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Offline jpaz

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Stanley nail hammers
« on: July 11, 2014, 02:02:44 PM »

THE ATHA TOOL CO. AND ATHA NAIL HAMMERS

The Atha Tool Co. - located in Newark, New Jersey - was founded in 1884. The Company manufactured and supplied to the blacksmith, railroad maintenance, farrier, automotive repair, machinist, bricklayer, stone cutter and various woodworking trades a wide range of metal and woodworking hand tools - hammers, cold chisels, punches, anvil inserts, sledges, tongs, wedges, forming tools, hatchets, et al. The company established an enviable reputation for design excellence and superior quality and their tools were in great demand especially by blacksmiths. The Atha Tool company - along with their entire line of tools - was acquired by Stanley in 1913, a tremendous addition to the latter company's tool offerings. It appears that at first the Atha Tool company operated independently from the Stanley company and separate catalogs were issued bearing their name. However, in the 1920s Atha tools were gradually incorporated into the Stanley catalogs and the tools were identified as Stanley-Atha throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

Atha nail hammers produced prior to the 1913 Stanley acquisition are stamped on the left cheek of the nicely finished and polished heads with the company logo - an upside down horseshoe with a capital letter A in the center. These Atha nail hammers featured lacquer finished straight grain light colored hickory handles as did subsequent Stanley-Atha hammers.


Atha nail hammer circa. 1900


Atha logo stamped on left cheek of hammer

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

STANLEY-ATHA NAIL HAMMERS - 1920s TO PRE-WWII 1940s

There was a bewildering succession of model designations and numbering systems - including numerous prefixes and suffixes - for these hammers that was constantly changing during their early production life so I will keep the designations here quite general. The entire numbering system was changed in 1933.

All Stanley-Atha hammers were stamped on the left cheek of the head with the familiar STANLEY within a cartouche logo - sometimes MADE IN USA stamping was appended although this was inconsistent. This variance is also found in catalog illustrations although it should be noted that those illustrations do not always depict actual production tools. There was no Atha stamping on Stanley-Atha hammer heads. Informational decals were affixed to the handles of all new Stanley-Atha hammers - and they are very important identifiers that should be preserved at all cost - even fragments of them - for it is the only way to positively identify Stanley-Atha hammers! Handles were of straight grained hickory and were lacquer finished. The factory applied handle decals soon wore off with use, but the presence of even scant remnants is testament to the originality of handles. The model number, configuration and head weight were often stamped in black ink on the end of the handle - invaluable information all to often lost due to hammer usage. The presence of the distinctive Stanley factory head securing wedges is a good indicator of originality.


Decal that was affixed to the handle of all Stanley-Atha nail hammers
Note the Atha Tool Co. logo on the left


Typical Stanley-Atha nail hammer showing placement of decal on handle


STANLEY in cartouche stamped on left cheek of hammer head


Model designation (41½) and head weight (16oz) stamped in black ink
on the end of the handle

Stanley-Atha tack hammers were sometimes employed by wood workers for fine finishing work including installation of leather or fabric coverings. I have included one here in order to illustrate various Stanley-Atha hammer features.


Typical Stanley-Atha tack hammer showing placement of decal on handle


The factory applied handle decals soon wore off with use, but the
presence of even scant remnants (as here) is an important identifier


STANLEY with MADE IN USA stamped on left cheek of hammer head


Model number (601) stamped in black ink on the end of the

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

STANLEY NAIL HAMMERS - POST WWII 1940s TO THE 1950s

Post-WWII Stanley nail hammers bore different handle decals than the pre-war Stanley-Atha hammers. The first ones following the end of the war and until circa. 1950 were orange colored and bore a small Atha Tool Company logo on the right





All post-WWII Stanley nail Hammers were designated as such in the Tool catalogs and sales literature - there were no longer any Stanley-Atha references. The familiar STANLEY within a cartouche logo continued to be stamped on the left cheek of the head with MADE IN USA sometimes appended, although this was inconsistent as was a model number, configuration and head weight stamping.

