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Old-School Hardware Stores and Industrial Suppliers

guyf2000

Plastic
Joined
Jan 2, 2016
In northeast Ohio,

Pine Valley Bolt and Surplus on Ohio Rt.87 just west of Mesopotamia. Not open Sundays.
Hemly's Hardware near Montville, Ohio.
Star Supply in Youngstown on Mahoning Avenue. Surplus stuff. Also the largest mobile slingshot I've encountered.
 

toolauctions

Plastic
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
ladies & gents:

A recent question by member adamamil concerned old-school hardware stores and industrial suppilers, the kind that have a wide and deep stocking policy. He wanted to know if there were any left. I made a somewhat-rambling reply concerning some that still exist and some that are gone but not forgotten.

I thought i'd start a new thread and see where these two questions take us:

1) what local (to you) still existant old-school hardware stores and industrial supply houses do you know of, ones which are on topic because they have tools/parts/supplies for antique machinery.

2) do you mourn the loss of any particular late, great hardware & industrial supply houses? What did you buy there that you now have difficulty purchasing? Again, try to keep this on topic by relating it to the antiquated tools or machinery you bought there.

Recently visited and still in existence:

*suter's hardware in altoona, pa. They had an odd-sized adz-eye handle that i needed.

*surplus city in altoona pa. What a great assortment of new and perhaps slightly-used "stuff"! They were selling morse-shank twist drills by the pound.

*max brown industrial hardware in carteret, nj. He just got forced to relocate by urban renewal. He's now at 1000 port carteret drive, which is somewhat off the beaten path.

* madsen & howell in perth amboy, nj. Recently bought a couple of short-length 32" sledgehammer handles, which is a time & money saver because you don't want the full-length handle for a lot of work.

* barnett tool supply, kenilworth, nj. He's got a large stock of milling cutters and morse taper drills.

* grand tool supply in teterboro, nj. They seem to be the king of brown & sharpe tapered tooling. They also have way oil and spindle oil in convenient gallon cans.

Recently visited and now defunct:

*mcnulty hardware in coalport, pa. Right out of "the walton's" - lots of pre-war items.

Long gone but fondly remembered:

* edwin [edward? Not sure] ruskin, jersey city, nj man, you shoulda seen the circa 1905 store fixtures in that place! Purchased several discontinued stanley tools and various other odds & ends like lantern globes.

* wallace armer hardware on erie blvd in schennectady ny. Had a continuous-belt messenger system for running notes to the stockroom. I bought new, old stock i&j white plane blades for obsolete wooden carpenter's planes.

* koenig's industrial supply, linden, nj.

So, where do you / have you enjoyed buying supplies/parts/tooling for your old machines?

John ruth

dont forget about us. We probably bought out some of the older hardware stores. I have over 80,000 sq ft in tools, parts and industrial surplus

check out Michigan Surplus | eBay Stores
 

Reid Zeigler

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 5, 2005
Location
Pennsylvania
And the old Boeing surplus store in Seattle that I used to frequent as a teenager. An electromechanical wonderland that beat anything Disney ever created (for me at least)
 

Marty Feldman

Titanium
Joined
Feb 21, 2005
Location
Owl's Head, Maine
Plaza Machinery, Vermont

Plaza Machinery, Bethel, Vermont
Out of business since Joe's death a year ago, but was near the top of
the sacred-biennial-pilgrimage list.


One of the many tool-packed caverns at Joe's place:
View attachment 208348


In this one, that's Joe Bergamo in the green vest, with my friend Larry, looking over a typically mostly hidden Swiss machine back against the wall:
IMG_1410.jpg

-Marty-
 

SalemRule

Cast Iron
Joined
Jul 26, 2018
McKittrick's is a shell of what it was a couple decades ago (back when we still had a little more industry around Lowell to supply) but still one of the best around. Definitely has the no-frills, dusty ambiance of the hardware stores of old. Feels like stepping out of a time machine into the 50s.

O'Connor's in Billerica, MA - It's a True Value brand, but they've retained a bit of the good old fashioned hardware store. They've got a little bit of everything, well stocked, and amply staffed by a bunch of guys who've actually used the stuff they sell. Equipment rentals, a repair window and saw sharpening, replacement handles for hammers and farming implements, a couple long aisles of specialty hardware. And they have housewares and paint sections to keep my wife entertained while I'm pawing around in hardware.

