1892 – 1960
The Canada Axe & Harvest Tool Co. was founded in 1892 by William Chaplin, the owner of the Welland Vale Manufacturing Company. It operated (mostly) independently from Welland Vale, with its own products and brands. Although its axes would also end up in some Welland Vale catalogs.
In 1930 Chaplin sold all his holdings to the giant American Fork & Hoe Company, who reorganized them under a single corporation: the Welland Vale Manufacturing Company Limited.
Despite this, The Canada Axe & Harvest Tool Co. remained a separate subsidiary of this new corporation and still operated fairly independently for decades until the corporation rebranded to True Temper in 1950. At that time it began producing some brands (like Signal) that had traditionally been made in the St. Catherines plant.
The exact timelines of the Canada Axe & Harvest Tool Co. brands are unclear, but the base CANAXE brand seems to have been offered until at least 1951. This long-running plant in a major Canadian city has somehow largely escaped the history books, with very little information or images available.
The plant closed in 1960, as the axe and tool industry in Canada was on its last legs, and the St. Catherine’s plant was not far behind (1965).
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- Histoire des outils manuels au Canada de 1820 à 1960: héritage européen, techniques de fabrication et entreprises manufacturières – Robert Tremblay
- “Axe Makers of North America” by Allan Klenman (second edition – editor: Larry McPhail), 1990
- Yesteryearstools.com – Welland Vale Co.
- Thomas Fischer Rare Book Library, University of Toronto
– Hardware & Metal March 18, 1922