How to Date a Collins Axe

Dating can be an intimidating process, and when it comes to tools like axes, the task of finding out how old they are can seem impossible. I’m here to let you in on a secret that experienced axe collectors know–dating a Collins axe doesn’t have to be difficult! 

How to Date a Collins Axe

With this guide, you’ll get tips on researching and identifying key features so you can figure out when your particular model was made and determine its value. Whether you’re looking for an antique treasure or just trying to add some more knowledge of American history into your next date-night conversation, this post will help answer the question, ‘How to Date a Collins Axe?’

Where Were Collins Axes Made?

Collins axes were primarily made in the United States, with manufacturing facilities located in Hartford, Connecticut. The company also produced tools in Canada, England, and Germany throughout its history of operation. Although Collins was known for producing a variety of quality tools, the most popular product was their axes.

In fact, these iconic tools became so popular that the name Collins became synonymous with axes, much like Kleenex is used to refer to tissues.

The company first began producing quality tools in 1826 when Samuel Collins founded the company in Hartford, Connecticut. Over the course of his lifetime, he and his sons ran the business until it was sold to The American Fork & Hoe Company in 1929. American Fork & Hoe continued to produce Collins axes until the business closed in 1966.

Since then, several other companies have produced and marketed their own version of the classic Collins axe, but none have been as widely known or successful as those made by Samuel Collins and his family. Fortunately for collectors, many vintage models are still available for purchase on the second-hand market, providing a unique opportunity to own a piece of American history.

By researching the company’s history and examining certain features, such as the handle material or type of head stamping, it is possible for collectors to determine approximately when an axe was made. 

This can help refine searches for particular models and provide a more accurate assessment of the value of a particular axe. With knowledge and care, avid collectors can find vintage Collins axes that are truly one-of-a-kind treasures.

9 Methods on How to Date a Collins Axe

1.  Look for the Collins Trademark.

All genuine Collins axes have a trademark consisting of the word “Collins” above a horizontal line and the word “Tool” below the line. This trademark should be stamped on one side of the axe head near the edge. If the axe does not have this trademark, it is not an authentic Collins. Try to find an axe with this stamp to ensure that you are purchasing a genuine Collins.

2.  Check the Size of the Axe Head.

The size of the axe head can help you determine the age of the axe. Early axes had smaller heads, while later models had larger heads. Typically, small axe heads are those made before 1845 and larger heads after. 

 Size of the Axe Head Determine the Age

The head size is measured by length and width, with length being the more important attribute. Small heads are usually less than 5 inches long, while larger heads can be up to 6 or 7 inches long. To measure the head, lay the axe flat and measure from the top of the head to the bottom.

3.  Examine the Shape of the Axe Head.

The shape of the axe head can also be helpful in dating a Collins axe. Early axes had more rounded heads, while later models had more angular heads. Look for the shape of the axe head to help determine the age of your Collins axe.

4.  Look at the Handle.

The handle can provide some clues as to the age of a Collins axe. Early handles were made from hickory, while later handles were made from ash. Additionally, early handles were straight, while later handles were curved. 

The handle can provide some clues

Furthermore, the shape of the handle has changed over time, going from a tear-drop shape to an oval or rounded design. Any combination of these criteria can help you narrow down the age of your Collins axe.

5.  Check for Wear and Tear.

Wear and tear can also help you determine the age of a Collins axe. Early axes will show more wear and tear than later models, as they would have been used more often. Look carefully at the handle and blade of the axe to assess this. 

As with other elements, if the wear and tear look too uniform or new, the axe may be a reproduction. Additionally, look for signs of repairs or restorations that have been made to the axe. This can also help you determine the age and value of the axe.

6.  Inspect the Overall Condition of the Axe.

The overall condition of the axe can also be helpful in dating it. An axe that is in good condition is likely to be newer than an axe that is in poor condition. In particular, look closely at the handle. A handle that is in good condition with no chips or splinters will likely be newer than a handle with many chips or splinters.

Additionally, if the handle appears to be made of wood, you can use a ruler or other measuring device to accurately measure the diameter of the handle and compare it with measurements from known examples of axes from different decades. This can help you to determine when it was made.

You Can Use a Ruler

7.  Compare It to Other Collins Axes.

If you have access to other Collins axes, you can compare them to the one you are trying to date in order to get a better idea of its age.  Look for similarities and differences, such as the handle shape, the size of the head, or any distinct markings.  

Also, try to compare the condition of your axe to other examples.  This can give you a good idea of the age since older axes tend to have more wear and tear.

8.  Do Some Research on Collins Axes Online or in Books.

There is a lot of information available on Collins axes, so doing some research online or in books can help you narrow down its age range. Look for the markings and symbols on the head, look at the shape of the handle, and compare it to other axes from that era. This will help you understand the time period in which it was made and can help you more accurately date your Collins axe.

9.  Contact an Expert.

If you are still unable to determine the age of a Collins axe, it might be best to consult an expert. There are many knowledgeable people out there who can provide valuable insight on vintage tools such as Collins axes. Consider contacting a local museum curator or an antique tool collector to get their opinion.

They may be able to provide further information and help you determine the age and origin of the axe. With their help, you can gain a better understanding of your vintage artifact and its value.

Things to Consider When Dating a Collins Axe

1. Examine the Head Area of the Axe.

Look for any signs of wear and tear, as this can indicate an older model.  Additionally, examine the handle area and check for any cracks or splits in the wood.

2. Check the Weight of the Axe.

A heavier axe will be of higher quality and is more likely to be an older model.  If the axe feels too light, it may be a newer version.

3. Look for any Patches or Marks on the Axe Head.

Many manufacturers would add unique markings to their products, which can help you identify the age and origin of your axe.

4. Inspect the Handle of the Axe.

Look for signs of wear, such as chips or splinters in the wood. This can indicate a used axe and provide clues about its age. Additionally, check for repairs that have been made to the handle, which may also help you identify its origin.

How Do You Sharpen a Collins Axe?

Sharpening a Collins axe is an important part of maintaining its edge and ensuring it works properly. An axe that isn’t sharpened regularly can become dull, making it harder to use, and much less efficient. To sharpen your Collins axe, you will need the following items: a flat file or mill bastard file, a stone, oil, and a rag.

To start, you will want to use the file to sharpen the blade of your axe. Start by using light strokes with the file. Make sure not to apply too much pressure, as this can damage the blade. Work in slow and steady motions, gradually refining the edge of your axe until it is sharp.

Sharpening a Collins Axe


So, there you have it: the definitive guide to dating a Collins axe. With this information in hand, you should be able to date any Collins axe with confidence. 

Though dating a Collins axe may seem like a daunting task, following these simple tips on how to date a collins axe should help you get started on the right foot. 

With a little bit of knowledge and effort, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect partner for your next project.

You Can Check It Out To Clean Drink Dispenser Nozzle

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Enrique Howard

Hi, I am Enrique. I started my professional life as a handyman and did a lot of external and internal repair of home and office with a little bit of electric and plumbing support. I have extensive experience in tools testing such as drilling, turning, milling, and non-conventional machining like EDM. So let me help you on your journey towards becoming an enlightened DIYer with amazing tools that you can use on your project.

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