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Old 04-30-2012, 12:08 AM   #1
Lump
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Default Lump's Blue Grass tools...

A week ago Friday, I went to a bunch of yard sales with my wife. It was a community-wide event, in a small but nice neighborhood here in Greene County, Ohio. NEARLY every yard sale in the area was packed with Avon, baby clothes, dishes, etc, etc, etc. Yawn.

Yet I did make some impressive hits at just couple of houses, which made the trip worthwhile.

But THIS post is about Blue Grass brand tools. I merely mentioned the yard sale day, because that was when I found a nice set of Blue Grass sockets and drive tools in their original box. (NOTE: If you don't care for Blue Grass tools, which today are collectors' items, you may not want to read this post. Cheers!)

So following are some photos of my meager collection of Blue Grass brand tools. (GJ member Highland has asked for first shot at them.)

On one table full of garden tools and misc stuff, there sat one NICE set of tools in a box. The name on the lid: BLUE GRASS.


But, as always....what would I find when I looked inside????
And then, there they were. ALL of the original Blue Grass branded sockets, ratchet, breaker bar, extensions, universal. NOTHING MISSING!


Everything seems to be in great shape. However, the label is peeling off of the lid, slowly.


Yep, the brand names are clearly stamped on every single tool.




So, what did I do with these new Blue Grass tools? I carried 'em home and added them to my tiny little collection of other Blue Grass tools which I have slowly gathered over many years. (Around my area, they just aren't that easy to find.)

Below is an older Blue Grass tool box. It's about 20 inches long. Someone painted flat black over the original blue paint.


The stamped aluminum name tag on the lid makes it clear that this box was built before zip codes came into use.


The following photo makes it clear that the box needs restored and painted. And inside are just about all of the other Blue Grass brand tools I ever found.


Following are some photos of the tools from inside the box, so you can see them more clearly.

A couple of those sockets are 3/4" drive. Cool, eh?





So that's it, for Lump's entire collection of Blue Grass brand tools. Hope you enjoyed them.
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Old 04-30-2012, 12:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

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Hope you enjoyed them.
I did. Thanks for posting!
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Old 04-30-2012, 12:39 AM   #3
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

Jim, I have seen this brand here and there. I never gave it much thought.

Dan

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Old 04-30-2012, 01:33 AM   #4
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

Never seen nor heard of them! Is that a local store brand? The socket set looks Thorsen to me, and at least some of those wrenches look like Barcalo.
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Old 04-30-2012, 01:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

I have sold a few of them to local flea market dealers. Around here these are highly collectible.

Nice set Lump.
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

Very cool score on the complete socket set! My dad has several Blue Grass tools. A few hammers, a chalk line and a some other carpentry type tools. He bought his back in the 70's at the local hardware store. I remember seeing all the new ones hanging on the walls there when I went with him as a kid. They were well made tools. You find them occassionally around here in southern IN.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:51 AM   #7
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

A name from the past, for sure. Belknap was an old-time hardware wholesale distributor. I think they went under in the 1980s.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

There's more info & a picture of a Wright-sourced socket set here.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

Very cool find, Lump! As usual, your posts are good reading. You do find the neatest stuff.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:24 AM   #10
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

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Never seen nor heard of them! Is that a local store brand? The socket set looks Thorsen to me, and at least some of those wrenches look like Barcalo.

As others have said, BlueGrass Tools were the "house brand" for a large hardware store chain which was based in Louisville, KY. They were obviously made for them by other mfrs, but are well respected by many tool collectors. Indeed, tool collectors in Kentucky are avidly interested in these tools, generally speaking.

Or at least, I have been asked many times if I had any of them, whenever I was buying or trading vintage tools during my trips through that state.

Cheers!!
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:29 AM   #11
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

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Jim, I have seen this brand here and there. I never gave it much thought.

Dan

...Oh Jim check your mail in the next couple of days


Ok, Dan. Ummm...by the way...when you say "mail," are we talking email, postal mail, or PM on Garage Journal?

Geez, these days there is so much info, flowing so fast, to so many of us, from so many sources, through so many different mediums...that I am SO confused!!
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:30 AM   #12
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

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Very cool find, Lump! As usual, your posts are good reading. You do find the neatest stuff.


Thanks, Lowbuck. I appreciate that.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:50 AM   #13
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

Very nice tools, I can tell you a few good stories about Bluegrass tools but maybe when we all get together one day!
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:57 AM   #14
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

I also don't recall seeing Bluegrass tools before , but since they were a Kentucky phemnom, not that surprising...