Stampings

Example of a typical head stamping:


(on left cheek of head)
STANLEY
(in cartouche)
No. 51½ 16-OZ
# 5 configuration: bell face - round black neck - polished round poll
W/L code 1½: Head weight: 16 oz. - Overall length: 13"

It seems that Stanley changed the style and form of the stampings from time to time. There are variances similar to those found on Stanley wood chisels. I have encountered hammers of this period with only STANLEY (in cartouche) or STANLEY (in cartouche) with MADE IN USA underneath. These variances can also be found in catalog illustrations although it should be noted that those illustrations do not always depict actual production tools.

Decals

Decals, which sometimes included information relating to features and configuration, were affixed to the handles of new hammers - and sometimes to the right cheek of the head - at the factory.





Handles

Handles were of straight grained hickory and were lacquer finished. The factory applied handle decals soon wore off with use, but the presence of even scant remnants is testament to the originality of handles. The model No. configuration and head weight were usually stamped in black ink on the end of the handle - invaluable information all to often lost due to hammer usage. The presence of the distinctive Stanley factory head securing wedges is a good indicator of originality.

Remnant of label on handle:



Ink stamping on end of handle:



Depictions of original Stanley factory head securing wedges:





Claw Types


Curved Claw Nail Hammer


Ripping Claw Nail Hammer

There was also a "semi-ripping" style offered that had slightly more curvature than the standard Ripping Claw depicted.

Stanley Nail Hammer Configurations

    1 ..... bell face - round ribbed neck and poll - highly polished - 100 Plus
    2 ..... same as 1 except ripping claw instead of curved - 100 Plus
    3 ..... bell face - octagon black neck - octagon poll - highly polished
    4 ..... plain face - plain neck - highly finished
    5 ..... bell face - round black neck - polished round poll
    9 ..... plain face - plain neck
    10 ... bell face - round black neck with polished ribs - polished round poll

Those models described as having black (enamel paint) necks inevitably came with the tops and bottoms of the heads and the backs of the claws also painted black. The paint on the necks in particular often gradually wore off with heavy use and in consequence was sometimes sanded off entirely by users for a better appearance. "100 PLUS" hammers were described in some 1930s catalogs as having "orange enamel painted head ribs", however, I have only encountered red painted ribs.

Stanley Nail Hammer head weight and overall length (W/L) codes

    0 ............. 28 oz. ........... 15"
    1 ............. 20 oz. ........... 13½"
    1½ ......... 16 oz. ........... 13"
    2 ............. 13 oz. ........... 13"
    2½ ......... 10 oz. ........... 12½"
    3 ................ 7 oz. ........... 12"
    4 ................ 5 oz. ........... 12"

Weight is of the head only -- length is overall (top of head to bottom of handle).

EXEMPLAR STANLEY NAIL HAMMERS OF THIS PERIOD

100 PLUS

1 SERIES: bell face - round ribbed neck and poll - highly polished

2 SERIES: same as 1 SERIES except ripping claw instead of curved



No. 100 plus 11½
# 1 configuration: bell face - octagon neck and poll- highly polished
W/L code 1½: Head weight: 16 oz - Overall length: 13"
white lacquered hickory handle with octagon neck.



No. 100 plus 11½
# 1 configuration: bell face - octagon neck and poll- highly polished
W/L code 1½: Head weight: 16 oz - Overall length: 13"

The handle on this specimen has been replaced at some time in its working life.

"100 plus" series hammers were designated "the Aristocrats" of Nail Hammers by Stanley.

4 SERIES: plain face - plain neck - highly finished



No. 43
# 4 configuration: plain face - plain neck - highly finished
W/L code 3: Head weight: 7 oz - Overall length: 12"

5 SERIES: bell face - round black neck - polished round poll


[/img]http://jp29.org/stanhammer26.jpg[/img]
No. 51½
# 5 configuration: bell face - round black neck - polished round poll
W/L code 1½: Head weight: 16 oz - Overall length: 13"



No. 53
# 5 configuration: bell face - round black neck - polished round poll
W/L code 3: Head weight: 7 oz - Overall length: 12"

Series 5 Stanley Nail Hammers - with the 51½ (16 oz) leading the way - were the most popular and best selling models. They were always featured on the first hammer page in the main Stanley Tools Catalogs.

