Square Versus Rounded Socket Lips

Contributed by Randall Nelson

I have three socket chisels made by other companies that also have the flared and rounded type socket tops — an ASAB, a TecoMaster and a Wallins, and all three share some of the distinguishing production features of the Mico chisels I mentioned in another post. All show similar parallel drop hammer marks on their socket shafts and the same type of grinding irregularities that are seen on the Mico blades.

 

Also, as an interesting sideline, the italics lettering of the ASAB stamp on the blade is virtually identical to the style of the Mico stamp lettering, down to the “tail” sticking out on the end of the “B” in ASAB and the “tail” on the “O” in Mico. Because of the remarkable similarity in lettering design, I believe that the same engraver made both the Mico and ASAB blade stamps. However, this doesn’t prove anything beyond the fact that this particular engraver got at least two jobs in his career! But these job overlaps tend to reinforce my belief that it was a small community of specialty tradesmen in Eskilstuna, doing work for many different companies.

 

I am intrigued by the lack of Swedish tool production history and have been attempting to investigate manufacturing similarities between different Swedish tool brands. I am attempting to discover the identities of the actual producers of the various items, such as handle producers, blade manufacturers, etc. vs all the “re-branders”. I believe that the rounded, flared tops of some brands of socket chisels, which I have been discussing, as opposed to the more typical “flared & squared” socket chisel design, as typified by both the Berg and Jernbolaget production, are just one of many design elements to be considered.

 

In the manufacture of the “flared and squared” design, the shaft is always smooth and polished, with no evidence of the drop hammer marks. In contrast, in the “flared and rounded” versions I have observed, the fine, parallel drop hammer marks are still evident on the socket shafts and have not been ground away. I believe this, as well as the rounded finish to the socket, would be a clear indication of a specific manufacturer, making tools parts for many companies to then “brand” as they see fit.

 

Going by the examples I have in my own possession and from photos I have seen in the Galootopia posts, this is the list I have made so far of tools with blades made using the flared & rounded style on their socket chisels: Wallins, Linco, ASAB, Mico, Mibro, Beaver and TecoMaster. I suspect that many more be identified as we go through the posts more carefully. I am starting to think that some of these smaller Companies that we find so intriguing purchased their blade parts and handle parts from different suppliers and then assembled them for sale, just adding their own stickers and their blade stamps, if they had them. Or possibly they made them as sub-contractors, and didn’t even know what name they would be sold under. This could be why so many tools we see just have the ubiquitous MADE IN SWEDEN as a stamp and nothing else. Of course, the other reason could be that one larger company, like Eskilstunasteel, was making all of these different smaller brands, but this would not explain all the dis-similarities from brand to brand, would it? I hardly think any company would be willing to make the many production changes we see, from brand to brand, such as beech vs birch handles, or vertical knurling vs slanted knurling, just to please a hardware store that had ordered 30 chisels!

This started as I was working up a post about the Mico chisels I had just gotten, but the similarities with other brands has gotten me to thinking about the larger world of production and distribution. Please, if you see any other makes of socket chisel that have the flared and rounded tops, let me know. I think this list will prove interesting and a good connection between many of the smaller companies and hopefully will lead to the discovery of some of the as-yet unknown manufacturers involved in Swedish chisel production.

Contributed by Randall Nelson