Time Tested Tools: Standard Garden Tool Co.

Local connection gets Iowa collector interested in the Standard Garden Tool Co.


| July 2002



Cultivators in Don's collection

Cultivators in Don's collection include Willard Hancock's double-wheel spring beam cultivator, patented Aug. 9, 1904, far left; Hancock's No. 20 cultivator, patented Aug. 25, 1908, center; and Hancock's hill or drill seeder, patented May 9, 1911.

Twelve years ago, Don Wagner discovered the tie between the Standard Garden Tool Co. and his home town of Montrose, Iowa. Since then, he's been hooked on learning more about the company, and on collecting the garden cultivators and seeders it manufactured.

"I found a cultivator at a yard sale right here in Montrose," Don says. "It was in nice shape – and the wording was real legible. It was the first one that I knew of that was made in Montrose."

Standard Garden Tool Co. identified its cultivators on the handles, with the name of the company on one side and the identification number of the cultivator on the other, Don says, noting the lettering was painted in black and then varnished.

After Don got his yard-sale cultivator home, he realized he already owned a Standard – one that had lost its lettering over time. He also got to thinking about the equipment having been made in Montrose and decided he'd do a little research on the firm.

Don's quest for more information took him to the Keokuk (Iowa) Public Library, where he was able to access microfilm copies of early-1900s editions of the Montrose Journal newspaper.

"It's so local, there wasn't a lot of detail," he says, "but I began copying old articles about the company."