Alloy Artifacts  

William Schollhorn Company

Table of Contents


The William Schollhorn Company of New Haven, Connecticut was a well-known maker of parallel-jaw pliers and other tools in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The company was incorporated in 1891 and remained active through the first part of the 20th century, and was eventually acquired by the Sargent Company in 1948.

Company History

The William Schollhorn Company began operations around 1870 as the Schollhorn & Tiesing Manufacturing Company, a partnership with Frank W. Tiesing. The company's main products at this time were scissors and shears.

After the death of Frank Tiesing some years later, Schollhorn was joined by Julius Berbecker and the firm became William Schollhorn & Company. Berbecker was a noted sales agent based in New York City.

[1890 Notice for William Schollhorn]
Fig. 1. 1890 Notice for William Schollhorn. [External Link]

Fig. 1 shows a notice of the death of William Schollhorn on June 2 of 1890, as published on page 1015 of the June 12, 1890 issue of The Iron Age.

The text provides biographical information on Schollhorn and background information on his various business ventures. (The article continues beyond the excerpt in our clip.)

Shortly after the death of Schollhorn, the company was incorporated as the William Schollhorn Company on September 8, 1891.

Bernard Patent Pliers

[1893 Notice for Schollhorn Lineman's Pliers]
Fig. 2. 1893 Notice for Schollhorn Lineman's Pliers. [External Link]

The Schollhorn company is probably best known for its distinctive parallel-jaw pliers, produced under the numerous patents issued to William A. Bernard. These pliers featured precisely-formed sheet metal handles with embossed designs, a type of construction that offered lighter weight and lower cost than comparable forged handles.

Fig. 2 shows a notice for Schollhorn lineman's pliers in a Bernard design, as published on page 1192 of the December 28, 1893 issue of The Iron Age.

The illustration cites patent dates of May 6, 1890 and July 19, 1892, references to patents 427,220 and 479,113 respectively.

Later Operations

In 1948 the company was acquired by the Sargent Company.

The Sargent Company now operates as Elm City Tools, and further information on the company's history can be found on the About [External Link] page of their website.


Schollhorn had a long association with William A. Bernard, a prolific inventor who provided the company with dozens of key patents.

William Schollhorn Company: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
427,220 W.A. Bernard 05/13/188905/06/1890 Pliers
Assigned to Bernard, Walker & Rice.
437,250 A.L. Schollhorn 06/12/189009/30/1890 Pencil holder for calipers
479,113 W.A. Bernard 12/09/189107/19/1892 Combined Pliers and Cutters
526,479 W.A. Bernard03/19/189409/25/1894 Pliers
635,417 W.A. Bernard 08/04/189910/24/1899 Nippers
649,039 W.A. Bernard08/04/189905/08/1900 Pliers
665,052 W.A. Bernard12/11/189701/01/1901 Hand Punch
678,637 W.A. Bernard12/26/190007/16/1901 Nippers or Pliers
734,157 W.A. Bernard10/06/190207/21/1903 Punch
788,575 W.A. Bernard12/01/190405/02/1905 Nippers or Pliers
Schollhorn "Ideal" Lineman's Pliers
848,877 W.A. Bernard05/03/190504/02/1907 Pliers or Punch
Schollhorn "Ideal" Lineman's Pliers
851,794 W.A. Bernard02/10/190604/30/1907 Punch
945,012 W.A. Bernard04/13/190801/04/1910 Pliers
999,738 W.A. Bernard05/22/190908/08/1911 Pliers
999,739 W.A. Bernard05/22/190908/08/1911 Pliers
1,057,113 W.A. Bernard05/15/191203/25/1913 Pliers or Nippers
1,064,956 W.A. Bernard03/20/190708/17/1913 Process for Forming Handles
Schollhorn Pliers with Cutters
1,077,789 W.A. Bernard11/20/191211/04/1913 Wire-cutting Pliers
RE13,657 W.A. Bernard11/11/191312/16/1913 Cutting Pliers
1,102,384 W.A. Bernard03/20/191307/07/1914 Pliers


Schollhorn used a number of brand names in its advertisements and catalog listings, including "Bernard", "Paragon", "Elm City", "Lodi", "Vulcan", and "Excelsior".

