Research continues on this company. Please see the "Lesser Known Tool Companies" page for progress.
Vanadium Tool Co. (Athens, Ohio) & Affiliated
Here is the link to the Ohio Business Site and the filing for Vanadium Tool Co. on 6/16/1969. The record shows a status of "Merged out of existance" on 12/29/1986.
Advertisements for salesmen begin to appear in newspapers in 1947.
The earliest HW Retailers magazine we can find Vanadium Tool Co. listed in is 1949, where they are listed under chisels, punches and wrenches. In the '51 edition they also appear under screwdrivers.
There is an interesting article in the 11/29/1962 edition of the Wilmington News-Journal noting the formation of the Mecto Corp. in order to manufacture mechanics tools. The article states that the President will be Wendell Fryer and Eugene Workman will serve as Secretary/Treasurer and GM, and Verne Gessner as Sales Dir. It also states that Mssrs. Fryer and Workman have been directors of the Vanadium Tool Co. for 17 years. This dates the Vanadium Tool Co. to at least 1945. The article also notes that Mecto has absorbed the Hicraft Tool Co. and it's factory in Greenfield, OH to begin manufacturing, noting also that Hicraft was an auger bit manufacturer. Further research on Hicraft reveals that in January of 1952 the company was sold to J. D. McFarland, a Hamilton, OH automobile dealer. A 1958 edition of Hardware Retailer notes that Hicraft was producers of punches, chisels, screwdrivers, prick and drift punches, along with other small tool items.
Mr. Workman's obituary states he owned Vanadium Tool Co. and Mecto Corp.
We have been able to place Mssrs. Workman and Fryer as residing in Sabina, OH up until late 1944 when they begin showing up with addresses in Athens, OH. At this point we can make the assumption that the 2 owners likely came from Mechanics Tool & Forge (MAC).
The June 30, 1945 edition of the Wilmington News-Journal reports that Mr. F. H. Bennett and daughters will be moving to Athens due to his interest in the Vanadium Tool Co. This is the first mention of Mr. Bennett and any affilliation with the company and we have yet to discover any further information.
This report from the State of Ohio (1948) suggests the incorporation of the Hicraft Tool Co. in Greenfield, OH. Interestingly, the officers are noted as: Mr. William A. Harmon, Wendell F. Fryer, E. A. Workman, and J. S. S. Riley.
Mr. Harmon's Obituary also notes his founding of the Vanadium Tool Company.
The 1/24/1952 edition of the Wilmington News-Journal reports that the Hicraft Tool Co. has been sold to J. D. McFarland, a Hamilton, OH automobile dealer and that the management and employees will remain the same.
The 4/16/1963 edition of The Press-Gazette of Hillsboro, OH notes that the Mecto, Inc. (reporting Mecto = "Mechanics Tool Co") has been approved to receive a grant in order to build a new factory. It also reports the company will make pliers, wrenches and screwdrivers as a minimum.
An article from the 10/7/1969 edition of The Press-Gazette announces the acquisition of Mecto by K-D Manufacturing and includes a nice historical review of K-D.
This obituary for Mr. Alexander Turner Topping notes that Mr. Topping purchased the Vanadium Tool Co. (along with 2 associates) in 1969 from Mr. William Harmon (see above note on the incorporation of Hicraft). The article further notes Mr. Topping sold Vanadium Tool Co. to Cornwell in the 1980's, probably late 1986 when it dissolved.
UPDATE Vanadium Tool Co. Acquisition: We have discovered (thanks to a tip from a local Ohio resident) an article in the November 1, 1974 edition of The Messenger newspaper (requires free account to access link) of Athens, OH announcing the sale of Vanadium Tool Co. to Cornwell on October 30, 1974. The article goes on to note that VTC has been producing wrenches for Cornwell for a number of years and will continue to produce wrenches, punches, and chisels under the Vanadium name and expand it's production of Vanadium and Cornwell items. The article further notes that Mr. Topping will continue as President and that he purchased VTC from Mr. Harmon in 1969. The article also notes that VTC was founded by Mr. Harmon, his father and three other unnamed men in 1945.
The accouncement of Mr. Topping's purchase is also carried in The Messenger of June 22, 1969 (free account needed to access link). The article notes that Mr. Topping was VP of Sales for SK-Wayne, a subsidiary of Dresser at the time. It further states that Mr. Topping had been Sales and Plant Manager of SK - Lectrolite in Defiance. The article further notes the other investors: John H. Melcher, Jr.; Thomas J. McCann, Jr.; H. Clark Harvey, Jr. This article also notes that the Harmon family owned VTC outright since 1962.
In an article in The Messenger from July 23, 1972, it is revealed that VTC also makes tools for labels such as S-K and Craftsman. The article goes on to note that they will be producing 700,000 punches for "a large tool maker" this year (1972). Interestingly, and somewhat comical, Mr. Topping notes that "if he were approached by a large corporation seeking to take over his operation, he would not accept the offer." This is just 2 years before selling the company to Cornwell.