BASA is a trademark of Greene, Tweed, now out of Kulpsville, PA. This company dates back to 1863 when John W. Greene and J. Ashton Greene partnered with Henry A. Tweed to distribute hardware and mill supplies. Two years later it began diversifying. In 1873 they produced packings, basically rudimentary seals for mill pumps, which became a company staple for many years. In 1895, they began distributing the Champion Chain Pipe Wrench. Today, they're a large manufacturer of high-performance materials with applications in the aerospace industry.
The hammer, which is technically called a "refractory hammer", was developed by the company in 1933 for use in the installation and demolitiohn of coke ovens, blast furnaces, and other applications where refractory brick (fire brick) is being installed. Today, it is referred to as a "split-head hammer" because the top is in two parts, held together by a large nut at the bottom, so the striking material in it can be changed or replaced. Apparently, this kind of hammer was particularly common in the 1930's and 40's, and could be had in various materials for the striking face, including copper, aluminum, plastic, rawhide and babbitt metal.
No one seems to know where the name "BASA" came from. Opinions as to its derivation on the 'net range from a corruption of a Japanese word, to a neologism created as a trademark. I emailed Greene, Tweed with this question but, typical of my experience with American firms, did not receive the courtesy of a response.
|J.H. Ashdown Hardware Company Limited,