Alloy Artifacts  

Braunsdorf-Mueller Company


Table of Contents

Introduction

The Braunsdorf-Mueller Company was a maker of tools and hardware operating in Elizabeth, New Jersey during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


Company History

The Braunsdorf-Mueller Company (BMCo) was founded in Elizabeth, New Jersey by Henry R. Braunsdorf and Charles F. Mueller, and operated as a maker of tools and hardware. Braunsdorf had previously been associated with Hammacher, Schlemmer & Company, a well-known tool maker and importer based in New York City.

[January, 1899 Ad for Braunsdorf-Mueller]
Fig. 1A. January, 1899 Advertisement for Braunsdorf-Mueller. [External Link]

Although we haven't yet found a formal announcement of the company's founding, the company was in operation by the late 1890s, as public references to Braunsdorf-Mueller start to appear in 1899.

Fig. 1A shows an ad for Braunsdorf-Mueller tap wrenches and knurls, as published on page 31 of the January, 1899 issue of Hardware Dealers' Magazine.

[1899 Ad for Braunsdorf-Mueller Chisels]
Fig. 1B. 1899 Advertisement for Braunsdorf-Mueller Chisels. [External Link]

Fig. 1B shows an ad for Braunsdorf-Mueller chisels, as published on page 35 of the April 10, 1899 issue of Hardware.

[1899 Notice for Braunsdorf-Mueller Tap Wrench]
Fig. 2. 1899 Advertisement for Braunsdorf-Mueller Tap Wrench. [External Link]

Fig. 2 shows a notice for a Braunsdorf-Mueller adjustable tap wrench, as published on page 130 of the April 10, 1899 issue of Hardware.

The text notes that Braunsdorf had been previously associated with tool makers Hammacher, Schlemmer & Company.

By 1900 the company was producing an impressive range of products, enough to warrant publication of a catalog.

[1900 Notice for Braunsdorf-Mueller Catalog]
Fig. 3. 1900 Advertisement for Braunsdorf-Mueller Catalog. [External Link]

Fig. 3 shows a notice for a Braunsdorf-Mueller catalog, as published on page 41 of the September 6, 1900 issue of The Iron Age.


The company was incorporated in 1901 with capital of $100,000, with their products noted just as "hardware specialties".

[1901 Notice of Incorporation for Braunsdorf-Mueller]
Fig. 4. 1901 Notice of Incorporation for Braunsdorf-Mueller. [External Link]

Fig. 4 shows a notice of incorporation for Braunsdorf-Mueller, as published on page 83 of the June 6, 1901 issue of American Machinist.

A publication of the State of New Jersey lists the date of incorporation as April 30, 1901.


The "BMCo" Logo

Items made by Braunsdorf-Mueller were frequently marked with the company's "BMCo" logo, consisting of the letters "BMCo" enclosed in an oval. An example of the "BMCo" logo can be seen in the left part of the ad in the figure below.

[1908 Ad for Braunsdorf-Mueller Chisels]
Fig. 5. 1908 Advertisement for Braunsdorf-Mueller Chisels. [External Link]

Fig. 5 shows an ad for a Braunsdorf-Mueller wood-working chisel, as published at the front of the December, 1908 edition of Woodworkers Review.

[1911 Ad for Braunsdorf-Mueller]
Fig. 6A. 1911 Advertisement for Braunsdorf-Mueller Tubular Socket Wrenches. [External Link]

The "BMCo" logo was first used in 1907 and was registered as a trademark in 1911. Braunsdorf-Mueller tools in distributor catalogs were often identified only by the "BMCo" logo in the illustrations.

Fig. 6A shows an advertisement for the company's tubular socket wrenches, as published on page 583 of the October, 1911 edition of the Automobile Trade Directory.


Later Operations

By 1927 the tool operations of Braunsdorf-Mueller had been acquired by the American Swiss File & Tool Company, also in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

[1927 Notice for American Swiss File Company]
Fig. 6B. 1927 Notice for American Swiss File Company. [External Link]

Fig. 6B shows a notice for the American Swiss File & Tool Company, as published on page 250 of the April 11, 1927 issue of American Machinist.

The text notes that American Swiss was now manufacturing the line of tools formerly made by Braunsdorf-Mueller.

Although it's not completely clear from this notice, the wording "took over" suggests that American Swiss had acquired Braunsdorf-Mueller, or at least its tool operations.

There are very few public references to Braunsdorf-Mueller after this point, providing some confirmation that Braunsdorf-Mueller had been absorbed into American Swiss.


Patents

Braunsdorf-Mueller: Issued Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
828,895 Mueller & Braunsdorf 10/12/1904 08/21/1906 Screwdriver Construction

Trademarks

Braunsdorf-Mueller frequently marked its tools with "BMCo" in an oval logo, and this logo was registered as a trademark in 1911. The first use date was declared as "since about the beginning of 1907".

Braunsdorf-Mueller: Registered Trademarks
Text Mark or Logo Reg. No. First Use Date Filed Date Issued Notes
BMCo 81,499 01/01/1907 12/23/1909 04/18/1911 Used for hand tools.
"BMCo" in an oval logo.
Serial 46,696. Published 02/14/1911.

