As we are approaching President's Day here in 2023, it seems appropriate to focus on some "Presidential" axes.
One nickname given to our 16th President, Abe Lincoln, was "Old Railsplitter." He used this moniker during his 1860 Presidential campaign to highlight his rural upbringing and was often depicted using an axe around the farmstead.
Lincoln swinging an axe was put on campaign literature, posters, and even commemorative tokens.
Of course, it would be only natural that someone would capitalize on this and make a "Lincoln Axe."
The Kretchmer-Tredway Hardware Store of Dubuque, Iowa did just that. While made by other axe manufacturers (probably Mann or Collins), these Iowans stamped a beautiful image of President Lincoln onto their line of axes. You can find single and double bit axes bearing this stamp beginning around 1929 and ending sometime around WWII.
And remember that President who allegedly chopped down a cherry tree with his little hatchet as a child and would not tell a lie about it? Of course, there is a George Washington hatchet.
These cast iron hatchets were made in 1889 around the 100th anniversary of George Washington's inauguration. More for display than use they are still highly collectible.
Probably the most valuable of any axe associated with a President is the "President's Axe" made for Teddy Roosevelt by Maine axe maker John King. When President Roosevelt was campaigning in Maine in 1902, King presented Roosevelt with an ingenious "axe" which was more hatchet, but when the handle was unscrewed revealed a knife.
We wrote a longer blog post on this important piece of Maine axe making history. You can find that here.
And for all you presidential hopefuls out there remember swinging an axe always makes good campaign copy. Right President Reagan?
Check out Yesteryears Tools for more information on the Kretschmer-Tredway Company and the Lincoln Axe.