Carter & Company
History of Luzerne Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties, PA
with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches
of Some of their Prominent Men and Pioneers
New York; W. Munsell & Co.; 1880
Press of George Macnamara, 36 Vesey Street, NY

(Page 410) Axes and Edge Tools

Jerison White & Son, 1872 (click to enlarge)In 1840 Jerison White built the first edge tool factory at Capouse, and soon after sold out to Pulaski Carter, removed to Providence and erected a second factory, which, with his dwelling, was swept away by a flood. He Built a small, rude shop, in which he placed a bellows, and with the help of a boy began business on a limited scale. He built a factory in 1847 and occupied it until 1861, when he sold it to his nephew, Crandall White, who conducted it a while. After the war Edward H. White was taken into partnership with his father, J. White., and they resumed business, removing to Green Ridge avenue in 1874, where they had erected the shops now standing there unoccupied. [For scans of another Jerison White letter head, click here. For a statement of account due, click here.] They abandoned the business in May, 1878. For many years the establishment enjoyed the highest reputation, the specialty being axes of all kinds. These were made of the best Sheffield steel and tempered by a process of the senior proprietor's. They were also the inventors and manufacturers of an improved pruning hatchet and box opener, which had a large sale.

In 1841 the land at Capouse came into the hands of Pulaski Carter, a young man from Windham county, Conn. Who rented the recently built shop of Jerison White, and in the fall of that year put three trip hammers and three forges in motion and, purchasing the property, established what is now known far and wide throughout the State as "Carter's Capouse Works." Three operations besides himself were employed in 1841, using three tons and a half of iron and making 180 dozen scythes and 160 dozen axes, which were ground, polished, boxed and sold by Mr. Carter himself, who was foreman, salesman and bookkeeper. The pioneers in this section pronounced these implements of superior quality. The shop, then a single building, thirty by fifty feet, has given place to a cluster of thirty or more buildings. One hundred tons of iron are used annually, and more than 1,000 dozen scythes and 2,000 dozen axes, besides a large number of edged tools used by workers of wood, iron and stone, and embracing carpenters’ and railroad and track adzes, and miners’ and gravel picks, grub hoes, drills, crowbars, wedges and harrow teeth, are produced.

Blake & Co., in the spring of 1863, established an ax factory where the office of the Cliff works now stands. The establishment was burned about 1867 and was not rebuilt.

In 1876 a building was erected at Green Ridge, which was opened in April of that year by Messrs. J. W. Pike & Co. as a manufactory of mining and edge tools. The business increased steadily, several men being employed in the shop, until the building was burned in January, 1880. Other accommodations were soon secured and business was resumed. During 1879 about $500 worth of tools were turned out per month.

Capouse Works, Providence, PA 1877
Capouse Works, Providence, PA. 1877 map by G. M. Hopkins
Click here to see a scan of the complete original plate (T)

Atlas of Surveys, City of Scranton 1898, of Same Area
1899 Map of the Providence Area Showing Churches & Schools

History of Scranton, Pennsylvania, With Full Outline of the Natural Advantages, Accounts of the Indian Tribes, Early Settlements, Connecticut's Claim to the Wyoming Valley, the Trenton Decree, Manufacturing, Mining, and Transportation Interests, the Press, Churches, Societies, etc., Etc., Down to the Present Time.

David Craft, William A. Wilcox, Alfred Hand, J. Wooldridge. Published for H. W. Crew by the United Brethren Publishing House, Dayton, Ohio. 1891.

Pages 255-6

The Capouse Works of Pulaski Carter were established in 1840, by Jerison White. This was the first edge tool factory started at Capouse. Soon after Mr. White sold out to Mr. Carter and removed to Providence where he erected a second factory, which, together with his dwelling, was swept away by a flood. Mr. White then built a small, rude shop, placing a bellows therein, and with the assistance of a boy began business on a small scale. In 1847 he built a larger factory and occupied it until 1861, when he sold out to his nephew, Crandall White, who conducted it for some time during the war. After the war was over Edward H. White and his father, J. White, were taken into partnership, and the business was resumed. In 1874 they removed to Green Ridge Avenue, and carried on the business there until 1878, when they abandoned it altogether. This establishment enjoyed the highest reputation, their specialty, axes, being made of the best Sheffield steel, tempered by a process that was original with the original proprietor.