Times throw a wrench into century-old Lowell business (SLIDESHOW) - Lowell Sun Online
 

Old-Red

Plastic
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
Hornsby Heavy Hardware Inc 615 Ohio Ave, Wichita Falls, Texas 76301 (940) 322-8696 is still there supplying stuff to a number of oil fields with wells from 200 1,500 feet deep. Clark Gable in Boomtown was about an oil field 20 miles from there.

In World War One Will Hornsby and Bill Holt were selling tracked tractors to the Alli.es to drag artillery through the mud when the tractors grew armor and guns and became tanks. After the war Holt bought out Hornsby and came Home to make more tacked tractors eventually founding Caterpillar. With the Holt family being dealers for Mexico and most of south Texas.

The 1990's weren't good for most heavy equipment dealers. Conly Lot & Niclos went bankrupt, Holt ended up most of Texas when they ended up Darr.

I can't find a connection with Hornsby but time and connections are right .
 

Froneck

Titanium
Joined
Dec 4, 2010
Location
McClure, PA 17059
I scrolled thru the replies and didn't see McMaster-Carr listed. They have a great online catalog and many old-time items like leather, leather belting and belt lacing that would be of interest to Antique machine owners. They are great to deal with, most items Order today get tomorrow! If you order something by mistake they will take it back and issue full credit for the item. In addition they have all other shop needs as well as Hardware items. I buy quite a bit from them.
 

Old-Red

Plastic
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
I posted incompetent.

I have never been able to connect the British Hornsby to Hornsby Heavy Hardware. But, the time is right and the two families knew each other and folks in Texas were always looking for more good men to make Texas grow at the start of the oil boom.




















britch
 

fabtec

Plastic
Joined
May 26, 2008
Location
Southern California
Battels Hardware Store Whittier Ca. Closes after 75 years. They had everything for older homes and sold L.S. Starrett, Brown & Sharpe, and sold restored machines drill presses, lathes and saws.
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ae7067_5ad18161af1740b5abd80021a9d8fc23~mv2.jpg
 

wrenchguy

Plastic
Joined
Dec 5, 2011
Location
NW Indiana
A 140 year old Westphal counter top wood screw display case from Patterson Hardware, Akron Indiana.
When I got it and realizing how fragile cast iron with glass is.


Label stuck on 1 of the bin dividers.


3 missing bin fronts recast.


Topper with string ball holder done.


Assembled but lettering is giving me fits on the 122 bin fronts. That's 122 different size screws for sale!


Short operation video with utube putting a ad on my channel, not me.
https://youtu.be/ByYXcmad2BA
 

Joe Michaels

Diamond
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Location
Shandaken, NY, USA
Fowler & Keith, an old time heavy hardware & mill supply in Kingston, NY has been out of business for some years. In the past year, there has been a 'word of mouth' liquidation sale of remaining inventory there. The story is the last owner and his wife got divorced. The wife, as settlement in the divorce, got the old Fowler & Keith property plus remaining inventory. The lady, whose name is Judy Wells, opened the roll-up door on the loading dock whenever she is in the store and able to let people in to browse. What is left is a mixed bag of heavy plumbing and fire sprinkler fittings, plumbing fixtures, loads of vee belts, tons (literally) of boxed fasteners of all sorts- lag screws, carriage bolts, hex head bolts, and wood kegs of nails in the basement. Miscellaneous 'builder's hardware' (lock sets, door closers). The Starrett tools and all the other tools are long gone. There was a back shelf loaded with vee belt sheaves, taper lock bushings and assorted odd sized pillpw block bearings. There are a few hundred pounds of various types and sizes of square braid packing (as used on pumps shafts, piston rods, boat stern tubes). Up front, there was still some manganese bronze brazing rod in packages from "Marquette" welding supplies. I loaded up on the manganese bronze brazing rod.

I found three Norton "woodsman's stones"- the round puck type oil stones used to keep an axe sharp. I also found three Norton grinding wheel dressing sticks. We bought a 15" triple groove vee pulley (made by Maska, Canada), a smaller triple groove vee pulley, taper lock bushings, two 1 9/16" pillow block bearings, a new steel pan or bowl for a wheelbarrow, a thread restoring tool (kind of like a small pipe cutter with various chasers,made in Binghamton, NY), some small round hard Arkansas oil stones (1/4" diameter), a pair of made-in-USA brass cased gauges for my oxygen regulator, some 110" vee belts, a 96" bimetallic bandsaw blade, and some other odds and ends. We also got some hickory handles for 'cant hooks' and railroad tie tongs (two men carry a tie tongs using a hardwood handle). We asked Judy if 100 bucks would be a fair offer. She said we were 'too kind'. We had loaded a shopping cart with a lot of the stuff, and I walked out wearing the wheelbarrow bowl like a turtle shell.