10 SERIES: bell face - round black neck with polished ribs - polished round poll



No. 101
# 10 configuration: bell face - round black neck with polished ribs - polished round poll
W/L code 1: Head weight: 20 oz - Overall length: 13½"

James





« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 01:23:07 PM by jpaz »

Online Lostmind

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Re: Stanley nail hammers
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2014, 03:41:12 PM »
I think I have a No. 53 , Now I'll look closer at it. I really enjoy your contributions. Glad you joined up.
Someday I'd like an article on photos. What kind of camera and how you get such clear close ups.
Thanks
again.
Of all the things I've lost , I miss my mind the most

Offline Art Rafael

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Re: Stanley nail hammers
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2014, 04:20:07 PM »
Very interesting and informative.  I appreciate your posts and the high quality pictures.  Ralph

Offline lbgradwell

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Re: Stanley nail hammers
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2014, 06:10:14 PM »
Excellent information! Many thanks!  :smiley:

Kijiji King

Offline oldtools

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Re: Stanley nail hammers
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2014, 01:56:30 AM »
WOW!! Nice collection, Thanks for all the info.. very professional presentations..
Do you do this type of presentations for a living or hobby?.. (you could publish your work)..
Aloha!  the OldTool guy
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Offline Batz

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Re: Stanley nail hammers
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2014, 04:49:19 AM »
Nice, thank you.
I really enjoy seeing the tools other members collect here, always interesting.

Batz
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Offline eddie hudson

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Re: Stanley nail hammers
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2014, 07:51:39 AM »
Excellent pictures and information.
Thank You

Offline Branson

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Re: Stanley nail hammers
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2014, 11:11:37 AM »
Dang!!  This is more than I've ever seen about hammers in one place, and a lot that I didn't know.  Impressive!

Got more?  More about hammers?  More about Atha tools?  I picked up a 4# Atha drilling hammer head at a junk store a couple of
years ago.   $4, 4#, clearly marked cast steel and Atha.  I have a tiny claw hammer maybe 3 oz with the Atha mark too.  And hammers?  I can't seem to bring myself to leave one behind.  I just put a handle on an old Plumb, and it feels so good in the hand!   There's a couple of kinda streamlined 16 oz claw hammers that I know little about -- one is marked Dynamic.  Stilettos from 13 to 28 oz...

What a great bunch of information you have shared with us.

Yep, glad you joined up.

Offline jpaz

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Re: Stanley nail hammers
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2014, 12:29:29 PM »
I think I have a No. 53 , Now I'll look closer at it. I really enjoy your contributions. Glad you joined up.
Someday I'd like an article on photos. What kind of camera and how you get such clear close ups.
Thanks
again.
Thank you, Lost -- most photographs were taken by me using a hand held Pentax Optio W10 digital camera (in Macro mode) with the tools illuminated by natural day light. Of late I have been using my Iphone in a similar fashion with practically the same results.

James

Offline jpaz

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Re: Stanley nail hammers
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2014, 12:36:11 PM »
Thank you Art Rafael, Ibgradwell, Batz & eddie hudson for those nice comments.

James

Offline jpaz

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Re: Stanley nail hammers
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2014, 01:04:29 PM »
WOW!! Nice collection, Thanks for all the info.. very professional presentations..
Do you do this type of presentations for a living or hobby?.. (you could publish your work).
Thanks oldtools. I originally started writing web pages as a way of disseminating information relating to my primary pursuits - calligraphy and bookbinding. Web page writing and publishing then became a hobby in itself -- inexpensive, easy, fun .......... and any idiot can do it -- I did!!  :smiley:

I have expanded my web page writing to  many of my other pursuits: Roman Imperial coins, Vintage Woodworking Tools (I am not a collector, just an assembler of the favorite tools I have owned and used over the years) with a passion for vintage North Bros. "YANKEE" tools and vintage Starrett precision measuring tools -- I just love old tools in general.

I like to embark on research projects -- the information I post here is based on research I conducted when writing my tool web pages .......... perusing old catalogs and period ads, (I have a very large collection), studying my own tools and those of fellow enthusiasts, scouring e-bay and Etsy -- and my own fading remembrances of my time in the woodworking trade.