The label on the axe reads, "This AXE is entirely Forged, neither press punch or drop being used. The Material is the very Best obtainable. Particular care exercised in every process of manufacture and each Axe carefully Tested. It is not warranted. We know it is good." Letter mailed October 1894.
An envelope mailed in 1894 from Scranton. Click to enlarge.
The axe from the envelope enlarge. Click for an even larger version.
The back of the envelope from Carter & Co. Click to enlarge.
Click on an image to enlarge. For an even larger image (215k) of the axe, click here.

Carter ad from 1880's directory
Click here for original color.
The note with this said "Original ad from 1880's directory."
Ads on back of Carter ad
The back of the 1880 ad.
Carter & Co. Axes Ad in 1895 Scranton Fire Alarm Boxes Directory
The above ad, from the 1895 Scranton Fire Alarm Boxes Directory, shows the name change after Pulaski died. The ad to the left has the company's original name. The axe says Providence, Lackawanna County, which was formed in 1878, thus narrowing the date to between 1878 and October 1884, when Pulaski died. 

In the 1889 Williams' Scranton Directory there is an ad for Carter & Co., Successors to P. Carter. In the same directory this listing for the company says, "CARTER & CO., (Pulaski P. and Marvin P. Carter and William D. Kennedy,) axe and mining tool manufacturer, Capouse Works."

Click on the images to enlarge

1866 bill signed by P. Carter

A bill signed by Pulaski Carter on September 15, 1869.

1875 Catalog
The image above is the title from the first page of an 1875 catalog and ordering form.
Lackawanna County was slit off from Luzerne on August 13, 1878.
To see the whole first page click here, page 2, and page 3 (back is blank).

The same basic format and font style was used in this postal card mailed on October 20, 1876.
The card is a receipt and is signed by William D. Kennedy, Pulaski's son-in-law. It was sent to Orwell, Pa.

Title from 1880 Pulaski Carter Catalog
The image above is the title from the first page of an 1880 catalog and ordering form.
Note that some prices are lower and the selection is different.
To see the whole first page click here, page 2, page 3 and page 4.

Returning now to the establishment of Pulaski Carter, which became his in 1841, it may be stated that Mr. Carter was then a young man, from Windham County, Connecticut, who rented the recently erected shop of Jerison White, and in the fall put in three trip hammers and three forges, all of which he set to work at once, and soon afterward purchasing the property, he established what became widely and favorably known as the "Capouse Works." In 1841 he employed three hands, who together with him, made up three and a half tons of iron into one hundred and eighty dozen scythes, and one hundred and sixty dozen axes, which were ground, polished, boxed, and sold by Mr. Carter himself. These implements were of superior quality, and were highly satisfactory to the pioneers of this section. The shop which was then only one building, has give place to a group of more than thirty building. In 1877 Mr. Carter's partners were Calvin Parson, of Wilkes-Barre, and Edward Weston, of Providence. In this year Mr. Carter fitted up a rolling mill, which was designed to manufacture bar iron from scrap iron of every kind of shape. These works are still in existence, and are doing a prosperous business.

Carter & Company Letterhead for 189_
Carter & Company, Successors to P. Carter, Letterhead for 189_ 

Carter & Company, Successors to P. Carter, billhead for May 1889

Illustrated with an axe similar to the Southern Kentucky shown here.

The Scranton Republican, Saturday July 29, 1893


Manufactures of Axes and Mining Tools.

The manufacture of axes was begun in Scranton in the year 1841 by Pulaski Carter and the Capouse Works, as the plant was then named and is still known, was one of the first industrial establishments located in Scranton. The present firm of Carter & Co. was organized in 1884. The products of the works are axes, wood-choppers’ tools and mining tools, and the firm are also wholesale dealers in hand agricultural implements. The firms’ axes are their great specialty. Their motto has ever been and is now, to make nothing but the very best axe, which has always been know as a great favorite with lumbermen. For the past twenty years they have sold these tools against their competitors, who warranted their goods, but the widespread reputation of the Carter Superior Cast Steel Axes required no warranty, as their relative merits and good qualities were both well and widely known.

The “Carter Hand Made Black Diamond Axe,” is a very superior tool and gives better satisfaction in extremely cold climates than any other axe manufactured in this or any other market. Every axe is thoroughly tested before leaving the manufactory and is known to be perfect. Only the very best steel obtainable is used, added to the employment of only skilled, experienced and efficient mechanics. The firm manufactures a large variety of patterns in axes, and special patterns will be made to order if desired. All the axes are tempered in the old way, one at a time, after which it is thoroughly tested before being placed in stock.

Transcriptions, text and images by Susan Carter White Pieroth 2001-2021

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