Simmons,  Shapleigh, & Wm Enders Oak Leaf Anvils



Simmons & Shapleigh out of St. Louis Missouri  re-sold a variety of anvils with a number of different trademarks.


  • Black Jack 
  • Keen Kutter / Keen Cutter 
  • Wm Enders Oak Leaf
  • Vulcan
  • Eagle


History of

Simmons & Shapleigh


The Shapleigh and Simmons Hardware companies started as separate entities and rivals both based out St. Louis that eventually joined together in 1940.  While business rivals both companies did very well and both Simmons and Shapleigh had a lasting personal friendship that included the families of both men. [5]

Each company  had a variety of brands/trademarks used and 3rd party anvils sold throughout their histories making for a confusing history to understand.

To provide clarity I’ve listed the individual companies timelines side by side and then combined them in 1940 when they joined together. 

There will also be special attention paid to Col. William Enders (June 27th 1851-June 5th 1930 [9])  who, while working for Simmons, developed the Wm Enders Oak Leaf brand.

Anvil Brands: Black Prince

Shapleigh Hardware


Augustus F. Shapleigh opened a branch of the Rodger Brothers & Company of Philadelphia, PA in St. Louis MO known as Rodger, Shapleigh & Company. The company was very successful with inventor in excess of $20,000.


Company is reorganized as Shapleigh, Day and Company due to the death of senior partner Mr. Rodger dies.


First Shapleigh catalog published.


Thomas D. Day retires and company is rebranded A.F. Shapleigh and Co.


Diamond Edge trademark adopted. “Diamond Edge is a Quality Pledge” slogan eventually adopted in 1909.

1871 – 1875 

William Enders worked as a salesman for A.F. Shapleigh & Co. [6]


Company is branded A.F. Shaleigh and Cantwell Hardware Company.  Publishes first general catalog featuring over 200 items.


Cantwell retires and company is rebranded A.F. Shapleigh’s again. 


Augustus Shaleigh retires.


Company renamed again to Norvell-Shapleigh Hardware Company with Saunders Norvell as it’s president for the next 10 years.

In addition to its famous Diamond Edge, other recognizable “house” brands marketed by Shapleigh were Mound City, Norleigh Diamond, Diamond Brand, Jersey, Panama, Ice Diamond, Bluebelle, Sageware, Black Jack, Red Raven, King Nitro, Sahara, Black Prince, Blue Diamond, Rugby, Triumph, Defiance, Black Wonder, Double Diamonds, Mascot, Bull Dog, Ozark, Columbia, Longwear, Mizzou and Bridges.


Company changes it’s name again back to Shapleigh Hardware Company.


Anvil Brands: Keen Kutter, Wm Enders Oak Leaf, Black Jack

Simmons Hardware

Around 1868

Edward Campbell Simmons operated as a hardware merchant.


E.C. Simmons completes a prototype axe with an ulta-thin blade for soft woods and labels it Keen Kutter. By 1880 this would be the branding for all top of the line Simmons Hardware products.

About 1870

E.C. Simmons & Shapleigh together started using Keen Kutter brand name for products.  Oak Leaf was used on lower-cost product versions. 

1906 Jan 3rd

William Enders elected Secretary of the board for Simmons Hardware Company.  It is noted that Enders had been with Simmons for many years. [10]


Advertisement for Simmons showing Black Jack Anvils, Eagle, & Vulcan anvils.

1912 – Launch of the Wm Enders Oak Leaf brand.

Oak Leaf advertisement from 1912

1912 Simmons’ Manual Training Blue Book

1924 – Photo & associated description of Col. William Enders- Vice President, The Simmons Hardware Co. from Forty Years of Hardware by Saunders Norvell

Out of the past looms the handsome figure of Colonel William Enders of the Simmons Hardware Company. I can remember when I was a boy and our family attended Dr. Rutherford’s Presbyterian Church on Eleventh Street in St. Louis that Billy Enders used to be there to walk home with some of the belles of St. Louis. He was one of the handsomest young men I ever saw. It is needless to say how popular he was
with the belles of that day. However, he has lived and is still living at The St. Louis Club as a bachelor.
Colonel Enders for many years traveled in Texas with headquarters at Dallas. Afterward he was brought home and made a sales manager for the State
of Texas. There is not a hardware man who has ever lived who knew more hardware men in Texas or who knew more about the trade of Texas than Billy Enders. In St. Louis our desks were near each other and whenever a Texan came to St. Louis, he always made a bee-line for the Colonel’s desk.

How the Texas salesmen loved and still love their sales manager ! It was not necessary for him to ever wield the Big Stick. He ruled some twenty -five sales men just by the power of affection. His word to them was absolute law. When he called for certain results, these salesmen got the results or left their bodies on the field of battle ! In the management of the Simmons Hardware Company, the State of Texas was just left to Enders. When we had conferences, he spoke for Texas.

Then in business and outside of business, there is no more perfect gentleman than this same William Enders. I never knew him to do or to say a mean, un
charitable or unkind thing of any one. Sometimes when a situation would become a little tense, he would straighten everybody out with some smiling remark and a twinkle of the eye.

The Colonel is a great sales manager. He has held the affection of his customers and his salesmen for more than one generation. If I should analyze the Colonel after all these many years, I should say that if any problem comes up, he decides it, not with his head but with his heart and as his heart is big and true, his decisions are almost always absolutely right.

1930 – June 5th 11:15 p.m.

Col. William Enders dies at age 79 of heat disease at the Gatesworth Hotel where he resided.  Survived by his widow Mrs. Ann H.  Enders and a sister, Mrs. Davie Saunders.  Buried in Valhalla Cemetery.

Born in Paducah KY. to Delia and Henry Enders.  He entered the employ of the hardware company as a young man, being transferred first to Dallas, TX and then in 1900 to St. Louis. [7][8]


Keen Kutter Ad 1939  Simmons seems to have been selling Vulcan anvils by 1939.


Simmons Hardware enters bankruptcy and is bought by Shapleigh Hardware including entire stock. 

Trademarks Keen Kutter joins list of Shapleigh brands. 


Shapleigh is sold to Curtis Mfg. Co. though continues to operate under it’s own brand until the early 1960s. 


  1. Vintage Machinery
  2. Shapleigh Hardware Company – Shapleigh Family Association
  3. Keen Kutter Ad 1939
  4. E.C. Simmons Keen Kutter : Catalogue No. 776 : Simmons’ Manual Training Blue Book
  5. Brief History of The Shapleigh Hardware Company – From the Archives of The Winchester * Keen Kutter* Diamond Edge Chronicles Volume 1, Number 3 & 4, March 1997 The Official Publication of The Hardware Companies Kollectors Klub 
  6. Old Tool Archives Discussion captured on Swingley
  7. St. Louis Post Dispatch – Friday June 06, 1930
  8. The St. Louis Star and Times Monday, June 09, 1930
  9. William Enders Grave 
  10. St. Louis Globe-Democrat Thursday Jan 04 1906

List of

Wm Enders Oak Leaf


ID Date Notes Images
Conal Gallagher

Oak Leaf

1912-1930 Found on Facebook
Todd Hoffman Oak Leaf 1912-1930 Found on Facebook

List of

Black Jack


ID Date Notes Images
Anthony Williamson Black Jack

Found on Facebook

Hay Budden