References and Resources

Photographs and observations of particular tools are based on items in the Alloy Artifacts collection.


Catalog Resources

Currently we don't have any catalogs for Braunsdorf-Mueller.

Industrial Distributors

Braunsdorf-Mueller tools were widely available through industrial distributors, but the catalog listings for their products may be difficult to identify. The company's full name was rarely spelled out, but instead abbreviated to "B-M Co." or something similar, or omitted entirely with just a "BMCo" logo in the illustration.


Selected Tools

Braunsdorf-Mueller produced a wide variety of tools, but unfortunately our collected examples are rather limited and aren't fully representative of the company's output.

We'll add some scanned catalog listings as placeholders.

Revolving Punches

[1918 Catalog Listing of BMCo Revolving Punches]
Fig. 7A. 1918 Catalog Listing of BMCo Revolving Punches.

Fig. 7A shows a catalog listing for BMCo revolving punches, as published on page 208 of the 1918 Harron, Rickard, & McCone catalog No. 2.

Although the company's name is not mentioned, the familiar "BMCo" logo is visible in the illustrations.


Chisel and Punch Set

[1918 Catalog Listing of BMCo Chisel and Punch Set]
Fig. 7B. 1918 Catalog Listing of BMCo Chisel and Punch Set.

Fig. 7B shows a catalog listing for a BMCo chisel and punch set, as published on page 210 of the 1918 Harron, Rickard, & McCone catalog No. 2.

The "BMCo" logo is visible on the tool roll at the left of illustration.


BMCo No. 7 1/2 Bent Tubular Socket Wrench

[BMCo No. 7 1/2 Bent Tubular Socket Wrench]
Fig. 8A. BMCo No. 7 1/2 Bent Tubular Socket Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1910-1920.

Fig. 8A shows a BMCo No. 7 1/2 bent tubular socket wrench, stamped with the BMCo logo and model number.

The overall length is 6.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The actual measured size of this wrench was about 1/32 over the nominal 1/2 inch, probably an allowance for the manufacturing tolerance. The wrench is constructed of seamless steel tubing and the manufacturing process was probably similar to that used for pressed-steel sockets, which also used a 1/32 oversize allowance.

Socket wrenches in this bent tubular style were popular tools for servicing early automobiles. Other makers included Vlchek Tool, and an example can be seen as the Vlchek No. 51 Bent Socket Wrench.


BMCo No. 9 5/8 Bent Tubular Socket Wrench

[BMCo No. 9 5/8 Bent Tubular Socket Wrench]
Fig. 8B. BMCo No. 9 5/8 Bent Tubular Socket Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1910-1920.

Fig. 8B shows a BMCo No. 9 5/8 bent tubular socket wrench, stamped with the BMCo logo and "USA" on the body.

The overall length is 7.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

Socket wrenches in this bent tubular style were popular tools for servicing early automobiles. Other makers included Vlchek Tool, and an example can be seen as the Vlchek No. 51 Bent Socket Wrench.


BMCo 19/32 Bit Brace Socket

[BMCo 19/32 Bit Brace Socket]
Fig. 9. BMCo 19/32 Bit Brace Socket, with Insets for End View and Marking Detail, ca. 1907 to 1920s.

Fig. 9 shows a BMCo 19/32 hex socket for use in a bit brace, stamped with "5/16" on the drive tang, with the BMCo logo on the reverse (see right inset).

The overall length is 3.6 inches, and the finish is black paint.

The "5/16" marking is a reference to the older U.S.S. Size Convention corresponding to the 19/32 measured opening.


BMCo 3/8 Bearing Scraper

[BMCo 3/8 Bearing Scraper]
Fig. 10. BMCo 3/8 Bearing Scraper, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1907 to 1920s.

Fig. 10 shows a BMCo 3/8 bearing scraper, stamped with the "BMCo" logo and "Eliz. N.J." on the shank.

The overall length is 12.1 inches, and the width of the blade is 3/8. The finish is plain steel.


BMCo 3/4 Arch Hole Punch

[BMCo 3/4 Arch Hole Punch]
Fig. 11. BMCo 3/4 Arch Hole Punch, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1900-1906.

Fig. 11 shows a BMCo 3/4 arch hole punch, stamped with "B-M. Co." and "Eliz. N.J." on the shank.

The overall length is 5.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

This style of arch-shaped hole punch was widely used for punching holes in leather, paper, or other soft materials.

The use of a stamped "B-M.Co." marking without the familiar logo form suggests production prior to 1907.


Braunsdorf-Mueller [No. 40] 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Braunsdorf-Mueller 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 12. Braunsdorf-Mueller 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Late 1910s to 1920s.

Fig. 12 shows a Braunsdorf-Mueller [No. 40] 8 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "Braunsdorf Mueller Co." forged into the shank, with "Elizabeth, N.J." forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.0 inches. The head thickness was measured at 0.55 inches.

The finish is plain steel.

Currently our only catalog reference for this BMCo Crescent-style wrench is the 1920 Pittsburgh Auto catalog, where it is listed as the No. 40 wrench. The wrenches were probably available from the late 1910s onward.


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