The SUPPLEE HDW. CO. and the
    The Biddle Hardware Company was established in 1837 by Robert and William C. Biddle, brothers that originally called their firm R. & W. C. Biddle. That name was changed to R. & W. C. Biddle & Co. after the sons of Robert and William joined the firm. Clement M. Biddle was the son of Robert and he became a partner on January 1, 1865 after working for the firm since 1861.  His cousin Charles M. became a partner in 1866.
    In 1866 the firm name was changed to Biddle Hardware Co. They were the first hardware house that adopted the words "Hardware Company" in their name but in fact they remained a family concern. The principals were Robert, William C., Clement M. and Charles M. Biddle.
    In 1872 the founding Biddles retired and the firm was taken over by Charles M. and Clement M. Biddle. That arrangement only lasted one year and in 1873 Charles bought out his cousin Clement and became the sole proprietor of the business.
    In 1873 Edward Knight commenced working for the Biddle Hardware Co. During the next 17 years he worked in practically every department of the company including that of traveling salesman. In 1890 Edward Knight became a partner. Two years later, in 1892, Charles M. Biddle, Jr. and Robert Biddle, 2nd, each received an interest in the firm after having started in 1898 and 1899 respectively.
    By the time the company issued its first general catalog in 1910, the company had been in business 73 years. Sometime within the next decade, possibly in 1919, the Biddle Hardware Co. joined with the Supplee Hardware Company and the firm of Supple, Biddle Hardware Co. was formed.
1854 -1867
1867 -1889
1889 -1905
1905 -1919
1919 -1950
1950 -1960
By Tom Lamond ©
Advertisement ca.1890s Lloyd, Supplee & Walton.
    What eventually resulted in a major hardware concern possibly best known as the Supplee-Biddle Hdw. Co. was the result of two significant hardware distributors joining together. Those two firms were the Biddle Hdw. Co. and the Supplee Hdw. Co.
    Before that merger actually took place a number of partner-ships were involved that included the name Supplee. Those partnerships were all connected in one way or another.
   The following includes a brief overview of the establishment and growth of the companies along with many of the labels and markings used by the companies especially in regard to the axes they distributed.
Logo used in some Biddle Hdw. Co. catalogs and on some paper labels.
Label as depicted in the 1910 Biddle Hardware Co. catalog. The Winchester brand shown had nothing to do with the Winchester brand that emerged in  1919 in conjunction with the Winchester Stores. The letters in the corners indicate the label was applied to axes made by the American Axe & Tool Co.
Two versions of an anvil design were used by the Biddle Hardware Company as their logo.  The anvil design was usually printed on letterheads and bill  heads.    
Trademark No.923 registered to the Biddle Hardware Co. on July 23, 1872.
Paper labels used on some Supplee Hdw. Co. axes made by the American Axe & Tool Co.  after the merger.
Etching used on some axes marketed by the Biddle Hardware Co.
Paper labels used on WM. PENN axes marketed by the Biddle Hardware Co.
Tops of boxes that contained stocks of various pattern knives manufactured for sale by the Biddle Hardware Co. They advertised that they sold at least 600 patterns.  

    In the early 1850s William J. Lloyd and William W. Supplee, were employed in the mercantile business in Philadelphia. In 1854 they agreed to take a trip west together with the expectations of opening their own business somewhere in the Midwest. After two years they located in Lacrosse, Wisconsin where they establish a mercantile store under the name Lloyd & Supplee. The business grew and was enlarged and eventually the firm had expanded to the point tat they had stores into a number of adjacent states.
    Around 1863 W. Lloyd and W. Supplee decided to return to Philadelphia but they maintained the business in Lacrosse while it was being turned over to others. They even financed the turnover for approximately two years.
    At this point no labels or markings are known about that inclue the name Lloyd - Supplee Co. LLOYD, SUPPLEE & WALTON 

     After returning to Philadelphia in 1867 W. Lloyd and W. Supplee purchased the firm of Conrad & Walton, an established hardware concern. The new firm was named Lloyd, Supplee & Walton.  During that same time the partners arranged for the manufacture of certain hardware items including C. S. Bonney's Hollow Auger (Pat. No. 105,896) for which they were assigned the rights to  make the hollow auger. 
     Lloyd & Supplee bought out Coates Walton  but the firm maintained the name Lloyd, Supplee & Walton until 1889. Supplee bought out Lloyd's interests in 1889 and that transaction resulted in the formation of what became known as the Supplee Hardware Co.
BIDDLE HDW. CO.                                                 1837-1919
Lloyd Supplee was located in La Crosse, Wis. The other firms were all in Philadelphia.

