Broad Axe #75.39



A heavy steel wide-bladed axe, the edge beveled on the outside while the back is flat. Used to hew flat surfaces on logs to be used in the construction of buildings or in the production of squared timber for export. The symmetrical design of the head permits it to be handled either left or right according to the needs or preferences of the user.

This specimen, in excellent condition, is stamped "E. & H. Broad, St. John, N.B." on the side of the rectangular poll. The brothers Elisha and Hewlett Broad were in business together at 6 Sydney Street, Saint John. The 1865-66 edition of Hutchinson's N. B. Directory lists E. & H. Broad, Elisha Broad and Hewlett Broad all as edge tool manufacturers at the Sydney Street address, with separate residential addresses noted for Elisha and Hewlett, the latter at 116 Union Street. This address is cited in the 1871 directory as Elisha's residence.

Elisha Broad died at Montreal, at the home of his daughter, in December, 1895. His obituary, published in the St. Croix Courier states he was born circa 1819 at Gagetown, Queens County, New Brunswick, and started an edge tool company at Saint John in 1844. He removed to Milltown, Charlotte County, N.B., in 1871, later moving his company to St. Stephen, Charlotte County. About two months prior to his death, he and his wife moved to Montreal to be with their two married daughters. His body was brought to Saint John for burial.

A listing of Canadian tool-and-die manufacturers, between 1820 and 1914, includes:

E. & J. W. Broad no address
E. & H. Broad Co. Saint John
1862 - 1871
E. Broad & Co. Milltown
1871 - 1883
E. Broad & Sons
(St. Stephen Edge Tool Co.)
St. Stephen
1883 - 1900
axes, chisels,hammers,
sledge hammers, mining picks
H. Broad & Co. Saint John
1877 - 1901

This would serve to date the axe in the collection between 1862 and 1871.

Elisha and Hewlett Broad were sons of Elisha Broad senior, and his wife Mary. Elisha Sr. died at Cambridge, Queens County, New Brunswick, 31 August, 1858. His obituary states he was a native of Holden, Massachusetts, but had lived in New Brunswick 48 years. Funeral service was held at the residence of his sons, 116 Union Street, Saint John.

The J. W. Broad, with whom Elisha was associated in 1857, was another brother, J. Willard Broad. The 1851 St. John County Census lists Elisha, age 31, brother "Josiah W.," 25, and brother Hewlett, 22, all blacksmiths.

As an interesting aside, an E. Broad, an edge tool maker, was plying his trade in Bangor, Maine, in 1855, and in 1856, a Hollis Broad was manufacturing axes in China, Maine. Whether these individuals were related to the New Brunswick family is unknown.