Maher & Grosh Cutlery Co. History

Maher & Grosh Cutlery Co. History


William H. Maher was born in 1846 in Thompsonville, Connecticut.  At the age of 20, he became president of Young Men’s Club in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.  Then a year later in 1868 he moved to Toledo, OH and worked as a clerk.  In 1870, he became a member of a firm that later was known as C. Gerber & Co., a wholesale hardware company.  He became a traveling salesman in 1874 – 1875 in Springfield Massachusetts and South Dartmouth, Massachusetts.  During this time, he became acquainted with another traveling salesman, Emil Grosh, for the company and they decided to form a business partnership in 1877.  The two formed Maher & Grosh Wholesale Cutlery Co.  Maher and Grosh used their skills they had learned from the company in the hardware industry and set out with one goal in mind ~ “Sell quality, American-made products to folks all across the world.” (From Maher &

                        William Maher

Working hard at their goal, they achieved success by creating content-specific advertisements in various magazines, journals and a yearly mail-order catalogue.  They promoted their cutlery which included items such as hacksaws, fishing equipment, straight razors and pocket knives.

 They stood out in their market with their Maher & Grosh Toledo, O. tang stamp and their ornate blade etching, which commonly displayed the company name and phrase “Razor Steel.”  Still to this day, the etching continues to be a major desire for collectors.  Because it symbolizes Maher and Grosh’s demand on bringing quality and reliable tools to their customers.

                                           Maher & Grosh pocket knife

 During this time William Maher marries Anne Kelsy Maher.  She was a school teacher in Madison, Conn., and in 1872 moves to Toledo with her husband.

 The Maher and Grosh partnership continued until 1896, when Emil Grosh decided to retire due to health issues.  William Maher managed the company until his death in 1913 in Toledo, OH.  His son-in-law, Charles T. Whinery, succeeded Maher and continued the Maher & Grosh tradition for nearly fifty years.  The company was purchased by Thomas E Stanley and moved to Clyde, OH in 1962 and continued until 1988. 

 Some other interesting facts about William Maher:

 1886 - Organizer of the Toledo Natural Gas Company

1888 - Organizer and vice-president of Union Savings Bank

1894 - Co-founded the Independent Party

 Along with these other accomplishments, William Maher also wrote several books sharing his business acumen. Two of his books are: Drum Taps, The Diary of a Commercial Traveler and On the Road to Riches: Practical hints for clerks and young business men.

                                            Drum Taps book written by William Maher

 William and Anne had a daughter Amy Grace Maher in 1883, born in Toledo, Ohio.  She has quite a list of accomplishments for herself!

1906 – Graduated from Smith College

1909 - Delegate to White House Conference on Child Welfare

1911 - Helped establish the first open-air school for tubercular children in Toledo

1916 - Founded the Toledo Consumers’ League; president until 1937

1920 - Chairman of Ohio Council on Women and Children in Industry; first chairman of Ohio League                            

            of woman voters

1921 - First president of League of Women Voters of Toledo

1938 - Appointed by President Roosevelt as technical adviser in the Social Security Board

1965 - Died in Toledo

There isn't a lot of information about the Maher & Grosh Cutlery Co. but what you do find is really very interesting!  I would love to know your thoughts about this company and the knives they made.  Do you collect these knives?  Have any pictures that you would like to share?

Please leave a comment below and make sure to read my other blog posts about Knife Collecting here! ~ Stephanie



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