Simmons Hardware Co - St. Louis
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Thread: Simmons Hardware Co - St. Louis

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    Simmons Hardware Co - St. Louis

    The Simmons Hdwe Co destination turns up quite often on 1st Gen SAA factory letters . Anyone have other Simmons related items ?




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    Please support Crimson Trace Grips , Mossberg and Beretta . They support our troops .

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    As seen on your razor, Keen Kutter was Simmons trade name for most of their tools and knives. Lots of Keen Kutter items around St. Louis. Keen Kutter knives are a good collectible. Belknap used John Primble and Shapleigh used Diamond Edge; two other hardware brands that come to mind.

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    Lots of Simmons Hardware items on eBay .





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    The other great St Louis hardware store was Shapleigh, started in St Louis in 1843.
    They also sold guns, many were cheap shotguns marked with their own name.

    I have an almost mint early 1900's Shapleigh blow torch with a great diamond shaped brass label on the front.
    Diamond Edge was their main trademark.

    I'll post some pictures when I get time.

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    That's a sharp item, thanks for posting.
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    This is my Shapleigh Hardware St Louis white gas blow torch.
    It was made for Shapleigh by the Otto Burnz Company of New Jersey some time in the very early 1900's.

    It's made of brass and copper, with an iron igniting pan.
    Amazingly it's in near mint condition after all these years and if new leather seals and a new wick were installed it would still work.

    These were what the old time mechanics and plumbers used before the invention of propane torches.
    To use, the bottom plug was unscrewed and white gas was poured into the tank.
    The bottom is concave to form a funnel.
    The air pump was unscrewed and pumped to pressurize the tank.
    The fuel knob was opened and some of the gas would run out of the copper nozzle and down into the iron cup.
    The valve was closed and the gas in the cup would be lite with a match.
    It would burn and heat up the copper nozzle which would vaporize the gas once the nozzle was opened.
    When the nozzle was opened the hot copper nozzle would spray out vaporized gas which would be ignited by the still burning fuel in the cup.

    My late brother in law used this type of torch back before the propane torches and he said it was scary to use because when it lit it could spew out a huge burst of flame.

    The hook on top was to hold a soldering iron. in front of the nozzle to heat.
    This was the original type non-electric soldering iron which was a long shaft with a wooden or coiled wire handle.
    On the front was a heavy copper tip.
    When the torch was running the soldering iron would be placed in the hook with the front part of the shaft resting in a groove on the top-front of the nozzle.
    This heated the copper tip which was used to solder.

    Shapleigh used a number of brand names, but the major one was "Diamond Edge" for saws, chisels, and cutting tools.
    They had hardware stores in many other states and cities up through the 1960's.
    They also sold a lot of guns, many were cheap farmer's grade shotguns with their own name on them. These were usually bought by Shapleigh from the Crescent Gun Company who made and imported vast numbers of mostly cheap single and double barrel shotguns in the 1800's and into the 1900's.
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    My Dad, a farmer and electrician in the early days, had one of those torches (don't remember the brand), He burned gasoline in his. In addition to soldering irons (I still have his) they would also hold a pot of molten lead. In wiring, the ends of the conductors were twisted together, then dipped into the lead pot, then taped with the old fabric based electrical tape.
    My job was to run the torch, and hand Dad the pot.

    ETA: I've also seen plumbers use the blow torch/lead pot arrangement to seal oakum in cast iron sewer pipes. They were also used to melt sulphur to anchor steel in concrete. A precursor to a modern propane torch.
    Last edited by phyllis1; 04-25-2019 at 02:15 PM.

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    A gun related use of the old gas blow torches and the heavy copper soldering irons was to heat up the large copper tip of the iron then hang it from overhead with a wire so the sharp tip of the copper iron was touching the top of a Mauser or Springfield rifle receiver.

    This would transfer the heat of the red hot copper iron to the receiver in a small area to anneal the case hardened receiver so it could be drilled and tapped with the carbon drills and tape of the day.
    Each hole location needed to be annealed this way to allow drilling and tapping.

    These days most gunsmiths don't do a lot of drilling and tapping of old military rifles because they're worth more as collectibles.
    When one does need to be drilled and tapped we now have coated or carbide tooling that cuts even the glass hard surface hardening of the old rifles.

    The day of the old gas torches ended with the invention of the easily used propane and the even newer turbo-torches.
    Now the old torches are collectors items that are sometimes turned into table lamps by wiring them for a light bulb.
    Some of the old torches bring shockingly high prices for the better pre-WWII models.

    One word of warning........ People usually polish these old torches for display and there's a real danger here.
    These old torches were assembled with lead solder. Polishing with machines can fill the air with lead and that can be a serious health hazard.
    One man I talked to who was a big collector said he had a small shed in the back yard where his polishing equipment was. He always wore a synthetic coverall and respirator when in the shed and especially when polishing an old torch.
    Locally there's a metal smith company who sell old torches and other antiques that used lead solder in the manufacture.
    When they polish they haul the polishing equipment out in the alley and wear protective gear. Still, the polishing gear they use has a vacuum and collector filter to catch all the lead dust.
    Last edited by dfariswheel; 04-26-2019 at 12:38 PM.


 

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