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September 17, 2010 / mish

our tools built America

My Grandfather Jeff has had an extensive sword collection for as long as I can remember. There are binders upon binders on his bookshelves with carefully researched information about each piece.

The collection has grown over the years, and hangs in their hallway on a large oriental rug.

When M and I got married, he seemed to express interest in the collection. And so now, for holidays, birthdays, and just to put a smile on his face, M sometimes gets gifted one of the pieces from the now family heirloom collection.

We have found a wall in our home for our own growing collection, and perhaps not on an oriental rug like Jeff would want, but nonetheless I love how it reminds me of him each time I walk through that hall.

During our skim coating project in the rumpus room, we bought a shovel by a brand called AMES. We had seen that before, an inscription on one of the swords we had been gifted.

Fittingly, the label on the shovel read “Our Tools Built America”. And so they did. Grandpa Jeff had mentioned that Ames still existed…

Our particular sword is from 1832, the imprint N.P. Ames stands for Nathan Peabody Ames. The first swords (like ours) were marked with “Springfield”, as in Massachusetts, where Ames Manufacturing Company had been established. And had been used during the Mexican-American War.

Here is a very good article describing our particular piece:

It seems that through many years, mergers and acquisitions, Ames Manufacturing Co. eventually became Ames True Temper. The Ames family were responsible for cannons, shovels, plows, machines, and more swords than any other American manufacturer at the time.

I though it was pretty neat, so here is me sharing.

And here is me with Grandpa Jeff and Grandma Nelly in about 1983. Much of our house renovations are due to the fact that we inherited loads upon loads of tools from ex-construction company owner Jeff, of Jeff Construction. As a kid, Grandpa Jeff was President of the whole world. In reality, he was President of the Company. I didn’t really know the difference, and I still like to think of him that way.



Leave a Comment
  1. Eric @ flavorspaces / Sep 17 2010 6:23 am

    It’s pretty cool that you own a piece of history. The story behind the sword and the family/ company who helped build America is very intriguing. It’s pretty neat that a company lasted so long. Thanks for sharing your story :).

  2. Lauren / Sep 17 2010 8:20 am

    What a great quirk of history!

  3. Nelly / Sep 17 2010 10:35 am

    Our Dearest Michelle,
    You are bringing and adding a lot of happiness by keeping us posted what is going on in your life which gives us a lot of spirit knowing that you are happy and also your ability to value our family
    inheritance and ties.
    N & D.

    • mish / Sep 17 2010 1:08 pm

      Love you guys more.

  4. Phil / Sep 17 2010 1:16 pm

    Great piece of investigative journalism – from Swords to Plowshares (shovels, in your case)!

    Well done, Chuchela,


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