Peck, Stow & Wilcox (PS&W) (PEXTO)

The Vintage Machinery website has an excellent historical writeup on this company and can be found here.

ToolArchives Research

The following information comes from a report published by the Connecticut Bureau of Labor Statistics for the year ending 11/30/1903.

The origin of the Peck, Stow & Wilcox Co. dates back to 1797.  In that year Seth Peck, of Southington, Conn., commenced the manufacture of Tinsmiths' Machines, to take the place of hand tools exclusively used by tinsmiths before that date.  By gradual growth the following firms have succeeded to that business: Seth Peck & Co., O. & N. Peck, Peck, Smith & Co. and the Peck-Smith Mfg. Co.

Up to this time the sole manufacture was tinsmiths' tools and machines.  By 1870, the S. Stow Mfg. Co. of Plantsville, and the Roys & Wilcox Co. of East Berlin were competitors in that business.  In December, 1870, these three firms united and formed a joint stock company under the name of Peck, Stow & Wilcox Co.  In 1880 the firm was incorporated by special act of the General Assembly with an authorized capital of one and a half million dollars.  Within a year that amount of capital was all paid in and Wilcox, Treadway & Co., of Cleveland, O., was absorbed by the firm.

The company now has factories in Southington, Plantsville and Eas Berlin, Conn., covering a floor space of about two hundred and sixty thousand square feet, and factories in Cleveland, O., covering about eighty-nine thousand feet more, making in all about sevan and a half square acres.

Tinsmiths' tools and machines still constiture a prominent portion of the company's product, but a varied line has been gradually added.  This now embraces as its principal items, carpenters, machinists and blacksmiths tools, housekeeping implements such as meat and food cutters, coffee mills and scale beams and a varied assortment of builders' hardware.

Contradicting the above, an article from a 1937 edition of Hardware Age, only available to us as a clipped snippet and therefore incomplete, notes that a recent government study found PEXTO origins as far back as 1785.  While we have not yet made the connection between Beckley and any of the PEXTO member companies, this snippet supports him making tools in the area in 1785.  This snippet from a 1941 edition of American Machinist appears to make the connection between Berkely and Wilcox.

On 11/12/1878 the New York Times reports the wood shop and brass foundry were completely destroyed.  It was to be immediately rebuilt.

On 12/19/1883, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports that the Peck, Stow & Wilcox Edge Tool plant at Cheshire was completely destroyed by fire.  This particular fire happened during a depressive era and it's not clear it was ever rebuilt.

Peck, Stow & Wilcox Co. (New York, NY)

Sub Brands / Trade Names / Trademarks

The 1890 edition of Seeger and Guernsey's Cyclopaedia of the Manufactures and Products of the United States lists PEXTO in the following manufacturer catagories (hand tools in bold):

  • Alarm Door Bells
  • Carriage Bolts
  • Flower Pot Brackets
  • Bronze Butts
  • Cast Butts
  • Door Butts
  • Door Springs
  • Builders' Hardware
  • Sausage Meat Cutters
  • Ox Balls
  • Steel Traps
  • Fire Sets (tool sets)
  • Brass Match Safes
  • Bush Hooks
  • Jack Screws
  • Calipers
  • Carpenters' Chisels
  • Cold Chisels
  • Quilt Frame Clamps
  • Coffee Mills
  • Draw Knives
  • Iron Rules
  • Steel Rules
  • Beading Machines
  • Burring Machines
  • Cornice Machines
  • Crimping Machines
  • Double Seaming Machines
  • Fire Pots, Tinners
  • Folding Machines
  • Forming Machines
  • Gutter Machines
  • Notching Machines
  • Tinners' Punches
  • Circular Shears
  • Squaring Shears
  • Soldering Coppers
  • Tinners' Stakes
  • Swaging Machines
  • Tin Roofing Machines
  • Tin Roofing Tools
  • Tinsmiths' Machines
  • Tinsmiths' Tools
  • Turning Machines
  • Wiring Machines
  • Fire Shovels
  • Iron Squares
  • Plate Glass Squares

In the 1899 edition, PEXTO has added the following tools (along with multiple non-tool products) to their manufacturing list:

  • Garden Tools
  • Garden Trowels
  • Ratchet Drills
  • Chisels
  • Box Chisels
  • Hammers
  • Tack Hammers
  • Ice Axes
  • Tinners' Snips
  • Shovels

At least by 1892, and possibly earlier, PEXTO was making solid steel hammers.  Auger bits begin appearing in advertisements around 1893.

In February of 1910, PEXTO publishes its "2nd Edition" of their Hand Tools Catalog.  This full page advertisement from the March, 1910 edition of Popular Mechanics elaborates on the contents of this 2nd edition catalog consisting of 160 pages.

In September of 1953, Billings & Spencer tendered an offer to purchase PEXTO.  The offer was bested by the United Industrial Syndicate, Inc.  An article in Hardware age from late 1953 reveals the successful bidder as Billings & Spencer.

Squire Robinson Patent #299,165 - Wrench (Noted in Iron Age as having been produced by Peck, Stow & Wilcox.)

    Image Description: 

    Main factory at the corner of Center St. & South Center St. Southington CT Photo Credit: Wisconsin Historical Society

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    bunger's picture

    Main factory at the corner of Center St. & South Center St. Southington CT
    Photo Credit: Wisconsin Historical Society

    Image: