On the left in this image of carving gouges I’ve re-handled is a tool with the imprint “C. Maiers”. The metal shank is short and it had an equally short handle making it difficult to control. Adding a longer than normal handle recreates something close to the original length making it easier to grasp. About a #4 sweep and with a fishtail cutting edge, it’s the perfect tool for creating serifs when carving Roman letters.
I have at least a half a dozen gouges by C. Maiers. They are all relatively short and delicate and have no bolsters. I have not seen a large gouge or a gouge made with a bolster marked by C. Maiers though I assume they might exist.
The gouges I own and have run across elsewhere are for the most part fishtails, shortbents and small veining gouges.
The shanks are square and have prominent hand file marks, similar to the appearance of tools produced by Addis Senior and Junior and others in the middle of the 19th century. The only information on a C. Maier, a carving tool maker who may have made these tools, is from a 1928 catalogue labeled C. Maier & Sons, Newark, New Jersey, Established 1884. Is this the company that made these gouges and are they no earlier than 1884? Do tools marked C. Maier & Sons exist? Did C. Maier make tools before his sons entered the business marking his tools with only his name? I have never seen a tool with the imprint “C. Maiers & Sons. I’d love to hear if anyone has researched these firm/firms and has information that could add to the historical record concerning this carving tool manufacturer in Newark and the surviving marked tools.
It appears that C. Maiers used at least two sizes of stamps to imprint the tools.
By the 1880’s Ward & Payne, makers of the Addis line of carving gouges, were producing tools with rounded shanks. Hand file marks for the most part were ground and polished out of the shanks of tools from the large manufacturers. The backs of larger gouges did show grinding scratches from the large, poweredgrinding wheels used to shape them. In contrast, the C. Maier gouges appear more like a hand-made object, the kind of gouge you might make for yourself from a square steel bar in a small forge. Were tools like this still being made in the 1920’s in large enough numbers to be sold through a catalogue?