by Larry Brundage

Founded in 1862 by John Weichhart, this specialty tool manufacturer was, to the best of my knowledge, in business until 1929. John Weichhart was a native of Germany and learned the locksmithing trade. In 1856,he immigrated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, working there until 1860, when he heard of a gold strike on the Trinity River near Weaverville. He moved there sometime that year.

John soon learned that placer mining was a tough job, and after a short foray at it, he moved to San Francisco and went to work for a safe manufacturer.

In 1862, he went into business as a locksmith in a basement on Kearny Street. Business was good and after a few moves, he built a sizeable shop on Beale Street. In 1876, he added a steam engine. By then, the business was a machine shop, smithy, and tool manufactory. As noted in his 1891 advertisement, Weichhart would make to-order tools, for all the trades. The ad mentions augers and chisels, and who knows what else was produced over the years.

By 1910, John's sons Henry and William were in the business and the name was J. Weichhart & Sons. The firm made a hay cutter and a nail driver -- styles and sizes are not presently known. John Weichhart was also the founder, in 1887, of the Pacific Iron Lath Co., which made fireproof lath. If any member has items or knowledge of the firm, please let us know.