If you would like to access any of my web pages they are at: http://jp29.org/

James
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 03:57:08 PM by jpaz »

Offline jpaz

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Re: Stanley nail hammers
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2014, 01:23:07 PM »
Dang!!  This is more than I've ever seen about hammers in one place, and a lot that I didn't know.  Impressive!

Got more?  More about hammers?  More about Atha tools?  I picked up a 4# Atha drilling hammer head at a junk store a couple of
years ago.   $4, 4#, clearly marked cast steel and Atha.  I have a tiny claw hammer maybe 3 oz with the Atha mark too.  And hammers?  I can't seem to bring myself to leave one behind.  I just put a handle on an old Plumb, and it feels so good in the hand!   There's a couple of kinda streamlined 16 oz claw hammers that I know little about -- one is marked Dynamic.  Stilettos from 13 to 28 oz...

What a great bunch of information you have shared with us.

Yep, glad you joined up.
Thank you for that post Branson and your most kind comments. Yes, I do love hammers! I will post more info relating to Atha (that I think manufactured especially fine blacksmith's tools) but first some information relating to vintage Plumb hammers (for which I also have great fondness):

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Plumb claw hammers

Plumb Claw Hammers were noteworthy for their quality and durability.

The Fayette R. Plumb Co. advertised its hammers, axes and hatchets aggressively with colorful, high quality ads. in numerous major national magazines throughout the 1920s & 193os. These ads. frequently highlighted the red mahogany stained hickory handles and black heads that distinctively identified their products.

Fayette R. Plumb and the companies he controlled had a rich history fron 1869 until somewhere between 1959 and 1971 when the Fayette R. Plumb Co. was sold and ceased to exist. That history is well illustrated on this nicely illustrated Web Page of YesterYears Tools

The Fayette R. Plumb Co. also produced various other types of hammers, sledges, hatchets and axes of the highest quality, the latter being much favored by professional axemen for competition events. Specially made Plumb hatchets were used by Boy Scouts throughout the world.

Fayette R. Plumb Co. Claw Hammers were marked PLUMB within a rectangle stamped on one of the head cheeks:





The stamping was sometimes accompanied by the hammer weight in ounces or USA etc. outside the rectangle. A great variety of colorful decals were affixed to the handles but these quickly wore off in normal hammer use.

The much admired and distinctive red mahogany stained hickory handles ..........



.......... sometimes broke under heavy usage and it is not unusual to find vintage hammers with replacement handles.

The Fayette R. Plumb Co. was patriotic in the way they decorated many of their products. A famous marking is the VICTORY stamping on the cheeks of some hammers -- accompanying the PLUMB stamp within the rectangle -- supposedly to commemorate the end of WWII.



I have not been able to verify this story to date. The finish on the specimens I have examined -- including the one I own -- is not up to the usual PLUMB high standard. It is possible these hammers were manufactured in 1944-1945 in anticipation of the coming victory, however, that is just speculation.

James
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 11:39:32 PM by jpaz »

Offline oldtools

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Re: Stanley nail hammers
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2014, 03:39:40 PM »
Thank you for posting, very interesting...
Aloha!  the OldTool guy
Master Monkey Wrench Scaler

Offline bear_man

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Re: Stanley nail hammers
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2014, 01:55:35 AM »
Thanks very much for your contribution/s, jpaz!
     I learned long ago (I disremember exactly where/when, other than it was back in the late-'70s/early-'80s) to call your "Curved Claw Nail Hammer" a "crow-head hammer," and the rip-head a rip-head.  Any comment on this?

Offline Branson

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Re: Stanley nail hammers
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2014, 07:37:41 AM »

Thank you for that post Branson and your most kind comments. Yes, I do love hammers! I will post more info relating to Atha (that I think manufactured especially fine blacksmith's tools) but first some information relating to vintage Plumb hammers (for which I also have great fondness):
< big snip here> The much admired and distinctive red mahogany stained hickory handles ..........
James

Interesting and exceeding timely.  I've been staring at the lily white new handle on the Plumb hammer I mentioned, wondering how to cure that look.  Now I remember those red mahogany stained handles!  Have red mahogany stain, and I'm gonna fix all that white today!  Many thanks again.