Tools made by the South Hope blacksmith shop

The following message was received from Donovan Bowley on July 11, 2011 concerning the above tools:

The gouge and chisel we (HHS) have were purchased in a batch of old tools by Dave and Suzy Schaub of Union, who have been building a collection of Union-made items. They offered them to us at $80 for the pair, which purchase HHS approved last spring.

The tools I dropped off this evening were both produced in the South Hope blacksmith shop of Payson and Howard. As you may see in the stamping on each: "Payson and Howard So. Hope, ME Warranted" they appear to have been made in a specialty tool shop rather than a run-of-the-mill smithy. Daniel Howard was a well-known local blacksmith at South Hope, and I presume that the "Howard" part of the firm was related to him in some way. There were a number of Paysons in South Hope Village in the mid to late 1800s, but right now I have not much further information on the toolmakers.

Careful examination of the tools shows several smithing marks. In particular, the steel ferrule which accepts the wooden haft (or handle) in each shows marks of its formation over a "hardie" in an anvil. In a good light, view the sides of the straight chisel to see evidence of folding and welding.

Skip Brock of the Davistown Museum has a particular interest in Maine-made edged tools and their makers, and I have emailed him for any information he might be able to provide us.

.My own family have been involved in metalworking (whatever else they also have done) for at least the past 250 years. Ephraim and George Bowley were early predecessors of other South Hope blacksmiths. Daniel Howard was a son-in-law of George Bowley.

After receiving the tools, I spent some time with Mystery Oil and non-metallic scrubbing pads to remove the light rust with which the tools were covered. In cleaning the tools, I used a technique my father taught me which would not be harmful to tool steel.

(These tools are available for viewing)

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