William Burke Belknap assisted his father with the startup of an iron furnace in Tennessee about 1828. William established a general merchandise business in 1830 at age 19. This was wiped out in the panic of 1837. He began making nails and horseshoes in 1840 and bought part interest in a rolling mill owned by Minor Redd in 1847. His brother, Morris Lake Belknap was his partner along with T C & John Coleman. The original product was iron bars but they soon began manufacturing hardware. This was the beginning of a hardware company that would last until 1986.
The prominent hardware companies of the day carried huge selections sold through large catalogs. The products often carried a variety of store brands. Belknap trademarks included John Primble, Pine Knot, Cyclone, Crusader, Belmont, Blue Ribbon, Pride of Kentucky, and Jas W Price. Pocket knives were an important product line for the company.
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