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The drawback in the Hudson Bay pattern

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by Square_peg, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. Operator1975

    Operator1975 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 24, 2010
    Now were are cooking. Great find, obviously I couldnt do it. Interesting, Abercrombie and Fitch.....which fits into the camper/backpacker etc mold. 1912. Interesting indeed.

    Keep it coming!!
     
  2. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    A 1915 reference to Hudson Bay axes made by Collins and available at Abercrombie & Fitch.

    [​IMG]

    ...In the March issue, a Subscriber wishes to know where he can obtain a 24 inch Collins Hudson Bay Axe. These style axes come In 23 inch not 24 Inch handles and 27 lnch handles They may be purchased at Abercromble & Fitch Company 57 W 36th St New York City NY. The 23 inch costs 80 cents and the 27 inch 90 cents. These prices exclude of course the leather sheath which sells for $1.00. Also you must pay the postage. No better axe ever cut my trap stakes than the 23 inch and I have found no better one for cutting winter kindling than the 27 Inch.
    -- Skutch, the Lone Trapper, N.Y.


    Hunter-trader-trapper, Volume 30, F.J. and W.F. Heer, 1915, page 137
     
  3. Operator1975

    Operator1975 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 24, 2010
  4. Alnamvet68

    Alnamvet68

    Mar 26, 2013
    The Abercrombie HB axe was made for them by Snow & Nealley.
     
  5. Operator1975

    Operator1975 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 24, 2010
    How do we know this? I know Collins made them, but never heard or seen anything about Snow and Nealley. Is there any info out there?
     
  6. halfaxe

    halfaxe

    Nov 29, 2012
    Awesome find. Thanks Steve. Interesting that the axes are $.80 and $.90 and the sheath is $1.00.

    There is a reference out there that L.L. Bean and the head of Snow & Nealley made a deal to supply axes in the Bean catalog in the early 1920's.
    http://www.vintageveggies.com/catalog/snowandnealley/sn_history.html

    The young Nealley eventually bought out Snow, and the company prospered under William's guidance. The growing middle class that emerged after World War I created a demand for tools to use around the farm and at home. Snow & Nealley responded by introducing new axe models for home use. In 1920, William discussed the possibility of marketing Snow & Nealley's products through a catalog owned by a southern Mainer named Leon L. Bean. The collaboration between Snow & Nealley and L. L. Bean endured for decades.
     
  7. thunderstick

    thunderstick

    376
    Jan 15, 2007
    I tend to think with what was presented historically here that the initial HB design was intentionally focused on a specific usage and was not driven purely by economics. It was not developed here--it came from old world Biscayne Spain and was in use there for who knows how long. I think it became romanticized when the breed of men who used them were becoming a thing of the past. With the passing of the trapper/explorer there was less demand for the woodsmen belt axe or voyageur canoe axe. Bringing the HB back into production was an attempt to reach a market which wanted to keep old traditions alive.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015
  8. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    The modern revival form is significantly different from the originals except in profile, certainly. Part of the problem the modern type experiences with loosening is due to the fact that the originals had a slip-fit handle rather than a wedged one, and so it was impossible for the head to fly off in use. A shorter eye can be safely used with the slip fit method vs. wedged, and so when they tried to copy that profile in wedged modern American style it didn't wholly translate.
     
  9. thunderstick

    thunderstick

    376
    Jan 15, 2007
    IMO a HB axe needs to have the handle extend beyond the bit to develop a flair so the handle isn't likely to fly off ...
     
  10. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    It's also a matter of getting the fit and pressure just right. Get it done really well and you probably won't have an issue, even with the top brought flush.
     
