About Us

ABOUT AMES

AMES is the leading manufacturer of hand-powered landscaping tools in the world and one of the oldest consumer brands in the United States.

From its founding in a blacksmith shop in 1774, AMES has grown into a global family of brands marketed through major retailers in the U.S., Canada and Australasia.

Today we continue to build on the AMES legacy of manufacturing quality tools for big tasks, whether that means creating a backyard oasis for family and friends or laying the foundation for a skyscraper. Through quality craftsmanship and inspired innovation, we have established leading positions across numerous product categories.

AMES® HISTORY

Nov 26

1774 JOHN AMES BEGINS MAKING TOOLS

1774

JOHN AMES BEGINS MAKING TOOLS

One man, with hand-selected wood, forged steel, and a sturdy determination to make things the right way. At his West Bridgewater Massachusetts forge, Captain John Ames smiths America’s first metal shovels and eliminates the need for British imports.

Jan 09

1775-1783 Revolutionary War

1775-1783

The Revolutionary War

During the Revolutionary War, patriots dig in with AMES shovels fashioned from iron bars by an 80 pound, water-powered trip hammer.

Nov 11

1803 LAND PURCHASE IN EASTON, MA

1803

LAND PURCHASE IN EASTON, MA

Oliver Ames, youngest son of Capt. John Ames, purchases a forge, nailmaking shop, house and several pieces of land in Easton, Massachusetts for $1,600.

Jan 09

1808 Old Stone Forge

1808

Old Stone Forge

The Old Stone Forge is opened in Vermont by Alexander Miller. This Company will be purchased by Lyman Batcheller in 1935 and eventually merges into American Fork and Hoe in 1902. Later, American Fork and Hoe becomes True Temper.

Nov 11

1810 TRIP HAMMER PATENT SIGNED BY PRESIDENT MADISON

1810

PRESIDENT MADISON SIGNS
TRIP HAMMER PATENT

Original trip hammer design patent issued on April 25, 1810 and signed by President James Madison.

Jan 09

1812 The War of 1812

1812

The War of 1812

American troops rely on AMES shovels to dig life-saving protective entrenchments.

Nov 11

1817 FIRST BACK-STRAPPED SHOVELS

1817

THE FIRST BACK-STRAPPED SHOVELS

Oliver Ames manufactures the first back-strapped shovels, later modified for easy transport by soldiers in wartime.

Nov 11

1824 WOOD HANDLE SHOVEL MANUFACTURED

1824

WOOD HANDLE SHOVEL MANUFACTURED

The first wood handle shovel was manufactured in 1824 by AMES.

Nov 11

1837 AMES SHOVELS BREAKGROUND FOR B&O RAILROAD

1837

AMES SHOVELS BREAKGROUND FOR
B&O RAILROAD

President Abraham Lincoln personally asks Oakes Ames, son of Oliver Ames, to supply shovels for the Union cause during the Civil War. By the time the war between the states ends and the Resurrection Period begins, pent-up demand for shovels and other civilian needs creates a tremendous boom.

Nov 11

1840 AMES SHOVELS INSTRUMENTAL THROUGHOUT OREGON TRAIL

1840

AMES SHOVELS INSTRUMENTAL
THROUGHOUT OREGON TRAIL

Settlers, primarily from the Ohio Valley region and Missouri, battle the elements to migrate West. The main route is the Oregon Trail, leading to the Oregon Territory. The trail begins at Independence, Missouri and ends at Oregon City and the Willamette Valley. The average wagon train endures about six months of confrontations with mountains, rivers, prairie land and desert to reach its destination. AMES shovels are instrumental in the settlers’ efforts to challenge mother nature and to stake their claims in the new territory.

Jan 09

1848-1855 Gold Rush

1848-1855

Gold Rush

Instead of panning for gold, many successful prospectors dig tunnels to find the richest veins. During the California Gold Rush, demand for reliable AMES shovels is so high they are used as currency.

Nov 11

1861 LINCOLN ASKS FOR AMES SHOVELS FOR CIVIL WAR

1861

LINCOLN ASKS FOR AMES
SHOVELS DURING CIVIL WAR

President Abraham Lincoln personally asks Oakes Ames, son of Oliver Ames, to supply shovels for the Union cause during the Civil War. By the time the war between the states ends and the Resurrection Period begins, pent-up demand for shovels and other civilian needs creates a tremendous boom.

