True Temper Lion

1950 – 1965
True Temper Canada
St. Catherines, Ontario

The True Temper Lion was the final iteration of the iconic Lion Brand axe line produced out of St. Catherines Ontario. This long-lasting line started by the Welland Vale Manufacturing Company between 1911-1912 and was continued (unchanged) until 1950 when it became the True Temper Lion.

See the post about the Lion Brand axe to learn more.

Welland Vale Manufacturing Company was purchased by American Fork & Hoe in 1930, but it wasn’t until 1950 that all the Canadian holdings were reorganized under the corporate identity of True Temper Canada. At this time the Lion Brand axe became the True Temper Lion.

The fact True Temper kept the name Lion when they rebranded in 1950 shows the strength and recognition of the Lion Brand within the Canadian industry. It was maintained until a strike in 1965 led to the St. Catherines factory being shut down for good.

By the mid-1970s basically, all Canadian axe makers were out of business.

Transitional True Temper Lion Axes

When the company re-organized under the True Temper brand they wanted to make sure they didn’t lose the trust and recognition of the Welland Vale name – so for the first two years True Temper Lion axes had an additional “Welland Vale” stamp up on the pole.

If you have one of these axes, please send a picture to – they aren’t particularly rare, I just don’t have one.

Models of the True Temper Lion

The line-up of axes shifted slightly under True Temper Lion compared to the earlier Lion Brand. Both brands were primarily focused on full-size single-bit chopping/felling axes.

Earlier models kept the original red paint from the earlier line, but the color eventually shifted to blue as the brand focused on consolidating the strength of the True Temper brand.

There are two standard stamps for the True Temper Lion, the text only (shown above), and the later version which also includes the weight.

True Temper Lion Hatchets

There were True Temper Lion hatchets, but they seem to be less common that the earlier Lion Brand models. But, interestingly there was a True Temper Lion Bench axe – which never existed under the original Lion Brand.

Government & Company Contracts

Both the earlier Lion Brand and newer True Temper Lion axes were popular choices for companies and government contracts, as they were better than base quality but still at a good price point.

I have seen many more models of earlier Lion Brand axes with company and government agency stamps – but the True Temper Lion in my collection is marked “T / P” on both sides of the head (although I have no idea who it was for).

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  1. “Axe Makers of North America” by Allan Klenman (second edition – editor: Larry McPhail), 1990
  2. – Welland Vale Co.