Who’s Who - A History of Drywall Tools
The use of drywall has been around a long time - with both commercial and residential properties making use of it. It's highly convenient, cost-effective and is an excellent way for homeowners to achieve their home dreams. But have you ever wondered how drywall tools came about?
To learn more about the history of drywall tools, keep reading!
For the best quality drywall tools, browse Amaroc for a wide selection of every drywall tool you need. Visit us today!
Automatic taping tools history
Ames Brothers, Ames Taping Tools, Tape Tech Tools & Axia Incorporated
In 1939, brothers Robert and Stan Ames started experimenting with new ways of finishing a drywall in Georgia. They were painters and plasterers who came up with the Corner Shoe, the first of a long line of drywall tools.
The Corner Shoe applied joint compound to seams using air pressure and a long hose. After years of trialling, the Ames brothers came up with the precursor of today's Bazooka (automatic taper) in 1945. This first taper was battery-powered and weighed more than 100 pounds when fully loaded.
In 1951 the Ames brothers introduced the first drywall boxes and nail spotters, following up with the automatic taper in 1954. After more than 20 years, & in theSeptember of 1962, the Ames brothers sold their company, Belmont Manufacturing of San Carlos, California (and its patents1) for $5.2 million to Bliss and Laughlin Industries from Illinois.
Renamed Axia Incorporated in 1982, the group was acquired through a leveraged buyout by affiliates of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., certain members of senior management, and other investors in October 1984
Around the same time, Tape Tech Tools had been operating from Redmond, Washington. In 1982 TapeTech they joined with Axia & alongside, Ames Taping Tools, became wholly owned subsidiaries of Axia.
Ames Taping Tools were primarily involved in the rental and servicing of drywall tools. Tape Tech markets and sells the Ames drywall tools in a golden colour.
It hasn’t all been rosy though, with Ames filing for bankruptcy in December 2009 & gaining Chapter 11 protection after incurring debts of $161 million. In July 2010, they were converting to Chapter 7 liquidation but have since re-surfaced and are still renting and selling tools from their headquarters in Duluth, Georgia.
Tapeworm Automatic Taper by Murco Wall Products was the first brand of automatic taper available for purchase in 1977. With stores in Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Tennessee, Alabama, and California they still market their silver-coloured Tapeworm Tools.
Columbia Taping Tools started in 1979 when Bernie St. James was involved in Nanaimo Tools then called Tornado Tools.
Bernie made tools out of his garage on Vancouver Island at Columbia Beach (near Parksville) and changed the name to Columbia Taping Tools. Remaining a family run business, based out of Surrey, B.C in the States, they make some of the best tools in the drywall business. Columbia also produces a wide variety of drywall tools for Marshalltown and, more recently, a taper for Wall Tools.
Larry D'Souza founded Tapemaster Tools in 1980. He later formed Drywall Master in 2000.
These days, the company is run by son Sunil D'Souza and Robert “Johnny” Payne (who started with the Ames Brothers!). Drywall Master is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois and continues to produce quality tools.
Concorde Taping Tools (Concorde Tools Corp.)
Originally owned by Donald Mark MacMillan, an inventor and former drywall finisher and Raymond Bernier, LFD Industries purchased Concorde in June 1990, keeping Macmillan on as a consultant.
7 years later Macmillan left Concorde and formed Northstar. Concorde sold the patents on their red tools to Ames in 1999.
The first Northstar tool Mark Macmillan built was the AdjuStar extendable flat box handle, acknowledged to be the “state of the art” in adjustable handles. In 2007, Northstar affiliated with ToolPro, although their tools are no longer being made.
Drywall Tools Inc.
Operating out of San Carlos, California, Drywall Tools was started by many of the inventors of the original drywall tools at Ames, and later became Premier Taping Tools - started by Robert Ames, Stan Ames and Carl Raff in 1974. Their products were famously metallic green in colour before they developed what became known as the “Blue Tools”. The company was acquired by Axia and then shut down and the Premier tools became the basis of the TapePro and BlueLine tools.
Belmont Taping Tools
Owned and operated by Carl F. Raff in Belmont, California. Carl worked with Bob and Stan Ames as a principal developer of both the original Ames Taping Tools and the Premier Drywall Tools. The tools Belmont manufactured were a light purple.
TapePro Drywall Tools
Stewart Orchard started this company in Australia in 2001. Stewart is the son of Graeme Orchard, owner of Wallboard Tools in Australia, having worked for some time at Premier Taping Tools
Blue Line Drywall Tools
Blue Line Drywall Tools was launched in 2002 with some of the key people from Premier Taping Tools. TapePro Drywall Tools is part owner of Blue Line. The company is based in Stockton, California.
Goldblatt Tool Company
Started in 1885 by Henry Goldblatt, they primarily developed cement trowels. It ended up in the hands of Axia Incorporated, and in 1992, it was purchased by Stanley Works. FinishPro Tools of Lenexa, Kansas purchased the Goldblatt name in 2006. In 2010, Goldblatt Tool Company was sold to Hong Kong interests and renamed Goldblatt Industries. Goldblatt continues to operate in Kansas and Shanghai, China. They have a line of bright red coloured automatic taping tools.
And now you Know Who’s Who in the Drywall tool marketplace!
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Visit our website for a complete list of the drywall tools you need for your next home project. If you have any questions about which tools you need, call us for more information!