Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 1, Issue 2
January 2007
 
From the Collection
 

Walters Axe Company
Lee Valley collection

Selection of Walters Axe Co. axeheads

The two axes shown here are examples of what was referred to as the “Canadian Wedge “ by the Sheffield toolmakers. They represent two different eras of manufacture by the Walters Axe Co. These axeheads are from the permanent Lee Valley collection of woodworking tools.

By 1864, Henry T. Walters was working as foreman for Samuel Tongue Edge Tool Works in Ottawa. He had moved over to Sexton Washburn’s axe manufactory by 1869. Both companies produced large numbers of broad axes used in the Ottawa Valley’s flourishing timber trade. In 1885, Walters bought the Washburn operation, which was by then located in Brewery Creek, Hull, Québec. Walters changed the name from H. Walters to Walters and Son in 1888. The following year we find it listed as (H) Walters and Sons. In 1899, Harry and Morley P. Walters joined their brothers, David and James, to work with their father, Henry, in the factory. Henry died in 1901 and the name of the company was changed to Walters and Sons.

By 1909, the company had established two branch outlets, one in Winnipeg, and the other in Vancouver. Morley P. Walters became president of Walters Axe Company in 1912. To gain access to the growing American market, the company operated a warehouse / shipping outlet in Ogdensburg, New York, from about 1945 to 1960.

Morley P. Walters was an avid outdoorsman with strong opinions. Under his leadership of over 60 years, the company produced quality axes for reasonable prices. Never one to shy away from competition, Walters always claimed his axes were the best on the market and never hesitated to extol their virtues. After his death in 1969, the company continued to exist until 1973, when its shareholders decided to shut down operations.

Walters’ axes were produced with marks and labels such as “Boss of the Woods”, “Charcoal Temper”, “Ottawa Chief” and “never too soft and free from flaws.” Walters Axe Co. also produced some axes for Hartwell Brothers Limited of Walkerville, Ontario. Regrettably, by the company’s final days, some axes were made by Hults Bruk of Sweden and marketed under the Walters name, ending over 150 years of continuous axe production in the Ottawa Valley.

  
  
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