   The Supplee Hardware Company was established around 1856 and operated primarily under that name until 1905 when it merged with the Biddle Hardware Co. As noted above it legally existed as Supplee, Biddle & King Hardware Co. from 1905-19191 but the name King was used minimally. The business primarily operated as the Supplee-Biddle Hardware Co.
    During the operational time of the Supplee Hardware Co. the firm marketed a significant amount of goods under the Supplee Hardware Co. name. They used paper labels as well as stampings.
    During their years of operation under the name Supplee Hardware Co. the company used a number of brand names on a variety of items and/or groups of items. Many of those items were axes and hatchets and a number of the brands were registered. 
    In regard to one brand it appears that the Mann Edge Tool Co. and/or its related companies used the brand  RED WARRIOR. The Supplee Hdw. Co. marked axes with a very similar name with a design that was also similar to the Mann brand. It was called the RED CHIEFTAIN and it was a registered trademark owned by The Supplee Hdw. Co.
     Numerous other Supplee brands related to pocket cutlery and razors, shovels and scoops and lawn mowers became quite recognizable in the hardware field.  SUPPLEE, BIDDLE & KING HDW. CO.

   The Supplee, Biddle & King Hardware Co. is considered an enigma at this time. The name appears in a couple of reference only as a hardware concern located in Philadelphia but no details have as yet been uncovered. Apparently it was organized around 1905 existed, at least on paper, until 1919. 
    It is possible that the name King was primarily an investor and his was included in the actual company name but for business purposes the company operated and subsequently became more widely known as Supplee-Biddle.
Symbol observed on a letterhead and used some pocket knives by the Supplee, Biddle & King Hdw. Co.
Label as depicted in the 1910 Biddle Hardware Co. catalog. The Winchester brand shown had nothing to do with the Winchester brand that emerged in  1919 in conjunction with the Winchester Stores. The letters in the corners indicate the label was applied to axes made by the American Axe & Tool Co.
The RED CHIEFTAN label was registered (#13, 825) to the Supplee-Biddle Hdw. Co. on  Mar. 10, 1906 for axes, hatchets and adzes. Application had been filed on Oct. 21, 1905. On May 15, 1906, another Red Chieftain trade mark was issued to the Supplee Hdw. Co. It was designated as #52,687.
NOTE 2: There may have been some legal dispute involving the RED CHIEFTAIN and the RED WARRIOR brand or the RED CHIEFTAIN axes may have been produced specifically for Supplee-Biddle by the Mann Edge Tool Co.
NOTE 1: The design in the center of the label is quite graphic in regard to the scalped figure at the Indian’s feet. It was later changed to a simpler design.  
The BLACKHAWK brand and label are based on a registered trademark issued to the Supplee Hardware Company in February 1904 & Jan. 23, 1906 (#49,167). It was stated to have been in use since February 1902.
Symbol printed on some letterheads and bill heads used by the Supplee Hardware Company.
The CHARTER OAK U.S.A. mark was etched into some axe heads. The right mark was used on handsaws. The brand was initially registered by The Collins (Axe) Co. so they made the axes and allowed the use of the brand on other tools.
The two WM. PENN brand and designs were etched into some axe heads. The two marks at the right were etched onto some handsaw blades.
The OLD HICKORY label was used on some axe heads. The brand was registered by Supplee Hdw. Co. but it was used by others. At this point no explanation has been determined.
Numerous brands and marks were used by the Supplee Hdw. Co. Some were used on axes as well as other items such as spades, shovels and scoops.
GLADIATOR was used on agricultural implements and sheep sheers.

    In 1919 the company was reorganized and the resulting name formally became the Supplee-Biddle Hardware Co. That name seems to have become the most recognized of the various names that were actually used for the firm over the years. Like many wholesale hardware companies Supplee-Biddle produced substantially sized catalogs showing the lines and items that they offered. 
    The Supplee-Biddle Hardware Co. continued until 1950 when it was reorganized again. It then became the Supplee, Biddle& Steltz Co. The company apparently diversified as one of the lines they got into was the production of munitions.