David R. Barton Tool Co.
Rochester, NY

The following information is from the Directory of American Toolmakers (Nelson 1999, 63-4).

David Barton was a partner in many different toolmaking companies, all in Rochester, New York.  He was born on July 4, 1805 and died April 26, 1875.

Below is an attempt to list his companies chronologically:

Barton & Guild: dates not known
Edge tools.
This is probably one of the short lived partnerships that David R. Barton was in before forming D.R. Barton & Co.  D.R. Barton supposedly took over Henry W. Stager and Charles Guild's Stager & Guild in 1832.  It's possible that Charles Guild is the Guild of this partnership.

Barton & Babcock: 1832 - 1834
Axes and edge tools.
D. R. Barton & Co. marks 1832 on some tools as if it was their starting date, that is based on Barton's involvement in this partnership.  John H. Babcock later worked as a blacksmith for the D. R. Barton & Co.

Barton & Smith: 1842
Bits, edge tools and wooden planes.
Marks: BARTON & / SMITH / ROCHESTER (with both S's backwards)
Probably this was a partnership with Albert H. Smith.

Barton & Belden: -1844-1848-
Axes, cooper's tools, drawknives, and edge tools.
David R. Barton and Ira Beldon.  Beldon was also a Rochester hardware dealer operating as Ira Belden & Co.  It is not clear if that business succeeded this partnership or was concurrent with it.  An English toolmaker, Ash, was so impressed with Barton & Belden tools that he copied them and marked the copies "Rochester Pattern".

David R. Barton & Co.: 1849 - 1874.
Adzes, axes, carpenter tools, chisels, cooper's tools, drawknives, hammers, hatchets, picks, tinsmith tools and wooden planes.
Marks: D. R. BARTON (with and without the CO.) and ROCHESTER (with and without the N.Y.).  Some included "1832" and some a star figure.  There was a variety of shapes used with the lettering: straight line, oval and half-circle.

Location: 136 Mill Street

Two partners, William R. Mack and Royal L. Mack, took the company over in 1874 and renamed it Mack & Co.  They continued to use the original name as a trademark until 1923.

Barton & Milliner: 1863
Edge tools.
This partnership was formed while Barton was with D. R. Barton & Co.  The relationship between the two companies is not clear.  Joel P. Milliner (or Millener) had earlier had his own edge tool business in Canada (Joel P. Millener & Co.).

David R. Barton Tool Co.: 1874 - 1880.
Augers, axes, bits, cooper's tools, edge tools and wooden planes.
Marks: D.R. BARTON / 1832 / ROCHESTER N.Y. (in an oval shape with top and bottom lines curved).
David R. Barton and his sons, Charles and Edward, formed this company after D. R. Barton & Co. was taken over by the Macks.  It was also bought out in 1880 by Mack & Co. who again continued to use the marks.  So the mark D.R. BARTON / 1832 / ROCHESTER N.Y. was used by D. R. Barton & Co., D. R. Barton Tool Co. and Mack & Co.

The following is a short history submitted to us by James Stewart, 18 Scenic Circle, Rochester, NY 14624-1008, james@woodsunltd.com.

David R. Barton: Edge Tool Maker

David R. Barton was born on the 4th of July 1805 in a small town by the Hudson River. His family moved to Homer, NY and then he moved to Rochester on his 21st birthday. David started his trade working for Mr. Thomas Morgan. Morgan occupied a small blacksmith shop, built in 1820 that occupied a valuable mill seat property at the southwest comer of the northward flowing Genesee River and the main east-west street in the fast growing village. The written record shows Morgan produced only nails, a critical commodity in a village that eventually became a supply center, market place, and stepping stone for settlers pouring westward, especially after the Erie Canal provided a transportation artery for all Northeasterners to all of the north central and western territories. But edge tools were also made at Morgan's shop, and in January 1824 Henry Stager announced taking over the edge tool portion of this venture. In 1825, Morgan was an agent for Seth Silsby's axes, so a close association with edge tool making was present in this shop. It is likely that the apprentice Barton was exposed to and learned the fine points of the edge tool business. No doubt he became aware of the ravenous demand for them in this time of western expansion. In addition, the location of this shop, one block from the new Erie Canal, and at the crossroads of the main highway and river, could be seen as a strategically attractive manufacturing and sales location. Morgan died in November 1828; near the time that Barton was offered a position of superintendent for the Ramapo Manufacturing Factory near his Hudson River hometown. He accepted the offer and moved east, but only for a short period of time. The Morgan blacksmith shop was not officially disposed of until an auction sale held on 5 February 1831.

The dissolution of the heretofore-unknown partnership of H. W. Stager and D. R. Barton was announced on 12 December 1832. The following day, Stager announced his removal from the west end of the Genesee Bridge to the Globe Building just to the west. We can thus conclude that Barton entered into his first partnership with H. W. Stager after he returned to Rochester from the Hudson Valley. The Stager-Barton enterprise followed the auction of Morgan's shop and was in place for less than one year.

Barton went through many partnerships in his edge tool company. At first it appears that he had about 24 employees and was using 12 to 14 tons of iron and about 4 tons of steel per year. The business grew over the years to a point where he had almost 200 employees and producing more than $100,000 worth of edge tools per year.

In 1865 on the 17th of March the great flood of Rochester occurred. It destroyed his manufacturing building that he had purchased in 1832. He borrowed $200,000 from Royal & William Mack to rebuild his company. They became partners until 1873 when David bought back his company. At that point he started stamping his tools D.R. Barton 1832 verses the Mack's were still making tools as D.R. Barton and Company. On April 26th 1875 he passed away after a short illness. His wife and son sold the company back to the Mack's a year later and they used his name for about 5 more years.

Barton, D. R. & Co. (1873). Catalogue and revised standard list of mechanics' tools and machine knives, manufactured by D. R. Barton & Co., 136 Mill Street, Rochester, N.Y.

Kosmerl, Frank. (March 1995). Rochester, New York: A 19th-century edge tool center: Part 2.

The Davistown Museum has a D. R. Barton socket gouge in the Maritime IV Collection.