Sunday, May 12, 2013

We used to make things in this country. #101: B.N.T. Canada, Toronto, Ontario

Below, two ball pein hammers made by BNT Canada:

And a BNT sledge hammer:

All of the other BNT tools I've found are stamped Sheffield.  For example, a wood chisel:

A miniature hacksaw:

The parent firm was made up of an amalgamation of three storied British tool makers:  Brades, Nash and Tyzack.  Brades Forge dates back in the the late 18th century, making steel and edge tools. It was purchased by William Hunt and Sons, whose initials WHS in those harsh times were also rumoured to stand for "Work Hard or Starve."  William Tyzack founded his Sheffield tool-making company in the mid-19th Century, also specializing in edge tools. 
"Elephant" Brand trademark
Sell's National Directory of Large Commercial Houses
and Buyers' Guide
.  London:  Business Dictionaries Ltd., 1920.
His nephew Joseph succeeded him, and Joseph's son Thomas is best known for his invention of the plasterer's steel trowel or float. (To view an online copy of their 1957 catalogue, visit the Trowel and Masonry Tools Collectors Resource.) In 1942 Tyzack amalgamated with Isaac Nash of Stourbridge to form Nash Tyzack and in 1951 Brades became part of the mix, forming Brades & Nash Tyzack or B.N.T.

1957.  Source:  Grace's Guide to British Industry
Spear & Jackson gobbled them up in 1962, which in turn was swallowed by the Neill Tools Group of Sheffield which still uses the Tyzack brand name.

As far as I know, they are the only British tool-making firm which operated a Canadian subsidiary making tools in this country.  (As an aside, the daughter of the ex-patriate Brit who first ran the BNT Canada operation was the actress Jackie Burroughs, who went on to win three Geminis for her role as the eccentric school teacher Hetty King in the  Canadian TV series the Road to Avonlea, which was based on the quintessentially Canadian novel Anne of Green Gables.)

BNT also offered an unusual Whitworth wrench:

Similar "Surpans" wrenches in metric sizes were also offered by "Peugeot Frères" (or "Peugeot Brothers" of French car fame):

"Surpans" is French ('sur pans") for "on sections" and  refers to a "flank-drive" wrench which applies its driving force to the flats of a fastener rather than the corners.  "Bte" is an abbreviation of  "Brevetés", meaning "Patented".   Apparently such wrenches were common at one time in the toolkits of French cars.  It looks like BNT made some Whitworth wrenches to the design of this French patent.  (In the U.S., the New Britain Machine Company originally patented such a design in the mid 1950's and offered it under the "Nut Master" name.  Patented in 1964, Utica-Bonney Tools also offered "Loc-Rite" wrenches using the same principles.  Below, from one of their catalogues:

Utica Loc-Rite wrenches and sockets work on a revolutionary principle that prevents leaks, fastener damage, distortion, or false torque readings. Instead of tightening by pressing inward, Loc-Rite wrenches exert pressure tangentially, from the sturdy hex flats around the shoulder of the fitting. Because a Loc-Rite wrench bears on hex flats instead of hex points, there is no damage to fasteners, no out- of-round condition developed even during high-torque wrenching of thin wall fasteners or soft metals. So there is no galling of threads, no undue thread friction, no false torque readings—and no leakage from incorrectly tightened fittings.! Another advantage of Loc-Rite tangential force is that you can use a Loc-Rite wrench to loosen and possibly re-use a fitting so badly damaged that conventional wrenches will no longer turn it! Even if the hex points have been crushed, a Loc-Rite wrench will work, since it snugs deep into hex flats. 


Anonymous said...

I knew the owner of BNT Canada (operating out of Niagara St. offices in Toronto) very well and I have a fair number of BNT tools still in my possession; they continue to be used by me. Would be glad to chat further about BNT.

The Duke said...

I'd love to hear from you! Please email me at

Scott Mudie said...

"Thank you for your informative post about power tools which are made in Sheffield . Especial thanks for that catalogs link."

Russ Bartlett said...

First up you have the wrong Tyzack as it was the Joseph Tyzack. Also Spear & Jackson did operate in Canada with a manufacturing plant

Unknown said...

I have a BNT chopping maul. Says BNT 3860 on it.

Art Keeble said...

I have a tool marked BNT Canada. It is shaped like a hammer but the ens have 1/8" slots in either face. Interested in knowing what it was used for.

The Duke said...

Hmmm. Don't know offhand. Send us a few photos. If we don't recognize it, we'll post the pics and see if some visitors can solve the puzzle for you.

Art Keeble said...

Can't figure out how to post pics on here. Do you have an email address or FB?

Mister G said...

Hi You can send to this address

Art Keeble said...

Sent pics to the email, hope you received them.

Art Keeble said...

Thanks to whoever solved the mystery of my BNT tool. A scutching hammer, minus the combs.

broomhandlemauser said...

Dont want to argue "unknown" but my BNT splitting maul has the numbers 3880 and 8 LB .I bought it in 1966 and have just put a new handle on it! It stil worked but was a bit ratty.It is European now with a French "leborgne" shaft !Both made of glass fibre.Wish I had £1 for every log it,s split !