Do they have rhythm?
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Old 04-30-2012, 12:48 PM   #15
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

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I also don't recall seeing Bluegrass tools before , but since they were a Kentucky phemnom, not that surprising...

Do they have rhythm?

Yep, and to prevent rust you apply moonshine liberally...to the tools AND the operator!
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Old 04-30-2012, 01:31 PM   #16
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

I see Bluegrass tools from time to time here in Tennessee. I've always thought they looked interesting, but I really don't need another brand to collect. Wizard is another one of those brands. They look cool, but I'm too busy looking for Plomb tools.

That socket set looks a lot like some of the later Thorsen tools I've seen around.
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Old 04-30-2012, 01:45 PM   #17
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

Snail mail
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:12 PM   #18
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

Those sure appear to be Thorsen tools. The ratchet is a dead giveaway. The sockets also have the familiar font/style stamped on Thorsen sockets.

The only Bluegrass tool I've come across was a 3/8" drive ratchet that was made by Wright. It had the distinctive Tootsie Roll grip.

I don't think the hardware chain that sold Bluegrass was ever in my area of the country, which would explain why they're rare.




EDIT-

A little googling turned up a pic of the matching Thorsen ratchet.

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File Type: jpg Thorsen ratchet.JPG (54.1 KB, 219 views)

Last edited by stephen9666; 04-30-2012 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:40 PM   #19
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

I should have mentioned that hardware chain's name. It was BELKNAP, and they sold their products at wholesale to lots of other stores of every type. Belknap was the last name of the man who founded the company in 1840. There is also an upscale urban neighborhood of Louisville named Belknap, after the same guy. Belknap was a big name, at one time, and BlueGrass was their brand name for handtools, pocket knives, and lots other items.

Here is a passage from an Amazon listing for a book on the company history, which shows several basic facts about the Belknap company:

"When Belknap celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1940, it had grown to a complex of 37 buildings, covering 37 acres of floor space under one roof. It had underground passageways and covered bridges. Belknap Hardware and Manufacturing was among the nation's largest wholesale enterprises with nationally recognized quality brands."
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:42 PM   #20
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

Stephen,
You're right; it looks like a dead ringer. I think I have LOTS of Thorsen rats at home. If I get time tonite, I'll try to put one side-by-side with the bluegrass unit, and snap a photo.
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:24 PM   #21
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

Thanks for sharing the BlueGrass tools.

I have relatives that still run an old style hardware store and I remember they got a lot of their inventory from Belknap back in the day. I am sure there are still some Bluegrass tools lurking under the dust in some corner of the store. I just may have to go digging around.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:11 PM   #22
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

I found some blue-grass today. The wrench came from a pawn shop and the drill bit was in some boxes of leftovers at an auction. The 3/8 breaker was purchased from a member here.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:27 PM   #23
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

Nice tools Lump. Especially that toolbox. Those thorsen sourced tools were the last generation before they went under. I have found several BG tools here in KY. A toolbox, screwdrivers, hammer, trowel, drill bits, sockets and breaker bar, etc. If i can get a pic up later, i will.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:32 PM   #24
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

My stepfather has a bunch of bluegrass ratchets, wrenches, and sockets. I asked him where he got them. He said his company (agribusiness / bin & irrigation service) bought them from an industrial supply company and that they stocked quantities of everything in their parts room. The dollar signs lit up in my eyes thinking about new old stock! Unfortunately this was many years ago and they'd exhausted the stock.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:37 PM   #25
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

one of the mom-and-pop hardware stores here still stocks new generic brand bits in a bluegrass drill bit display case.

they wouldnt sell it; i tried.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:57 PM   #26
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

Lump, as I said above, they were one of the last old-time hardware distributors. Gone before I was born! I've never seen any of their tools, just heard of the company from my working in hardware stores.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:07 PM   #27
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

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Lump, as I said above, they were one of the last old-time hardware distributors. Gone before I was born! I've never seen any of their tools, just heard of the company from my working in hardware stores.

Thanks, Jeff. And thanks to all the rest of my GJ tool-hound buddies. I love it here.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:14 PM   #28
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

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Yep, and to prevent rust you apply moonshine liberally...to the tools AND the operator!
'shine doesn't really prevent rust, but it sure does get you lubricated!

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Old 05-01-2012, 03:44 PM   #29
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

I found a Blue grass #2 hand plane once, got $800 for it!
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:51 PM   #30
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Default Re: Lump's Blue Grass tools...

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I found a Blue grass #2 hand plane once, got $800 for it!


WOW, you're my hero!

And with a username which features the word, "Camaro," you're alright in my book!
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