three there, plus some appearances in other catalogs.
On Tue, May 14, 2019 at 2:09 PM James Pickering wrote:
> THE MAYDOLE HAMMERS 1919 CATALOG (PDF) - Reference Document.
Kirk Eppler in HMB, CA, deprived of wayback machine access lately.
Sent from my iPad, apologies for the Auto Correct errors. Kirk
Thanks for the feedback, Kirk. Yes, I am researching them.
BTW, I am constantly updating the web page - the latest iteration (15 May 2019)
Sent from my iPad