CD, Jewel Case and Cover Art
Bill Lynch presents:

Buffalo Forge Co., Illustrated General Catalog, Edition of 1896

Catalog and Advertising card, on CD-ROM. 399 Page Catalog PDF and B&W Bitmaps

Review by Jock Dempsey

THIS is not just a catalog of tools and machines, it is a true historical document. As a "general" catalog it covers the Buffalo Forge Co. Steam engines and ventilating systems as well as forges and blacksmithing equipment.

Buffalo Merchant Card from the CD.

Buffalo Forge was one of the "big three" that made blacksmith equipment in the United States. Champion and Canedy-Otto were the other two that made similar equipment. Many others such as Atha Tool Co. made hand tools. The big three made very similar lines of tools and when they are not clearly marked it is often difficult to tell one from the other. Catalog details can help greatly in this identification. Occasionally they can also help date when an item was manufactured.

Of the big three Buffalo is the only one left. However, they no longer make blacksmithing equipment, specializing in air handling equipment, a product they made from the begining. I was excited to see a new Buffalo Forge plant being built nearby and after they opened I stopped to ask if they still made forges or blacksmith blowers. . . Everyone looked at me like I was crazy. Nobody there knew anything about the history of the company. Since then that plant has be sold to another company, sold again, bought back by Buffalo Forge. . and who knows now . .

Click for detail image.
Buffalo Forge also built steam engines to power their fans and blowers. Some like this typical stationary engine were designed to operate line shafting and power an entire plant. Buffalo also made small steam engines that were integral to a blower's shaft. This created a stand alone package like a modern blower with electric motor.

'Forge shop of Stout Manual Training School, Menomonie, Wis.' Click for detail image.
Besides engravings of machinery there are many photographs of the equipment installations, many that are of historical interest. Above, 'Forge shop of Stout Manual Training School, Menomonie, Wis.' Click for detail image.

Other places include:

  • Forge shop of Teachers' College, New York City
  • Throop Polytechnic Institute, Pasadena Cal. (forge shop)
  • Forge shop of University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb.
  • Miller Manual Labor School Crozet, Va (historical building exterior)
  • Forge Shop of Manual Training High School, Denver Colo.
  • Fayetteville Forge Shop Arkansas Industrial University
  • Pine Bluff Forge Shop Arkansas Industrial University
  • Buffalo State Insane Hospital (exterior view).
  • New Union R.R. Station St. Louis
  • Louisville and Nasville Union Station, Louisville, KY.
  • The Chicago Auditorium, Chicago, Illinois.
  • Baltimore Music Hall Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Williams County Courthouse, Bryan, Ohio.
  • Real Estate Exchange, Buffalo, New York.
  • The Y.M.C.A. Cincinnatti, Ohio.
  • Many churches and schools from the late 1800's. . .

Click for detail image.
Page 286, a "Portable Power Forge". This forge was designed to operate from a line shaft and flat belt drive.

Click images for enlargement.

Click for detail image.
Page 312, two "Blacksmith Drills". These are typical Buffalo drills but the catalog also includes many other unsual styles rarely seen.

The catalog also includes engineering charts for blower capacities and air handling systems, price lists and floor plans of some of the buildings listed above. Besides steam engines and blowers, there are air pressure and motion measurement devices as well as "typical" factory layouts for using a steam plant to power a building. The blacksmith equipment includes Buffalo's full line including blowers, forges, tire shrinkers, hand crank and power drills.

Reprints or even new books via CD-ROM are probably the wave of the future. Although not as convenient as a book in some regards it is more convenient in others. It is smaller, more compact, not subject to aging and falling apart like an inexpensive reprint. In this case it also contains all of the original catalog in gracefully aged color, something that a common reprint cannot do. Rare old catalogs such as this are one of the best sources of this information. However, most of us cannot afford the $300 and up collector's prices these catalogs bring. Reprints, and increasingly copies on CD-ROM make these rare catalogs available to all.

This would be a great addition to any blacksmith's, tool collector's or steam enthusiast's electronic library.

For people with bad eyesight these are a dream come true as you can blow up the pages as needed and see great detail.

NOTE: Images here may have been enhanced in some cases, or reduced in size and quality in others, for the purpose of this review.

Bill Lynch
810 Highridge Trail
Mckinney, Texas 75069

Price US $19.95 plus shipping and handling

NOW available from anvilfire!
Copyright © 2002 by Jock Dempsey, DEMPSEY'S FORGE
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