Alloy Artifacts  

Buffum Tool Company

Table of Contents


The Buffum Tool Company operated in Louisiana, Missouri during the early years of the 20th century. Their products included printing presses, adjustable wrenches, alligator wrenches, chisels, punches, bearing scrapers, and other forged tools.

Company History

The Buffum Tool Company was founded by Frank Washburn Buffum in Louisiana, Missouri around 1906. The company's first product was a printing press, but they soon expanded into making tools as well.

The exact founding date for the company is not yet known, but the earliest published reference to Buffum Tool is a 1908 advertisement for their printing press.

Their early interest in printing presses can be seen in patent 910,557, issued to Miles H. Mann on January 26, 1909, with assignment to Frank W. Buffum.

[1909 Advertisement for Buffum Tool Company]
Fig. 1. 1909 Advertisement for Buffum Tool Company. [External Link]

Fig. 1 shows an early ad for Buffum carbon scrapers and an automobile tool roll, as published on page 396 of the December, 1909 issue of Automobile Dealer and Repairer.

The text notes their products as chisels, punches, screwdrivers, bearing scrapers, and related tools for automotive service.

The Swastika Trademark

Buffum tools were generally marked with the company name and notably with a swastika logo, the design that later became infamous as the symbol of Nazi Germany. (Buffum's use of the swastika design predated the Nazi party by some decades.)

[1910 Advertisement for Buffum Tool Company]
Fig. 2. 1910 Advertisement for Buffum Tool Company. [External Link]

Fig. 2 shows an ad for Buffum chisels, as published on page 1222 of the June 1910 issue of the Hardware Dealers' Magazine.

Note that the advertisement claims the swastika logo as a trademark registered with the U.S. Patent Office.

An advertisement for the Buffum Tool Company [External Link] on page 821 of the June 1, 1918 issue of Aviation shows a selection of the company's tools at that time. The illustration includes a set of chisels, a hammer, bearing scrapers, pliers, and other tools.

Later Operations

In later years Buffum Tool appears to have been succeeded by the Frank G. Buffum Manufacturing Company.


Buffum Tool Company: Issued Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples


In 1908 Buffum Tool filed a trademark application for its "Swastika" logo. The application was filed on November 5, 1908 with serial 38,495, and was published on June 29, 1909. The company received trademark #75,037 on August 31, 1909.

[1909 Trademark Filing for Swastika Logo]
Fig. 3. 1909 Trademark Filing for Swastika Logo.

The scan in Fig. 3 shows the trademark filing, as published on page 1333 of the June 29, 1909 Official Gazette.

The "description of goods" in the text provides an extensive list of the company's products at that time.

Trademark #75,037 was renewed on August 31, 1929 by the Frank G. Buffum Manufacturing Company, the successor to Buffum Tool.

Buffum Tool Company: Registered Trademarks
Text Mark or Logo Reg. No. First Use Date Filed Date Issued Notes
Swastika [logo] 75,037  11/05/190808/31/1909 Swastika logo.
For chisels, punches, scrapers, etc.
Serial 38,495. Published 06/29/1909.

Tool Identification

Swastika Logo

[Buffum Swastika Logo]
Fig. 3B. Swastika Logo from Trademark #75,037.

The scan in Fig. 3B shows the Buffum Swastika logo as presented for Trademark #75,037.

This logo was frequently stamped on or forged into Buffum tools.

References and Resources

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

Currently we do not have any catalogs for Buffum Tool.

Industrial Distributors

Buffum tools were widely available from industrial distributors.

Selected Tools

Buffum 9 Inch Forged Steel Screwdriver

[Buffum 9 Inch Forged Steel Screwdriver]
Fig. 4. Buffum 9 Inch Forged Steel Screwdriver, with Inset for Back Side Detail.

Fig. 4 shows a Buffum forged steel screwdriver, marked with "Buffum Tool Co." and "Louisiana, MO." forged into the handle, and with the Swastika logo forged into the back side.

The overall length is 9.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

Buffum 12 Inch Bearing Scraper

[Buffum 12 Inch Bearing Scraper]
Fig. 5. Buffum 12 Inch Bearing Scraper, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 5 shows a Buffum bearing scraper with a wooden handle, stamped "Buffum Tool Co." and "Louisiana, MO." on the shank, with the Swastika logo forged into the back side.

The overall length is 11.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

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