The Ultimate List of Vintage Axe Manufacturers - Vintage axes

The Ultimate List of Vintage Axe Manufacturers

Discover the Top Vintage Axe Brands from America and Sweden’s Golden Age of Axe-Making

The Ultimate List of Vintage Axe Manufacturers - A collection of vintage axes, including axes from some of the best old axe brands such as Collins, Kelly, Marbles, Plumb, Stanley, and Winchester.

Axes and hatchets evolved as indispensable tools for felling trees, splitting firewood, and other woodworking tasks. And up until the mid-20th century, most were manufactured by local forges and companies that became renowned for their quality and craftsmanship.

Some of the best American vintage axe brands of the day include Stanley, which is still around today, and the Kelly Axe Manufacturing Company, to name but a few. Beyond the classic US brands, vintage European axe makers also earned reputations for their exquisite hand-forged axes, often custom-made for loggers and woodlanders. Especially noteworthy are the Swedish axe forges still thriving today.

So when browsing flea markets or handling a well-worn axe found in a barn, how do you identify the maker? And which are the most collectible vintage brands to look out for?

Well below is a comprehensive list of the main vintage axe manufacturers of the last 200 years to help you find out. So read on……

Notable American Vintage Axe Makers

The Ultimate List of Vintage Axe Manufacturers - American Vintage Axe Makers.

A vintage axe with the maker's mark "KELEGISTERED ELLY NO AAAXE" sitting on a piece of wood. The axe is made of steel and has a wooden handle. The axe is in good condition, and it is likely a rare vintage axe from a well-respected American axe maker.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, axe manufacturing flourished across the eastern United States. Major companies mass-produced axes as essential tools for pioneers heading west, while smaller blacksmith shops hand-forged specialty versions for local loggers and farmers.

Here are some of the most iconic vintage American axe brands that every collector should know.

Collins Axe Company

Founded in 1826 in Connecticut, Collins manufactured exceptional quality axes and hatchets at their Collinsville plant until 1966. Their axes are easily identified by the “COLLINS & CO” stamped into the head. Collins axes are noted for their comfortable shape and perfect balance.

Kelly Axe Manufacturing Company

This Kentucky-based maker produced axes from 1874 until the 1930s under the “True Temper” brand. Kelly perfected an innovative axe tempering process that gave their tools unparalleled toughness and edge retention. Vintage Kelly axes marked “TRUE TEMPER” command high prices today.

Marbles Outdoors

Operating in Michigan since 1898, the Marbles brand specialized in outdoor and hunting axes. They became renowned for their precision forged hatchets and hand-honed cutting edges. Marbles axes are collector’s items, especially vintage models from before the company stopped axe production in the 1960s.


Established in Philadelphia in 1869, Plumb manufactured high-end chopping tools and hammers until the 1960s. Plumb axe heads were forged from premium steel and weighed to provide perfect balance. Vintage Plumb axes marked with the company’s Penguin trademark are extremely desirable today.


A household name in tools, produced axes and other woodworking tools from 1843 until 1966. While mass-produced, Stanley’s axes were well forged using innovative production methods. Models marked with Stanley’s Sweetheart logo showcase classic vintage axe design.


Best known for firearms, Winchester Repeating Arms got into axe-making in the early 1900s. They applied their expertise with steel alloys to create sturdy axes with thin yet resilient blades. Vintage Winchester axes marked with the famous “gun” logo are uncommon finds today.

