Charles Washburn founded the Wire Goods Company in 1880, moving from Boston to Worcester. In 1911, the Wire Hardware Company was founded in Chicago in 1911, merging with the Andrews Wire and Iron Works of Rockford, Il in 1917. These companies along with another merged in 1922 to become the Washburn Company with operations consolidated in Rockford, Illinois and Worcester, Massachusetts in 1929. In the 1920's, the introduced Androck kitchenware. During World War II, they were one of the manufacturers of the P-38 C-Ration can openers as well as other tools like screwdrivers for the Willys jeep toolkits.
At some point, they began making wooden handles for screwdrivers, apparently using Bridgeport blades.
In 1967, the company was acquired by the Roblin Steel Corp of Buffalo, New York, which closed the Rockford plant in 1973 and the Worcester factory in 1975. The Canadian branch became a separate company. The name got divided among several companies, which continued to use the brand after 1975.