Nov 15

1868 OAK AMES TAKES CHARGE OF UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD

1868

OAK AMES TAKES CHARGE OF UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD

At the request of President Lincoln, crews use AMES shovels to lay rails across the country until the final Gold Spike. The Ames brothers save the project from failure with emergency financing and later serve as the railroad’s presidents.

Nov 15

1870 OAK AMES INVENTS HANDLE BENDING MACHINE

1870

OAK AMES INVENTS HANDLE BENDING MACHINE

Jan 09

1873 Verona Tools

1873

Verona Tools Begins Operations

In 1931, the company is bought by Wooding Forge and Tool which is acquired by AMES in 1997.

Jan 09

1876 Jackson Manufacturing Wheelbarrows

1876

Jackson Established

Jackson Manufacturing Company begins to produce the first wheelbarrows in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Some settlers use the strong metal tubs of the wheelbarrow as protection during Indian attacks.

Jan 09

1878 First World Exposition

1878

First World Exposition

AMES shovels win the Gold Medal at the First World Exposition and are later named “Best Made” shovel at the 1904 World Exposition.

Jan 09

1879 AMES Leads Shovel Industry

1879

AMES Leads The Shovel Industry

Daily production of 5,000 shovels accounts for 60% of the world’s metal shovels.

Nov 15

1886 AMES SHOVELS USED IN CONSTRUCTION OF STATUE OF LIBERTY

1886

AMES SHOVELS USED IN CONSTRUCTION OF STATUE OF LIBERTY

Jan 09

1895 Garant Established

1895

Garant Established

In Quebec, Garant Company begins as a small family operation offering tools that are fashioned and forged by hand. In 1991, AMES will acquire Garant which has become Canada’s leading manufacturer of snow removal, construction and gardening tools.

Jan 09

1897 Northcote Pottery Established

1897

Northcote Pottery Established

Started in Australia as a manufacturer of terra cotta pottery and roof tiles. It is currently Australia and New Zealand’s largest distributor of garden décor products.

Nov 15

1899 AMES SHOVELS BUILD NEW YORK SUBWAYS

1899

AMES SHOVELS BUILD NEW YORK SUBWAYS

Jan 09

1901 Ames Shovel and Tool Merger

1901

AMES Shovel and Tool Merger

President Hobart Ames and Secretary William Hadwen Ames lead the reorganized Ames Shovel and Tool, Inc. This corporation is a merger of T. Rowland’s Sons, Wright Shovel Company, St. Louis Shovel Company, H.M. Meyers Shovel Company and Elwood Steel Plant. Handle-making plants in Maine, Texas and Ohio are also acquired.

Jan 09

1902 American Fork and Hoe Formed

1902

American Fork and Hoe Formed

The new company is created with the merger of seventeen companies. This conglomerate will later become True Temper.

Nov 15

1903 AMES SHOVELS USED IN DIGGING THE PANAMA CANAL

1903-1914

AMES SHOVELS USED IN DIGGING THE PANAMA CANAL

The shorter, faster and safer route that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans improves economies of U.S. West Coast and nations around the Pacific Ocean.

Jan 09

1907 Union Tools Established

1907

Union Tools Established

With financing from American Fork and Hoe, Union Fork and Hoe Company is created by merging The United States Tool Company and the Continental Tool Company. Its first catalog consists of 902 items.

Jan 09

1907 Cyclone Established

1907

Cyclone Established

Leonard Chamber and William Thompson establish Cyclone to manufacture beekeeper hives and accessories. Today, Cyclone is an iconic brand in Australia’s garden and hardware industry.

Jan 09

1909 North Pole Discovered

1909

North Pole Discovered

AMES rugged shovels and tools forged the way on many of Admiral Robert Peary’s arctic explorations.

Nov 15

1914 AMES SHOVELS USED BY SOLDIERS IN WWI

1914-1918

AMES SHOVELS USED BY SOLDIERS IN WWI

In World War I, soldiers survive rapid machine gun fire and hide from advancing troops in 8-foot deep trenches dug with AMES T-Handle Shovels.

Nov 15

1927 AMES TOOLS USED IN CARVING MOUNT RUSHMORE

1927-1941

AMES TOOLS USED IN CARVING MOUNT RUSHMORE