THE PEAVEY MANUFACTURING COMPANY
The Origin and Makers of Logging Tools
Peavey Lost the Patent but Won Immortality
It was in the Spring of 1857 that Joseph Peavey made the first tool to become known as the Peavey. With the first tool began the organization of the Peavey Manufacturing Company which for over 100 consecutive years now has been making Peaveys and shipping them with other logging tools throughout the U.S. and many foreign countries.
The event took place in Stillwater, Maine near Bangor, in the heart of a booming logging industry. One day a log drive became hung up on the Stillwater Branch of the famous Penobscot River. Joseph Peavey who invented the Peavey Hoist for pulling stumps and hoisting gates on dams, the the first hay press, the first wooden screw vice, the clapboard machine, shingle machine undershod water wheel, unspillable inkwell, and many other things, lay flat on a bridge overhead watching the men with their improvised prys trying to free the jam. Seeing the unsteadiness of the prys and realizing they needed something different, the idea came to him that he could make a better tool.
So he jumped up, as the story goes, went back to his blacksmith shop and directed his son Daniel to make a clasp with lips, then make holes in the lips to put a bolt through on which to hang a dog (or hook) and toe rings below the clasp to the bottom of the handle. Finally, a pick was driven up into the end of the handle. The tool was turned over to river Driver William Hale who pronounced it a great success.
Peavey assuming that fame and fortune were soon to follow, drew a model of his invention and set out on foot for the Bangor post office, patent application in hand. Along the way he stopped in Orono to visit another blacksmith. The pair had a drink together, then another and another. In that chummy atmosphere Peavey revealed his plans for the cant-dog.
When he awoke in the morning, somewhat hung over, he discovered that his drawings and an application for a "Patent Cant-dog" were on their way to Washington, submitted by the Orono blacksmith. Although the Peavey bar was not patented under the Peavey name, his name was immortalized. The Peavey family manufactured the Peavey bars most widely used, and the Peavey bar became the generic term applied to all cant-dogs.
For many years the family factory in Brewer sported a ten-foot sign above the door with just two letters, on each end: PV The Peavey headstone in the Bangor cemetery bears a large letter P crossed by two carved Peaveys.
Later, Joseph Peavey made the first "PEAVEY" using a solid socket, in place of the toe rings, with a driven pick. The improved Patent Peavey, solid Socket and Pick combined, later to be called the Bangor or Rafting Peavey, was invented by James Henry Peavey, grandson of Joseph.
The Present facility of the Peavey Manufacturing Co. is located just five miles down the river from where this historic event took place.
The Log Drive Poem - Author Unknown
Transcribed for PV New England by Joan Carlson
Present Day PV Manufacturing Co.
Joseph Peavey Descendancy