Other Notable Classic American Axe Makers

  • Council Tool: Founded in 1886, this North Carolina company hand forged quality axes and other striking tools.
  • Snow & Nealley: Originating in Maine in 1864, this brand was a major supplier of axes and hatchets to the timber industry.
  • Vaughan & Bushnell: Their patented axes with elongated poll ends were top choices of Westward moving pioneers after 1869.
  • Warren Axe: Producing durable axes since 1844, Warren Axe & Tool Co. became known as the country’s best.
  • Mann Edge Tool Co.: Forging quality axes from 1848-1929 earned them a sterling reputation.
  • Isaiah Blood / Blood & Co: An iconic axe forge founded in Ballston, NY known for top-tier axes.
  • Bettersley & Co: Renowned axe maker from Malone, NY during the golden age of axes.
  • Brooks, Brewster & Co: Major axe producer from Stoney Point, NY from 1867-1893.
  • Cohoes Axe Mfg Co: Prolific axe works operating in Cohoes, NY in the late 1800s.
  • Empire Axe & Tool Co: Leading upstate NY axe maker based in Syracuse starting in 1888.
  • Fulton Tool Co: Prominent axe and tool maker located in Fulton, NY.
  • H. Boker & Co: Iconic German cutlery and axe maker since the 1800s.
  • H. D. Smith & Co: Top vintage Connecticut axe and tool producer from Plantsville.
  • J.P. Kelly: Charlestown, WV blacksmith renowned for axe forging from 1849 onward.
  • Keen Kutter: Famous US axe brand under E.C. Simmons Hardware Co starting 1864.
  • Mann Edge Tool Company: Top vintage Pennsylvania axe maker based in Lewistown.
  • Nashua Manufacturing Company: Major New England axe works operating out of Nashua, NH.
  • Norlund Tool & Dye Co: Leading Minneapolis, MN axe and tool maker since 1897.
  • Plumb: Iconic Philadelphia axe brand dating back to 1869.
  • Snow & Nealley: Historic Maine axe manufacturer from Bangor dating to 1864.
  • True Temper: Legendary American axe brand founded originally in Ohio in 1808.
  • Warren Axe and Tool Company: Highly-regarded Massachusetts axe forge operating since 1844.
  • Winchester: The iconic Connecticut gunmaker also produced quality axes into the 1900s.
  • Zenith: Prominent axe and tool maker located in Rockford, IL first established in 1910.
  • Sager Chemical Axe Co: Major vintage axe producer from Muskegon, MI circa 1900-1930.

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Legendary Vintage Swedish Axe Forges

The Ultimate List of Vintage Axe Manufacturers - Legendary Vintage Swedish Axe Forges.

This is the maker's mark for Hults Bruk, a Swedish axe manufacturer. Hults Bruk is one of the oldest and most respected axe makers in the world, and their axes are known for their high quality and durability. The axe head in the image is likely a vintage Hults Bruk axe, and it is a valuable collectible.

Combining premium Swedish steel with American hickory handles, vintage Swedish axe brands represent the pinnacle of hand-forged axe making. Here are some of the most acclaimed forge masters.


Founded in 1781, Ochsenkopf is the oldest axe forge in Germany. For over 200 years, they have handcrafted superb quality axes in Remscheid using C60 steel and European ash and beech. An Ochsenkopf axe is the ultimate status symbol for serious collectors.

Hults Bruk

With roots dating to 1697, Hults Bruk is likely the oldest operating axe forge globally. Their tradition of Swedish axe making spans generations. Hults Bruk today produces exquisitely crafted axes from Swedish steel and American hickory.

Gransfors Bruk

Established in 1902, Gransfors Bruk adopts traditional hand-forging methods to shape and harden each axe head. Combined with premium hickory handles, Gransfors axes are revered for their elite balance and cutting ability.


Operating since 1880, the Wetterlings forge in Storvik became world renowned for its axe making mastery. They specialized in high quality broad axes for timber framing using traditional Swedish steel. Wetterlings axes remain in high demand.

