Examples of display package backing used with some Norlund products. The Packages were sealed in plastic and could be hung on a display rack for merchandising purposes. The packages were made in different sizes and printed with the specific name of the product. The largest package was tall enough to accommodate the longest axe handle with the head attached. The smallest was sized to display the Voyageur Axe. Other axes, the Prospector Pick and the folding camp saw were attached to appropriate sized backing. Individual packages were sealed in a clear plastic covering in what is called a “blister pack”.
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LEWISTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA   1968-1986-(2001)?
By Tom Lamond ©
    In 1965 the Canadian Tire Co. approached the principals of the Mann Edge Tool Co. with a proposal that the Mann Edge Tool Co. manufacture a line of "Sportsmen's Axes" and certain other outdoor equipment. By 1968 John Waddell, the president of the Mann Edge Tool Co., had traveled to Scandinavia, possibly Sweden) and visited another company that reportedly had previously supplied certain similar axes. By the end of 1968 the O. A. Norlund  Co. had been established and began making axes, hatchets and some other outdoor camping and fishing equipment bearing the name O. A. NORLUND.  
    Indications are that there had been another company that used a similar name in the late 1920s through at least 1949. Their name was O. A. Norland, (spelled with an “a”, not a “u”). That company is known to have made broad heads for archery. One such broad head was called the YEOMAN. Unsubstantiated reports  indicate that Norland also made or marketed other outdoor equipment for sportsmen and trappers.  As mentioned, those products are said to have included sporting goods for archery as well as other hunting gear.
    An early example of a spring loaded fishing gaff bearing the Norland name is believed to have been one of their product lines. Similar gaffs known as Lion Gaffs were made in Lewistown by the Mann Edge Tool Co. as part of the O. A. Norlund Co. line but apparently demand was minimal. In 1972 Mann sold the rights to the four Lion Fishing Gaffs to the Shurkatch Fishing Tackle Co. of Richfield Springs, NY. Shurkatch was an established  manufacturer and marketer of other fishing gear as well.
    It is surmised that the early company that operated as O. A. NORLAND may have been the basis of the name O. A. NORLUND CO. but no direct connection has actually been revealed. It may be that the Canadian Tire Co. requested that the line of axes and hatches bear the NORLUND name because of the earlier reputation of O. A. NORLAND.
    Production of the line of Hudson Bay style of axes and hatchets commonly marked O. A. NORLUND was actually conducted within the Mann Edge Tool Co. factory in Lewistown, Pennsylvania. Another striking tool observed with the O. A. Norlund mark is a prospector's pick-hammer combination. The O. A. Norlund Co. also made a folding buck saw called a Guides Saw and crampons which are spiked devices that get strapped to the bottoms of boots so the wearer can achieve more traction while walking on slippery surfaces. It may also be that the term Hudson Bay was used at the request of the Canadian Tire Co. They were actually a large chain of stores that marketed numerous lines of goods of which sporting goods was a major inclusion.
     The Norlund line of axes developed a reputation for high quality and although they were marketed in both Canada and the US the demand decreased considerably in the early 1980s. Indications are that EZ Sales & Manufacturing, Inc. of Gardena, California either acquired the line or the primary marketing rights in 1986 but the Mann Edge Tool Co. continued to manufacture some of the axes that were continued in the line.
      Recent observations strongly suggest that the brand has been sold again and axes under that name may be being manufactured elsewhere, perhaps in the far east.
Letterhead used by the O. A. Norlund Co.
Facsimiles of designs as stamped into some leather sheaths. The upper design was also impressed into some axe faces.
Markings as stamped into some axes; in some cases into the cheek and in other cases just below the edge of the poll. Some impressions included the name Norlund, others did not. Some markings were supplemented with a paper label similar to one of those depicted below.
Voyageur: French for “traveler”.
(Spelled Voyager in English.)
A woodsman, boatman, or guide employed by a fur company to transport goods and supplies between camps and outposts in Canada or the Northwest  U.S.
The style name was sometimes stamped just below the poll on one side of some axes and the words GENUINE NORLUND were stamped on the other side.
Many of the chopping tools made by Norlund were marked with the name of the design or head style. Some heads had markings on one side while other were marked with different impressions on both sides. Many originally included a label of which there were two styles.
Paper label as used on some Norlund hatchets and axes sometimes along with the name of the design or the words  HUDSON BAY.
All weights and handle lengths are approximate.
Representation of part of a string tag attached to some Norlund axes. The additional printed wording has yet to be determined.
Norlund’s Folding Guide Saw was included with the group of axes and sold in the packaging as depicted.
1 1/4 lb. w/17 1/2" handle
1 1/4" lb. w/ 18 1/2" handle
2 lb. w/ 24" handle
2 1/2 lb. w/36" handle
3 1/2 lb. w/36" handle
2 lb. w/26" handle
2 1/2 lb. w/24" handle
    The O. A. Norlund Co. initially operated a division called Norlund Metal Products. That division made four versions of Lion Fish Gaffs along with attachments for shoes or boots commonly called Crampons. It is presumed that the name Lion was intended to relate to the grip of a lion.
    A fish gaff is used to grab and secure a fish in order to pull it from the water or hold it while removing the hook. Some models of the fish gaffs Norlund made were like tongs with long handles. Another style was spring-loaded and another was a long sharpened hook on the end of a handle.
    The Foot Safety Devices, or “crampons” were attachments that were strapped onto a persons shoes or boots, They included small spikes or caulks  on the bottom that would increase traction on slippery surfaces such as ice, wet bark or slippery rocks encountered when fishing.  
     What was sometimes referred to as the Lion Fish Gaff Division was sold to the Shurkatch Fishing Tackle Co. of Richfield Springs, New York. What happened to the foot safety product line is unknown.
Photo of the cover of Norlund Metal Products catalog.
(Date unknown)
The Norlund Folding Guide Saw was made of metal and reportedly manufactured by the Norlund Metal Products Division.
The packages were made in different sizes and printed with the specific name of the product. There was also a package for the Folding Guide Saw. The printing included varied from one product to another.
The graphics shown are incomplete but are the most  representative based on the references found.
w/13 1/2" handle
Special Thanks and Appreciation to:
Waddell, John (Personal Communications)
This company will be added to the MANN AXE MAKING DYNASTY booklet in the next edition.