Marshalltown Plant in the 1920's
------ The Standard of Quality since 1890 ------
Focusing on quality and innovation for over 120 years, Marshalltown Company has grown to become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of construction tools. MARSHALLTOWN’s tools have been the standard of quality since 1890 and are used by professionals and homeowners throughout the world for use with brick, concrete, drywall, plaster, tile, paint and wallpapering. These tools can be seen with the MARSHALLTOWN and QLT by Marshalltown labels.
It Started With Dave
Jesse Cyrus Williams (J.C.) and his younger brother, Enoch Lester (E. Lester), both started working at a very early age after their father died in 1884. J.C., born in 1870, and E. Lester, born in 1873, went to work as apprentices with Dave Lennox and Lennox Machine Company around 1885.
Dave Lennox, born in 1856, also became fatherless at an early age, when his dad died in the Civil War. Dave was a respected inventor and mechanic and moved to Marshalltown, Iowa in 1880. Some of the first people Dave met in Marshalltown were the young J.C. and E. Lester Williams when Dave left his tool bag at the barbershop run by the grandfather of the two boys.
Dave Lennox befriended both J.C. and E. Lester and the three remained lifelong friends. Before J.C. was even 20 years old he was running the plant at Lennox as the plant superintendent.
Dave made the first MARSHALLTOWN plastering trowels which were used by masons building the Marshall County Courthouse from 1884 to 1886. He kept working with the masons to create the highest quality trowel available.
Williams Brothers Start
J.C. had an entrepreneurial spirit much like Dave Lennox, and so, at the age of 20, J.C. started his own machine shop in 1890. Thus the present day Marshalltown Company was born. E. Lester became the plant superintendent at Lennox after his brother’s departure. E. Lester added his wages to help support the fledgling Williams brothers’ business. When the brothers felt more financially secure, E. Lester left Lennox and joined his brother at the Williams Brothers’ Machine Shop.
Dave Lennox had no real interest in making MARSHALLTOWN plastering trowels because it interfered with his more inventive spirit and ambitions, so he turned the trowel-making business over to J.C. and E. Lester. Dave even gave his young friends a forge, an anvil and a grinding wheel.
About 1902 the Williams brothers moved their business to its present site on South 8th Avenue in Marshalltown, Iowa. MARSHALLTOWN featured their plastering trowels in their 1904 catalog and stated, “Our object in issuing this catalogue of the tools we make, is to intelligently present to the plasterer the superior quality of our tools.” The two brothers also soon began making MARSHALLTOWN brick trowels as part of their new company, Marshalltown Trowel.
1909 Sales Campaign
Around The World
Since the days of its founders, MARSHALLTOWN has expanded their markets for their tools so that today these MARSHALLTOWN tools can be seen throughout the world. As a result of the increasing export business, in 1981 MARSHALLTOWN was presented with the E Star Award for maintaining a 15 percent or higher average in export sales and for its continuing contribution to the nation’s balance of trade.
Through the years MARSHALLTOWN’s product line and facilities have expanded greatly. In 2003 the company officially became Marshalltown Company. This name change reflected the expanded product offering of roughly 3000 different skus. MARSHALLTOWN is no longer only a “trowel” supplier. To people in the industry and to their customers, they are known for the best tools and they are known by one name - MARSHALLTOWN.
Today, MARSHALLTOWN operates two manufacturing facilities, one in Marshalltown, Iowa and another in Fayetteville, Arkansas. MARSHALLTOWN distributes its products from its highly automated Armstrong Avenue facility, also located in Arkansas.