Summary List of Vintage Axe Manufacturers

BrandYear FoundedLocation
1. Collins Axe Company1826Connecticut
2. Kelly Axe Manufacturing Company1874Kentucky
3. Marbles Outdoors1898Michigan
4. Plumb Tool Company1869Philadelphia
5. Stanley Works1843Connecticut
6. Winchester Repeating Arms Company1866Connecticut
7. Council Tool1886North Carolina
8. Snow & Nealley1864Maine
9. Vaughan & Bushnell1869Illinois
10. Warren Axe and Tool Company1844Massachusetts
11. Mann Edge Tool Company1848Massachusetts
12. Isaiah Blood / Blood & Co1800sBallston, NY
13. Bettersley & Co1800sMalone, NY
14. Brooks, Brewster & Co1867Stoney Point, NY
15. Cohoes Axe Mfg Co1800sCohoes, NY
16. Empire Axe & Tool Co1888Syracuse, NY
17. Fulton Tool Co1800sFulton, NY
18. H. Boker & Co1800sGermany
19. H. D. Smith & Co1800sPlantsville, CT
20. J. P. Kelly1849Charleston, WV
21. Keen Kutter1864Missouri
22. Mann Edge Tool Company1800sLewistown, PA
23. Nashua Manufacturing Company1856Nashua, NH
24. Norlund Tool & Dye Co1897Minneapolis, MN
25. Plumb1869Philadelphia, PA
26. Snow & Nealley1864Bangor, ME
27. True Temper1808Ohio
28. Warren Axe and Tool Company1844Warren, MA
29. Winchester Repeating Arms1866New Haven, CT
30. Zenith1910Rockford, IL
31. Sager Chemical Axe Co1900sMuskegon, MI
32. Ochsenkopf1781Germany
33. Hults Bruk1697Sweden
34. Gransfors Bruk1902Sweden
35. Wetterlings1880Sweden

Identifying Vintage Axes

When assessing a vintage axe, looking for identifying manufacturer marks can reveal the brand and value. Here are key logos and signatures to look for:

Identifying a vintage axe can be challenging, but there are several methods that can help. Here are some steps to identify a vintage axe:

  • Check the overall profile of the axe to see if anything has been re-profiled or if there are significant damages that can affect the item’s structural integrity.
  • Look for unique markings on the axe head that can help identify the manufacturer or brand. These markings can include logos, symbols, or letters.
  • Compare these marks to digital catalogs or brand logos online to see if they match up. This can help determine the age of the axe and the manufacturer.
  • Check the size and shape of the axe head, as different types of axes have different profiles. For example, a felling axe will have a different profile than a splitting axe.
  • Check the blade orientation and look for small chips on the cutting edge. This can help determine the type of axe and its condition.
  • Measure the length of the handle, as some types of axes have longer handles than others. This can also help determine the type of axe.
  • Check if the axe has 4-5mm steel blades with sharp, tempered edges. This can indicate that the axe is of high quality.
  • Look for any unique or elaborate decorations on the axe head, such as inlays of precious metals. This can indicate that the axe is a rare or valuable vintage piece.

By following these steps, you can identify the type, age, and quality of a vintage axe. It is important to note that some vintage axes may not have unique markings or may have been re-profiled, so it is important to use multiple methods to identify the axe.

Why Vintage Axes Are Treasured Today

For both woodworkers and collectors, vintage axes made by classic American and Swedish brands remain coveted tools. But what accounts for their enduring popularity long after axe production ceased?

  • Iconic Styling: Their attractive shapes embody classic axe designs perfected decades ago.
  • Forged from Quality Steel: Whether carbon steel or innovative alloys, vintage axe heads were designed to hold a keen edge.
  • Balance and Construction: From handle hang to precision grinding, vintage axes feel right in the hand.
  • Legacy of Craftsmanship: They hail from an era when axes were hand forged by seasoned blacksmiths.

Beyond their performance as cutting tools, vintage axes connect us to generations of craftspeople while adding unmatched style to a wood shop or man cave. For axe lovers, they represent an enduring legacy.


This guide to iconic vintage axe brands demonstrates why well-made early 20th-century axes are so cherished among today’s woodworkers and tool collectors. Models marked by famous American companies like Collins, Plumb, and Stanley as well as European forgemasters including Ochsenkopf and Hults Bruk command premium prices due to their reputation for quality and performance.

Yet even unmarked or lesser known vintage axes showing quality construction and classic design cues can make excellent users with some restoration. Part of the appeal lies in giving neglected old axes found at flea markets or farm sales an extended lifetime.

So sharpen up a vintage American axe to split next season’s firewood, display a gleaming Swedish broad axe over the mantel, or just admire their ageless appeal. However you use them, these iconic vintage axe brands made the tools that built and shaped early America.