William Schollhorn Company: Registered Trademarks
Text Mark or Logo Reg. No. First Use Date Filed Date Issued Notes
BERNARD 127,553 11/01/1890 11/01/1918 11/11/1919 Pliers, nippers, wire-cutters, etc.
Serial 114,013. Published 07/15/1919.
Renewed 11/11/1939.
ESKIMO 211,141 02/01/1925 09/28/1925 04/06/1926 Ice picks, ice shavers.
Serial 220,880. Published 01/12/1926.

References and Resources

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

Catalog Resources

Product information can be found in William Schollhorn catalogs, as summarized in the table below. Currently the earliest known catalog dates back to 1902.

William Schollhorn Company: Catalog Resources
Publication Year Format Notes
      Catalog and Price List (1902, Half):
N/A 1902 Half No copyright, dated January, 1902. 46 Pages.
Available for Download [External Link] from ITCL.
Lists a wide variety of Bernard pliers.
      No. 29 Bernard Tools (1919+, Full):
No. 29 1919+ Full No copyright, undated. 60 Pages.
Mentions "BERNARD" trademark, issued in 1919.
Available for Download [External Link] from ITCL.

Industrial Distributors

William Schollhorn pliers were widely available from industrial distributors.

Selected Tools

We have a number of examples of Bernard pliers from the William Schollhorn Company and are preparing them for display.

Early Schollhorn "Bernard" Pliers

[1895 Catalog Listing for Schollhorn Bernard Pliers]
Fig. 3. 1895 Catalog Listing for Schollhorn Bernard Pliers.

The scan in Fig. 3 shows several early models of Bernard pliers from Schollhorn, as published on page 57 of the Chas. A. Strelinger & Company catalog of 1895.

The models illustrated are the No. 215 flat nose pliers, No. 216 Round nose pliers, No. 217 cutting plier, and No. 218 jewelers' flat nose pliers.

Schollhorn "Bernard" 4.5 Inch Parallel-Jaw Pliers with Cutters

[Schollhorn Bernard 4.5 Inch Parallel-Jaw Cutting Pliers]
Fig. 4. Schollhorn Bernard 4.5 Inch Parallel-Jaw Cutting Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Construction Detail.

Fig. 4 shows a pair of Schollhorn "Bernard" 4 inch parallel-jaw pliers with cutting blades on the side.

The pliers are stamped "W. Schollhorn Co." and "New Haven, Conn." around the pivot, with "Made in U.S.A." above and "Pat. 6-17-1913" below. (The Schollhorn name is partially obscured by rust.)

The handles are also stamped "Bernard" in a center panel, a reference to the inventor of these and many other similar models.

The overall length is 4.5 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The patent date refers to patent 1,064,956, filed by W.A. Bernard in 1907 but not issued until 1913. The patent describes a method of forming sheet-metal handles for pliers.

Schollhorn "Ideal" Lineman's Pliers

[Schollhorn Ideal Lineman's Pliers]
Fig. 5. Schollhorn "Ideal" Lineman's Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 5 shows a pair of Schollhorn "Ideal" lineman's pliers, stamped "W. Schollhorn Co." and "New Haven, Conn." around the pivot. The handle has a patent notice "Pat. May 2, 1905 Apr. 2, 1907" stamped on the side, and the other handle is stamped "Ideal".

The overall length is 7.5 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The first patent date refers to patent 788,575, filed by W.A. Bernard in 1904 and issued in 1905.

The second date corresponds to patent 848,877, filed by W.A. Bernard in 1905 and issued in 1907.

Alloy Artifacts Home Text and Photographs Copyright © 2005-2023 Alloy Artifacts Site Index