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BALLSTON SPA, NEW YORK      1870-1895
By Tom Lamond ©
     The Knickerbacker Axe Company drew it's  name from the man that took it over but it drew it’s roots from an axe maker named Sylvester Blood. Sylvester Blood started making axes in 1824 and upon his death in 1837 his son, Isaiah Blood, continued the business. It was during Isaiah Blood's tenure that the business grew substantially in size and importance. In 1870, upon the death of Isaiah, the company was passed on to Blood’s only daughter Helen. At the time Helen was already married to Henry Knicker his son-in-law, Henry Knickerbacker. Henry Knickerbacker was a successful businessman with his offices located primarily in New York City but apparently he maintained a opulent second home in Saragtoga County, NY in the community of Ballston Spa.
     Henry changed the name of the company to the Knickerbacker Axe Co. but he maintained many of the brands and labels that were associated with the company when it was run by his father-in-law. Indications are that Henry continued to build the business as an axe and scythe making establishment. Other edge tools also continued to be made and by the 1890s the demand for labor rose to between two and three hundred men in the various shops that made up the company.
     On March 13, 1900,  a fire wiped out the scythe making shop and the decision not to rebuild the shop followed. A few years later the axe making shop also burned and rather then rebuild that the salvageable equipment was transported to Glassport, Pennsylvania to be incorporated into the axe making facilities located there.
     Confusing reports indicate that the Knickerbacker Axe Co. was one of the original founding companies of the American Axe & Tool Company, a conglomerate headquartered in Glassport, Pennsylvania. Other reports indicate they became part of the conglomerate in 1895.
     It may well be that the physical relocation was completely relocated in 1895 after a second fire in Ballston resulted in damage deemed too expensive to justify rebuilding. That does not preclude the Knickerbacker Axe Co. from being part of the original A. A. & T. Co. They just utilized the Ballston facilities until no longer practical.  
     It is not clear when H. Knickerbacker adopted certain other brands but after they joined the A. A. & T. Co. they continued to use the "Blood's Champion Axe" brand. The label was different than that used earlier and there was no reference to the A. A. & T. CO. included.
Facsimile of a letterhead used by H. Knickerbacker. This may be the most all-inclusive letterhead related to any edge tool manufacturer of the era.
Facsimiles of various labels used on different edge tools made by Knickerbacker and bearing the Blood name.
Facsimiles of Champion labels prior to the Knickerbacker Axe Co. joining the  A. A. & T. Co.
Blood's Champion labels as printed in some wholesaler catalogs. The same graphics were used by I. Blood, H. Knickerbacker and the American Axe & Tool Co. The color and location varied along with additional wording on the A. A. & T. label.
Facsimiles of Blood / Seybold 505 label used by the Knickerbacker Axe Co. prior to joining the  A. A. & T. Co.
Cross reference articles published on the YesteryearsTools web site that relate to this article; Blood and American A. & T. Co.