William Rowland & Co.
Rowland Saw Works
Anchor Brand
William & Harvey Rowland
Philadelphia, PA
(and later under Disston)

The following material is excerpted from the Directory of American Toolmakers, 1999.  It indicates that there are some conflicting reports.  This family made saws in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1802 and 1870.

William Rowland Sr. (b. 1780 d. 1857)
William Sr. is reported as working between 1802 and his death in 1857.  He is reported as running William Rowland & Co. in 1856.  This company apparently was also known as the Rowland Saw Works.  He used the brand name ANCHOR BRAND at some time in his career.  It is not known when the & Co. was added to the name of the company.  One source reports it as being used only until 1851, but it is found on an 1856 catalog.

William Rowland Jr.
William Jr. is the son of William Rowland Sr.  He has "solo" working dates from 1835 to 1849.  Apparently, prior to 1835 he worked in his father's business.  In 1849, he became part of William & Harvey Rowland.  Sources for these dates conflict, with one showing this partnership starting in 1835 and another listing only William Jr. in 1837.  Yet another source shows William Jr. working alone beyond 1851.

Willam & Harvey Rowland

This partnership existed from 1849 to 1870, when the company was acquired by Disston.  It is not clear if Harvey Rowland was William Jr.'s brother, son or other relative.  A reported W.J.& B. Rowland reported as making saws in Philadelphia in 1850 is thought to be a misreading or typo of this company's name.

A receipt sent in by Mike Horne indicates that the name "William & Harvey Rowland" was still being used in 1884. Notation on the receipt reads: "Established Spring Making 1842. Steel making 1845. Norway Iron, 1871."  It lists offices in Philadelphia and New York.

The Davistown Museum received an inquiry about James Rowland founder of the Rowland Spring Works in Philadelphia, PA. that was sold to Disston.  DATM does not have any information on a James Rowland or company of this name.  It does list the following other Rowlands who worked in the Philadelphia area:

B. Rowland& Co. of Philadelphia made shovels and related tools (scoops, draining/ditching tools) 1876
Jonathan Rowland made shovels in 1838, location unknown
T. Rowland  and T. Rowland's Sons of Cheltenham, PA made shovels 1894 - 1901 then merged into Ames Shovel & Tool Co.
Thomas & Benjamin Rowland of Philadelphia made shovels in 1836

The Davistown Museum has now recieved the following information about Rowlands in Philadelphia:
My father (William Rowland) was from Philadelphia and he spoke of the factory that his family owned.  The factory manufactured leaf springs.  My father told me that they used to manufacture farm implements before they went into leaf springs.  Unfortunately,  I don't have any paper items from the farm implement days but I am in possession of some letters and advertising items from the 1940s.  One item, a letter to stockholders dated July 2, 1941, has as a letterhead "William and Harvey Rowland Inc., Automobile Springs, Frankford Philadelphia, Established 1806".  The other item, an advertising blotter, says "Rowland Springs, 1844 - 1946 proved by the test of time".

Anyone with more information on the Rowlands of Philadelphia please contact us.