WESTON, CONNECTICUT      1812-1906+
By Tom Lamond ©
    The originator of the company that was to later become known as the Bradley Axe Co. was Wakeman Bradley who relocated to Weston, Connecticut from Southport and commenced to make axes there. That was in 1812 after he had learned the trade from David Wakeman.
    During the ensuing years Gershom Wakeman Bradley, Wakeman Bradley's oldest son, worked with his father and learned the trade. In 1834, Gershom Wakeman Bradley bought what had previously been a comb factory that was located on the Saugatuck River in Weston, Connecticut. It was there that he started to make edge tools under his own name. The establishment was called G. W. Bradley's Edge Tool Factory. The business continued under the leadership G. W. Bradley until 1854 when it was destroyed by what was called a freshet. That is when a fresh water stream is overfilled and floods, resulting in considerable destruction on its path downstream to the sea. The factory was rebuilt by Bradley's oldest son, Miles, and continued first under Miles's leadership, then by various other family members, until 1906 when the company was sold to two men; one named Adams, the other named Staples.
    For one reason or another, the location of the company was noted on some labels as Westport. Quite possibly they had an office there and/or it may have been a more recognizable shipping depot, either of which may have influenced the use of Westport on the labels rather then Weston.
     Adams and Staples had little success with the company and shut it down after just a few years, possibly in 1910. A year later, 1911, the works were destroyed by fire.
    Included in the products that were made at G. W. Bradley's Edge Tool Factory were a variety of other edge tools as well as axes and hatchets. The first line of goods was originally marked G. W. BRADLEY while two other lines were also being manufactured. The other brands were called WESTPORT TOOL CO. and D. PLATT'S.
     WESTPORT TOOL CO. goods were considered second quality while D. PLATT’S were considered a step below that and called third quality. Indications in the company's 1876 catalog reveal that "D. Platt" was referred to as Dr. Platt but no elaboration was included. The same catalog reveals that in addition to edge tools, the G. W. Bradley Edge Tool Co. sold a variety of other forged tools along with some wood-body cooper’s tools.
    Another company that may possibly have been an attempt to continue the Bradley Edge Tool Co. appeared in  Jersey City, New Jersey around 1918.  The company was named the G. W. BRADLEY AX and TOOL CO. At this point little is known about the company or how long it lasted.
    The 1918 Thomas' Register lists the G. W. BRADLEY AX and TOOL MFG. CO. under a variety of headings. Under "adzes" the 1918 Register indicated that the company had a manufactory in Newburgh, NY.
NEWBURGH, NEW YORK         1918+-
Facsimile of early label and/or advertisement.
Facsimiles of paper labels used on different Bradley edge tools.
Representations of stampings applied to a number of tools made by  G. W. Bradley.
Facsimiles of paper label and stamping used on a Bradley drawknife.
Representations of stampings applied to  G. W. Bradley edge tools; (upper) broad axe, (lower) side hatchet.
Facsimile of a "G.W. BRADLEY AX" paper label observed on a single bit axe.
The "HIGH-SPEED AX" paper label was observed on a broad axe.
The Bradley Edge Tool Co. is reputed to have made axes for other distributors, one of which was the Bronson & Townsend Hdw. Co. of New Haven, Conn. although other companies also made axes for the same company.
OTHER BRANDS attributed to the Bradley Axe Co.  / Bradley Edge Tool Co. included:
D. Platt,     Miles,     Westport Tool Co.
Qunnipiac,     Diamond B
This company will be included in the NEW ENGLAND AXE MAKERS booklet.