of Snow & Nealley
city of Bangor was a hub of Maine's thriving logging
and shipbuilding industries. Charles Snow and Edward
Bowdoin Nealley saw a growing demand for durable, high
quality tools. They opened a shipping chandlery in
1864, and thus Snow & Nealley was born. With
Edward Nealley managing operations, the company
quickly became very successful. During Edward's
33-year tenure, Snow & Nealley introduced the
popular axes and mauls that would become the
cornerstone of the Snow & Nealley brand.
Pope Nealley, Edward's son, succeeded his father as
president in 1897, and recognized that while the
advent of steam had eliminated the shipping industry's
need for chandler's skills, the logging industry still
thrived upriver from Bangor. With the Bangor &
Aroostook Railroad and the North American Railway
opening vast forests for development, steel tools were
needed everywhere in Maine.
young Nealley eventually bought out Snow, and the
company prospered under William's guidance. The
growing middle class that emerged after World War I
created a demand for tools to use around the farm and
at home. Snow & Nealley responded by introducing
new axe models for home use. In 1920, William
discussed the possibility of marketing Snow &
Nealley's products through a catalog owned by a
southern Mainer named Leon L. Bean. The collaboration
between Snow & Nealley and L. L. Bean endured
William died in 1933 shortly after the Great
Depression gripped Maine, his son Edward Bowdoin
Nealley II took over as corporate president of Snow
& Nealley. Edward ran the company for the next 23
years, managing it successfully through the Great
Depression, World War II and Korea.
1956, Edward's son, William "Bill" Bowdoin
Nealley was named the company's fourth president.
During the next 25 years, Bill managed
the company through various challenges including a
fire that leveled the Snow & Nealley factory in
the late 1950's. When Bill died in 1984, his wife Lois
Nealley became president and encouraged the
development of a line of Snow & Nealley garden
tools, which today comprised more than 70% of the
company's business into the turn of the 21st century.
avid gardener, Lois drew on her enjoyment and intimate
knowledge of the hobby to influence the design of Snow
& Nealley's garden tools, testing every new
prototype in her own garden. Ergonomically designed
handles and special long handles for older gardeners
or those who may be confined to wheelchairs were among
the successful concepts Lois introduced.
Foundry In Action
All tools are forged in brick furnaces, sharpened by
hand on stone grinding wheels, and carefully
innovations, coupled with transitions in Maine's
economy in the 1980's, marked the shift to garden
tools as Snow & Nealley's primary product line.
Unfortunately, in the
global economy that American companies are now forced
to compete against, the playing field is not level and
the cost of manufacturing tools here has become cost
prohibitive. (Read more
about this topic by clicking here) The garden tool line was discontinued on February 2, 2004.
The company will focus their efforts on continuing to produce axes.
For years, the
Victory Seed Company was proud to offer these quality
Snow & Nealley tools to our gardening friends.
When we got word they were being discontinued, we
purchased a stockpile of them.
Unfortunately, they are no longer being produced and as of
December of 2006, we have sold the last of our stock. Click here for the
Check here for awesome, individually handmade tools.