  11. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    From a couple old auction listings shown at WorthPoint, with Hudson Bay axes that were stamped "Collins, Legitimus, No. 986" on one side, and "Abercrombie & Fitch, New York" on the other side of the head:

    The stamping is on the left side of the head for it's maker (Photo 5): "No. 986 (no room for the 6)/ Hammer & Crown logo/ Collins & Co. Cast Steel/ Hartford Warranted/ Legitimus." ---- And the right side for its retailer (Photo 4): "Abercrombie/ &/ Fitch/ New York." The sheath is marked: "Abercrombie & Fitch/ A&F/ New York" (Photo 6). And the piece-de-resistance is the "A&F Co" buttons (Photo7). Overall -- 27". Head -- 7" wide; 4" edge.
    http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/king-axes-collins-986-hudson-bay-axe-253011460

    [​IMG]

    This is an old Collins axe #986 in good condition. No major damage but the head is a little loose. The handle looks original and has old scratches and a slight bow to one side. The stamp on the axe head is: Abercrombie & Fitch NEW YORK on one side and Collins Legitimus "No. 986 with the crown and arm symbol. It is a total length of just under 24 inches, the head is 6 3/8 inches and the cutting edge is 3.25 inches.
    http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-collins-legitimus-abercrombie-fitch-axe

    Another example of a Hudson Bay axe from Collins, with Collins stamps shown along with the "No. 986" stamp:

    [​IMG]
    13. Collins No. 986 camp axe with leather sheath, VG.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2015
  12. BG_Farmer

    BG_Farmer

    556
    Mar 13, 2014
    Are there a lot of earlier sheaths available or is this one of the first? The $1 price indicates to me that it is not expected to be a high volume item or that it is fairly rare/special! The sheath does go along with the use of sportsmen and others who only use the axe occasionally.
     
  13. Operator1975

    Operator1975 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 24, 2010
    I saw this guy on worth point as well. Quite the specimen no doubt. The ones I found were all from Collins, but who knows, the world of vintage axes is always throwing me for a loop da loop. One of the reasons why I love it so. Damn axes!
     
  14. grafton

    grafton

    479
    Aug 28, 2010
    Please provide a source for this information as I have no evidence that this is the case. perhaps you are thinking of LL Bean, not A&F?
     
  15. joshiecole

    joshiecole

    511
    Apr 29, 2012
    Has anyone seen the 150th anniversary S&N Hudson bay axe? The way one retailer describes this axe leaves one with the impression that they have been making this pattern since 1864, but I suspect that this is slightly misleading.

    'The Snow and Nealley Hudson Bay Camping Axe was originally designed for trappers, hunters, and fishermen on expeditions along the Hudson Bay in 1864.'
     
  16. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    You are right not to trust that source. Marketing people are a special kind of pathological liar. They would have no qualms about selling the Brooklyn Bridge to their own mother.
     
  17. M3mphis

    M3mphis

    Jan 13, 2011
    ^^The modern S&N's may be a shite representation of the good oldies, but I'm not sure where that marketing line is untruthful. Am I wrong?


    EDIT: Yes, I am wrong. Apparently the terrible Chinese made ones I am familiar with have been replaced by something better.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  18. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    While the current S&N's aren't up to the same quality level as the good ol' vintage ones, I'd not call the new USA made ones "shite". The ones that used Chinese rough forgings as their base, on the other hand... :)
     
  19. Alnamvet68

    Alnamvet68

    Mar 26, 2013
    Dead wrong...if you owned both the current made in the USA HB, and a 1960's model as I do, you wouldn't come to that subjective conclusion. As far as I'm concerned, the new Snow & Nealley is a better made axe than ever before.
     
  20. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    Snow and Nealley was originally based in Bangor, Maine. According to the Bangor Daily News, "The company started in 1864 as a ship outfitter... The founder was Edward Bowdoin Nealley... In 1896, Charles Snow came on as a partner, and the company started manufacturing axes and other lumbering tools in 1919."

    ******
    If this newspaper article is correct, then the company "Snow & Nealley" technically won't be 150 years old until later this century, and the axes they made aren't even 100 years old.
    ******

    (Quotes are from Ax business booms at Snow & Nealley, by Dennis Mills, Bangor Daily News, October 19, 1977)


    A little fact checking:

    Charles Snow (who was president of Snow & Nealley) was born in 1855, so he would have been only 8 or 9 years old in 1864. He left school (at age 14 or 15) in 1870 and started working that year for Nealley & Co. in Bangor. He worked his way up to becoming a partner in the company in 1896 (at age 41), according to The Bangor Daily News.

    (Source: Obituary of Charles L. Snow, Paint, Oil and Drug Review, Volume 52, Van Ness Publishing Company., 1911, page 50)

    The earliest reference to the company "Snow & Nealley" that I've found is 1894.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015

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