Frank Washburn Buffum, born July 1, 1859 in Monroe, Wisconsin, came to Louisiana with his family in 1873. He worked along side his father in the lumbering business. In 1901 he organized the Buffum Telephone Company. He had this company until he sold it to Southwestern Bell in 1906. Later he founded the Buffum Tool Company of Louisiana Mo. Frank married Margaret Smith March 8, 1893. She died March 15, 1895 after the birth of twins. He then married Harriet Melton Davis and they had: Louise Washburn, March 12, 1900 (married George Frank Ruth); and Frank Gustavus, April 18, 1902 (married Virginia Wells of New Hartford Mo.). Frank Gustavus and Virginia had Frank Gustavus Jr. and John. Frank Washburn Buffum died November 12, 1922.
Buffum Tool Co., 198 North 4th Street, Louisiana, Missouri, made tools for the bricklayer, cement worker, plasterer, and stone mason, as well as many other forged steel and cast iron products.
By 1914, The Iron Age Directory listed Buffum Tool Co. in 29 categories. At a 1917 trade show, Buffum Tool Co. exhibited over 500 tools. Besides the above named tools, their products included tools for the machinist, mechanic, engineer, blacksmith, plumber, tinsmith, and gardener. They also made household items, a small printing press, animal traps, and wagon jacks. During World War I, Buffum made bayonets and airplane parts.
Besides being a prolific manufacturer and energetic businessman, Frank Buffum was an inventor and held several US patents in his name. His tools have a reputation for good quality, and Buffum proudly identified them with the company name, city, and state. His distinctive trademark was a swastika with right facing arms, considered a good luck charm at that time. Buffum advertised frequently in trade publications and sold by direct mail.
Advertising for Buffum Tools:
Advertising Items: Ink Blotter & a Watch Fob