It was in the Spring of 1857 that Joseph Peavey (pictured here with his hunting buddy) made the first tool to become known as the PEAVEY. With the first tool began the organization of the Peavey Manufacturing Company, which for over 160 consecutive years now has been making Peaveys and shipping them with other logging tools throughout the U.S. and many foreign countries.
The event took place in Stillwater, Maine in the heart of the booming logging industry. One day a log drive became hung up on the Stillwater Branch of the famous Penobscot River. Joseph Peavey, who invented the Peavey Hoist for pulling stumps and hoisting gates on dams, the first hay press, the first wooden screw vice, the first clapboard water wheel, unspillable inkwell, and many other things, lay flat on a bridge overhead watching the men with their improvised prys trying to free the jam. Seeing the unsteadiness of the prys and realizing they needed something different, the idea came to him that he could make a better tool.
So he jumped up, as the story goes, went back to his blacksmith shop and directed his son Daniel to make a clasp with lips, then make holes in the lips to put a bolt through on which to hang a dog (or hook) and toe rings below the clasp to the bottom of the handle. Finally, a pick was driven into the end of the handle. The tool was turned over to River Driver William Hale who pronounced it a great success.
Later, Joseph Peavey made the first PEAVEY using a solid socket, in place of toe rings, with a driven pick. The improved Patent PEAVEY - solid Socket and Pick combined, later to be called the Bangor or Rafting Peavey, was invented by James Henry Peavey, grandson of Joseph (shown at the tool shop above - circa 1873). The Bangor Edge-Tool Co. name was used for several years and eventually changed/merged back to Peavey Manufacturing Co.
The present facility of the Peavey Manufacturing Co. is located just five miles down the river from where Joseph laid flat on the bridge and invented his new tool.
Artist Charles (Carl) Eugene Tefft depicts (above) the breaking of a log jam and the perils to which these brave river drivers were ever subjected; men who faced many dangers with the PEAVEY and who had seen many an eager comrade carried to his doom in the old Penobscot’s madly swirling waters. When Mr. Tefft was selected to make this bronze and granite memorial in 1925 immortalizing legendary river driver Pat Connors and a young logger David Preble, he came to us for the tools to use as models. The Last Drive (also known as the Peirce Memorial) sits beside the main library in Bangor, Maine.
This excerpt (below) and the logo (above) comes from our 1935 catalog. It is as true today as it was when it was written.
"We again present for your inspection and assistance, our general catalog containing a complete schedule of the regular goods which we are now manufacturing.
We strive to please, and cordially invite inquiries for prices on our line of Peaveys, Cant Hooks, Handles, Axes, etc. Due to our equipment, facilities, volume of business and quality of goods, we can quote prices that will interest you.
We have been manufacturing Peaveys for a good many years. In fact, the first ever made was called a PEAVEY - named after the inventor.
Our tools are made the best we know how, for we never skimp on materials or workmanship.
We are manufacturing very extensively and are in a splendid position to take care of the rapidly increasing trade in our line. We shall endeavor to keep on hand a complete stock at all times, and our customers may rely on having their orders satisfactorily and promptly filled.
So far as possible any ordinary sized order will be shipped on day of receipt, but, in order to insure prompt shipment for both driving and woods work, orders should be placed early enough to guarantee delivery when needed."
Here we are more than 160 years later still manufacturing quality tools, handles, and dowels in the USA. We moved to Eddington Maine after the Peavey fire of 1966.
Here we make everything from poles for picnic-table umbrellas to flagpoles to unfinished dowels. We ship our products worldwide. We still sell thousands of Peaveys every year, just five miles downriver from where the legendary tool was invented. We have 35,000 square feet of indoor manufacturing space with a 10-acre yard.
Fifteen to 25 years is not an uncommon tenure for an employee. The forge shop foreman Tommy Beatham has worked at Peavey for 44 years, longer even than owner Rodney Buswell. The Buswell family is involved in every aspect of the business. His oldest son runs production, shipping, and purchasing; his youngest son oversees the sawmill and the log yard. His daughter heads up the company's safety program, and his son-in-law heads up finishing, mill production, and maintenance. There are also a dozen grandchildren involved.