By Thomas Berry
Creator: Blaw-Knox Company, The (1917-2007?)
Extent: 0.1 Linear Feet
Arrangement: Group 1, Machinery Records, is arranged by record format, record type, subseries, machine class, machine model, and publication date (where known).
This collection consists of sales literature discussing the company’s products.
Jacob B. Blaw of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania patented a re-useable steel form that was superior to wooden forms in constructing concrete sewers and tunnel linings. On March 12, 1906 Blaw Collapsible Steel Centering Company (Collection 356) was formed in New Jersey to manufacture and market the product. The firm was renamed the Blaw Steel Centering Company in 1911; according to another source, it became the Blaw Steel Construction Company.
In 1909, Luther Knox and Irvin F. Lehman became associated in the establishment of the Knox Pressed and Welded Steel Company (Collection 2606) to produce and market Knox’s innovations in the use of pressed and welded steel, in place of previously used non-ferrous castings, for the manufacture of water-cooled equipment for open hearth furnaces and for other high temperature applications.
The Blaw and Knox firms merged on July 6, 1917, forming The Blaw-Knox Company. The company diversified into radio towers in 1927 and, in 1929 through its purchase of A. W. French & Company (Collection 1721), paving equipment. French was manufacturing the Ord line of concrete finishers and related equipment, which became the genesis for Blaw-Knox’s own popular line of form-riding spreaders and finishers, and in 1931 Blaw-Knox expanded the line to include form-riding asphalt finishers.
The Ord form-riding asphalt finisher was the first to be adjustable at the forms so that the machine could be raised for the laying of multiple layers of pavement without resetting the forms. It also had compression shoes that aided in compaction and eliminated the need for removable form strips.
Blaw-Knox went on to acquire the assets of the Foote Manufacturing Company (Collection 394) in 1948. This added dry-batch concrete pavers and the Adnun asphalt paver, which was with Barber-Greene’s 879 one of the two first self-propelled, formless asphalt pavers, to Blaw-Knox’s product line. Issue 66 includes a history of Foote and their concrete mixers and pavers.
The All-Purpose Spreader Company (Collection 2559), or APSCo, was purchased in 1954. Apsco produced trench rollers and a line of rubber-tired paving equipment, including shoulder spreaders, road wideners and the first rubber-tired asphalt paver.
Blaw-Knox went on to serve the metallurgical, chemical process, public service and heavy construction industries. It purchased the Buffalo Foundry & Machine Company and Buflovak Equipment Group, both of Buffalo, New York, in 1945 to gain access to the chemical plant, gas processing and food processing equipment industries; these lines were spun off in 1993 as Buffalo Technologies Corporation, which was reorganized in 2003 as Buflovak LLC.
Blaw-Knox also became possibly the only equipment manufacturer to have a town named after it; Blaw Steel had relocated to Hoboken, Pennsylvania, a small town near Pittsburgh, in 1913, and Hoboken was renamed Blawknox, Pennsylvania, in 1918.
Blaw-Knox itself changed hands at least twice, being acquired by White Consolidated Industries in 1968, and then Clark Equipment Company. Ingersoll-Rand acquired Clark’s construction product lines, including Blaw-Knox, in 1995. Ingersoll-Rand continued to use the Blaw-Knox brands, and placed Blaw-Knox in its Road Development business unit. When Ingersoll-Rand exited the construction equipment industry in 2007, the Road Development unit was sold to Volvo Construction Products (Collection 5), and the Blaw-Knox brand remains in use.
Serial number nomenclature:
Form-riding concrete paving equipment typically used a prefix consisting of the last two digits of the year of manufacture followed by the model number, then a serial number.
Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on this collection.
Physical Access Note: Some records in this collection are in poor physical condition.
This is an artificial collection comprised of records from multiple accessions. Initial records in this collection were found in files. Additional records have been added from:
• Judd Griffith Collection, Accession 2000-0113 (received Sep 22 2000)
• Donald W. Frantz Collection, Accession 2005-0150 (received Dec 31, 2005). Filed with his collection per his request.