A lot of the hand tools wound up at P & T Surplus, down in the Rondout district in Kingston. He got the remaining files, some NOS Stanley US made ball pein hammers, and some ancient HSS hand hacksaw blades made by Clemson Brothers in Middletown, NY. I got some files (Nicholson, Keller, and similar old US brands), hammers, and a load of the HSS hand hacksaw blades from P & T when I was in there with my wife to get some clear acrylic plastic (aka 'Plexiglass') for a home project. I paid about 6 bucks for small ball pein hammers, 8 for 24 ounce ones, for my nephews' toolboxes.

By way of how crazy things have gotten: a few months back, my wife and I were at an estate sale. I found an antique 'shingler's hatchet', and gave 5 bucks for it. At that same sale, I got an un-used 50 foot 4 conductor 10 gauge lead cord with twist lock plugs for 5 bucks, and an un-used 50 foot air hose with an air chuck on one end, and a truck's glad hand connector on the other, also 5 bucks, still in the ties and labelling, never un rolled. A friend who does a lot of specialty roofing (slates, copper work and cedar shake roofs) was putting standing seam metal roofing on our garage and my blacksmith shed. I showed him the shingler's hatchet and he went wild, saying he had a big cedar shake job coming up. I told him I'd put a new handle in the shingler's hatchet and sharpen it up and give it to him as a present. At the hardware store in Woodstock, NY, I found a hickory hatchet handle. I took it up to the checkout and got a shock. $17.50 for a hatchet handle ! I remarked that this was a ridiculously high price to the clerk, who was a young lady. She had no idea of anything, and I remarked that I'd never paid 17.50 even for a sledge hammer or pickhandle, and asked her to check the price. She confirmed it was 17.50 for that hatchet handle. I bought it as I did not want to hunt up a cutoff sledge handle and start making a hatchet handle. The roofer was more than happy with his shingler's hatchet, so it was money well spent on that handle. However, prices like that make a case for finding old time hardware stores where they might sell new-old-stock items at reasonable pricing.

Anyone getting into Kingston, NY on weekdays can try their luck at what is left of Fowler and Keith. They are opposite the main post office. If the loading dock roll-up door is open a foot or two, Judy is in the store and up for selling whatever you care to buy from the old inventory. You open the roll-up door, walk to your right and come to a door made of plywood to get into the old store. I cannot vouch for what's left, as this liquidation has been going on for some time.

P & T Surplus, on Abeel Street in Kingston is also worth a visit.

We went to Fowler and Keith to get parts for my bro's buzz saw. He needs a jackshaft built to run the buzz saw off his tractor's PTO. 30" buzz saw blade, so the PTO speed has to be increased to get 10,000 surface feet per minute on the sawblade. The 15" diameter triple groove vee belt sheave is worth the 100 bucks we gave Judy, all by itself, so we got a smoking hot deal.

Back in the day when the father of Fowler & Keith's last owner had the business, it was a well-stocked and busy supply. My bro had been dealing with Fowler & Keith for about 50 years or more. He told me that when he was a young fellow, he was building a house for a customer in a remote spot. He had a shanty on site and had all his tools locked in the shanty over a weekend. Thieves broke in and cleaned out the tools and equipment, leaving my bro in a bad way. He said he went to Fowler and Keith and told the 'old man' what had happened, asking if he could get some new tools and equipment and he'd pay back as money came in. The 'old man' knew my bro had done a good bit of business with FOwler and Keith and simply told my bro: 'take what you need from the store... we are in the midst of inventory and paperwork is a mess, and you need to get on your feet again." Unfortunately, the old man's son was not cut from the same cloth as his father, and the result was he ran Fowler and Keith into the ground, wound up with a divorce, and people are picking over what's left of the inventory. They sold cutting tools, Starrett tools, Norton abrasives, Williams wrenches and shop tools, Crosby rigging hardware (shackles, hooks, etc), chain falls, come alongs, Milwaukee power tools including mag based drills, along with welding supplies and plumbing supplies, heavy builder's hardware, electrical supplies, and so much else. There is no comparing a store like what Fowler and Keith was to the likes of today's 'big box stores'. They were a real 'mill supply' or 'industrial supply'. The other reason for the demise of Fowler and Keith was the loss of the heavier industries in the Hudson Valley who relied on Fowler and Keith. There were numerous cement mills just a little north of Kingston, brickyards, and other factories. There were steam tugs (and later diesel tugs) that were home ported and maintained on the Rondout in Kingston, and their fleet operations would likely have relied on Fowler and Keith. With the demise of all of that industry, the customer base dwindled. Add an heir who did not handle things too well, and that was the end of a fine old industrial supply which had been there over 100 years.
 

