Original Catalog Cover Bill Lynch presents:

Champion Blower and Forge Co.

Catalog, Patents and Fliers on CD-ROM

330 Page Catalog PDF, Letters & Patents PDF, Bitmaps

Review by Jock Dempsey

AS Blacksmiths we are all interested in old tools even if we are not collectors. Why? Because most of us use antique tools every day. In some cases they are all that is available, in others it is all we can afford. But in almost every case we want to know more about these tools. 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.

CD, jewel case and new cover art
Champion was one of the "big three" that made blacksmith equipment in the United States. Buffalo Forge 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.
Champion Miner's Forge ca. 1920
Page 15 (reduced) Champion miner's forge and box ca. 1920. Click image for detail.
Buffalo Miners Forge ca. 1899
Buffalo miner's forge and box, Thomas K. Carey & Bro's Baltimore, MD, catalog 1899

The competition of the time was so fierce that forge manufacturers carried nearly the same designs of forge. Above is an example. Two small portable forges for miners and prospectors. Both came in a wood carrying case that became the stand for the forge. I had only seen the Buffalo image until I saw this catalog.

Drill presses, post drills, benders and other blacksmith equipment were also subject to the same competitive spirit. This resulted in there being a wide range of sizes and styles of machines from all the makers.

Sectional View of Champion Factory
Besides engravings of the hundreds of machines made by Champion there are six beautiful photos such as the one above of the Champion plant including machining and assembly operations. The web of open flat belt drives tells of an era long past. Click for detail of Lathe

Champion flyer - Click for enlargment The CD-ROM includes a collection of Champion forge literature besides the 1920 catalog. This flyer is an example. Click for enlargement. The CD also includes:
  • Letter from the company detailing its history.
  • Post card with view of the Champion plant in the early 1900's.
  • Color flyer for the Champion 400 blower.
  • 1901 blower patent of Henry B. Keiper (4 pages with drawing).
  • 1901 forge patent of Henry B. Keiper (4 drawings plus 4 pages).
  • 1901 mechanical movement (blower gears) patent of Henry B. Keiper.
  • 1901 combined gearing and casing (blower) patent of Henry B. Keiper.
  • 1902 (Champion) power hammer patent of Jared B. McLane
  • ADOBE Acrobat reader 5.0 for the PDF files
  • The individual bitmap (BMP) image files.

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 not only contains all of the original catalog but a collection of documents related to the subject. This would be a great addition to any blacksmith's or tool collector's electronic library.

Some of the items on the CD were supplied by Joe Rolfe. Bill says,

Joe Rolfe and I were fighting over the catalog in an auction, that's how we met. His begging me for a copy is what gave me the idea to make it available to others.
I too have had a copy of this rare old catalog in hand. My bidding competition was Bill Gichner. Guess who got it. :(   Luckily now Joe and I both have a copy on CD-ROM! The original book is small, 8" x 5" (203mm x 127mm). For people with bad eyesight this is a dream come true as you can blow it up on the computer 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. The Buffalo miner's forge is not from the CD.

Bill Lynch
810 Highridge Trail
Mckinney, Texas 75069

Price US $19.95 plus shipping and handling

NOW available from anvilfire!

Champion 400 Icon
Click for image of Champion 400 blower restored by the Bill Lynch. This beautiful blower is now owned by the Champion Blower Co.

Copyright © 2002 by Jock Dempsey, DEMPSEY'S FORGE
Webmaster email: anvilfire! webmaster

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