Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Vanished Tool Makers: Wallace Manufacturing Corporation, Enfield, Connecticut




Images of my two pairs of Wallace "Power-Lever" pruning shears.



I love these things--they are so much more efficient and effective than my conventional pruners.  I had first acquired the metal-handled ones, so when I found the wooden handled ones at a recent yard sale, I snapped them up.  (They also carried a sticker which identified the maker.)  Below, how the jaws operate, creating a much wider opening between them than is available in conventional pruners.  The U.S. patent for the compound leverage shears was granted to Edward M. Wallace and Wallace M. Preston in 1965.



Edward Morris Wallace received both his Bachelor's (1940) and Master of Science (1941) degrees from M.I.T.  He took a position as a metallurgist for Ulster Knife in Ellenville, New York from 1941 to 1847, then became an engineer with Imperial Knife in Union, New Jersey until 1949, at which point he started the Wallace Manufacturing Corporation.  This company appears to have specialized in the manufacture of garden shears and stayed in business until 1986. 

As an aside, the Ulster Knife Company and the Imperial Knife Company were merged in 1941, so it would seem that Mr. Wallace actually remained within the same organization prior to starting his own company.  The Schrade Cultery Company was acquired in 1946, becoming part of the Imperial Knife Associated Companies group, and in 1985 the entire company was renamed the Imperial Schrade Corporation.  In 2004, the company's centenary, the Ellenville factory was closed and the Schrade name was purchased by Taylor Brands LLC, which continues to use it as a brand.  Taylor Brands was itself acquired by the Smith and Wesson Holding Corporation in 2016.

To see a 1961 catalogue from the Ulster Knife Company, click here.

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