Toolmaker51

Cast Iron
Joined
Jan 13, 2009
Location
West MO
Old school huh? ....... I recall Ducommun Industrial Hardware, they've realigned but originally supplied working gear to pioneers and Gold Rush miners. I believe they were finally based in Southern California.

American Wholesale Hardware, may have been slightly newer but just as Ducommum did, ran a very complete line typified by the immense print catalogs three or four times the size of Sears-Roebuck version. I believe they were nation-wide within industrialized regions.

Carman Tool & Abrasives, Paramount, CA. They retired and became "Phase II", operating more or less like ENCO.

Come to think of it, the original ENCO turns out not so bad, against current imports. ENCO didn't rely on Asian product when they started, a great deal they brought in was Mid-European. Just try to recall one place you've worked that didn't have at least one of those stout H-V 14" (?) rotary tables with indexing shot pin, or Dickson-type QCTP's, or surprisingly capable lathes.
--------------------------------

In school though, here are my go-to's........ and I don't live in SoCal any more.
Harry J. Epstein 301 W 8th St, Kansas City, MO 64105 https://www.harryepstein.com/

Jamieson Machine & Industrial Supply St Joseph, Missouri Address: 215 N 2nd St, St Joseph, MO 64501

McFadden-Dale Hardware https://www.mcfaddendalehardware.com/ they have 5 or 6 physical locations across the west, in Orange County, CA and Las Vegas, NV. Terrific range of tools/ hardware, literally astounding selection of threaded fasteners.

Cal Aero Supply 13840 Paramount Blvd, Paramount, CA 90723 Also very good on fasteners, not quite the range of McFadden-Dale but when you need a bucket of Gr 5 for a project, it's worthwhile; sold by the pound! Lag screws, sheet metal screws, surplus HSS cutters, abrasives, Morse Taper/ S&D drills, inserts, taps, dies, Gr 8 too! And that's just walk in over-the-counter!

When it comes to combined catalog/ online type sellers there is only one; McMaster-Carr. Simple test. Pick some item to look for online, try all the others first. Note they 'interpret' your search input and return a zillion unrelated BS first, especially Amazo, Grunger, Frustanal, and MScan't see. McMaster drills directly to THE page listing THE specific item and THEN offers selection available. And another judgement, regarding print catalogs; which do you see in the trash, which are continually re-sold or gifted?
 

1yesca

Stainless
Joined
Jun 1, 2004
Is San Diego Hardware still there? What a place. Easy to get lost by cascading distractions. All kinds of stainless stuff for rigging boats. Seven Corners Hardware is thriving in St Paul MN. Stuff stacked all the way to the ceiling. Aisles about two feet wide. WWQ
long gone from down town ! they move up by the north . clairrmount and 163 east side down the road north from the dennys but went all artsy fartsy real hardware long gone don't even know if there still there as i have no need for a designer trash can oh wast receptacle or is it basket
 
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1yesca

Stainless
Joined
Jun 1, 2004
I fondly remember Tindal's and Cosner's hardware stores in Bedford, In. Recall going in 20 years ago to get impregnated jute, mica (locally, and erroneously, called Isinglas), and fish paper.

Pump jacks? Had them. Leathers too.

Mention any of those things to a hardware store employee now, and your next stop will be the rubber room.

J.D.
cosner that was my moms name she was from shelton ne.
 
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JoeE.

Titanium
Joined
Aug 31, 2006
Location
Kansas
I can't recall where I got this hardbound book. The pages are lined like tablet paper. But, in the back there are a few tables about pipe fittings, stove bolts and etc....
The only time I've ever seen the name "Belknap" used is as a brand carried by our local NAPA auto parts store.
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vpitool

Plastic
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
Location
Northern California
I lived in Hagerstown Maryland in the early 80's and Foltz Mfg. and Supply was amazing. The machine shop behind the store front still had machines running on leather belts from an electric motor in the corner of the shop. Their newest machine seemed to be a round arm Bridgeport. Your order was placed at at counter with stools, but you were usually welcome to look around for things you couldn't live without. I needed some dam babbitt and it was supplied from a wooden barrel on the 3rd floor accessed by a creaky elevator, sold by the pound and supplied in a brown paper bag.
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