Deliberate Agrarian
Snippet #34

Barker, Rose & Kimball

Dateline: 24 May 2014

My son Robert was helping to clean out a barn. There was a rusty, pitted old axe head that was being thrown out. He brought it home and told me he was going to grind off the rust. I wish I had thought to take a picture of the axe head as he found it. The thing looked pretty hopeless.

After an hour or so of grinding, he brought the axe head to me and said, "Hey dad, it says Kimball on it."

(click picture to see an enlarged view)

A little web searching turned up a Barker, Rose & Kimball double-bit axe with a handle selling for $250 on Ebay. Then I found the Barker, Rose Kimball Collection at the Chemung, NY historical society.

The company was started as Ayrault & Rose in 1864. The name changed over the years as different partners came into the business. Howard Kimball came into the company in 1928 and was there until 1952. I can find no other information about Barker, Rose & Kimball, or the Cayuga Axe Company.

I am, of course, wondering if Howard Kimball might have been a relation to me. I'm going to assume he was a cousin of some sort. Most of us Kimballs are related, with our common ancestor being Richard Kimball, going back to 1864.

Robert plans to put a hickory handle on the axe and keep it for the rest of his life. I like that.

So, if you see an old, rusty, pitted axe somewhere, I suggest that you grind the rust off. Who knows, you might find your name on it.


SharonR said...

Of course he's related to you. Aren't all the old Kimballs that were hard workers and produced great things in their lives related to you? :-) I enjoy reading about things you are finding out about your ancestry. Of course, anyone can BEGIN their good line of ancestry right now if they are not proud of their family's history. I'll have to say that my Granddad was one of those, and I'm so proud to call him mine.

SharonR said...

O, and I meant to say, I'm very impressed with your descendent in his diligence to uncover this treasure. The find of his family name was a great reward.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I use a double bit but not as old and nice as your find. One blogger recently told me that they would sharpen one side real sharp for limbing and the other less finely sharpened for rough work near the ground. I use mine to trim up trees before sawing into firewood length as it saves fuel and saw blade and is just a quick way to cut the limbs off of a down tree. That old one will probably really ring when it takes a limb off!

Tacketts Mill Farm said...

I am a huge fan of old axes. Finding one with your family name is just too cool! I like them just like your son found, old and crusty from someone barn. You know that old tool saw years of hard work and can now be restored and re-loved as a faithful tool. I have no doubt that axe will be special to your son and may get passed down in your family as a prized possession.

Anonymous said...

Don't grind old steel, use reverse electrolysis to blow the rust off.

Harold Ellis said...

If your son is really interested in axes and other hand tools he should check out Wranglerstar on youtube.
He has lots of videos about restoring old tools and proper handles and such.