The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that the MAAS website contains a range of Indigenous Cultural Material. This includes artworks, artifacts, images and recordings of people who may have passed away, and other objects which may be culturally sensitive.
H10208 Woodchopping axe and cover, "Champion Axe" No.5, steel / wood / leather, made by Fayette R Plumb Inc., Philadelphia or St Louis, United States of America, 1933-1942, part of Tom Kirk Collection. Click to enlarge.

Axe won by Tom Kirk for woodchopping

Made c 1930s

Tom Kirk grew up at Mt Wilson, surrounded by trees and immersed in a family culture that valued and selectively exploited the forest. He worked in his father’s sawmill alongside his brothers and became a world champion axeman. With one brother, he also won wood-sawing competitions. The objects he donated to the Museum represent his participation and achievements in these entertaining contests of strength and skill. They also represent the era in which Tom grew up, before chain saws greatly reduc...

Summary

Object No.

H10208

Object Statement

Woodchopping axe and cover, "Champion Axe" No.5, steel / wood / leather, made by Fayette R Plumb Inc., Philadelphia or St Louis, United States of America, 1933-1942, part of Tom Kirk Collection

Physical Description

Woodchopping axe and cover, "Champion Axe" No.5, , steel / wood / leather, made by Fayette R Plumb Inc., Philadelphia or St Louis, United States of America, 1933-1942, part of Tom Kirk Collection

This single-blade axe has a curved wooden handle and a steel head stamped with the Plumb Champion Axe logo. The logo includes an axeman standing on a log, axe held in mid-swing as if competing in an under-hand contest, with a large wax seal behind him. The number 5 stamped on the head probably indicates that its weight is five pounds.

Marks

Under the log in the logo: PLUMB / CHAMPION AXE. On the seal in the logo: QUALITY / SEAL. Stamped into the back of the head: MADE IN / USA. Stamped into the thick edge of the head: 5.

Dimensions

Width

180 mm

Depth

790 mm

Production

Made

c 1930s

Notes

The axe was made by Fayette R Plumb Inc at Philadelphia or St Louis in the USA between 1933 and 1942.

The axe is said to have been named for Australian champion axeman Peter McLaren, who used a Plumb axe to win the world title in 1911. He visited the USA to compete and give exhibitions of his skill. Americans were so impressed that he became a representative for the Plumb company and lectured in forestry at prestigious universities and colleges. He stayed in the USA until he retired.

History

Notes

The axe was presented to Tom Kirk when he won the world championship standing chop in 1950.

Tom Kirk's grandfather, Robert Kirk, settled at Mt Wilson in the Blue Mountains of NSW in the 1870s. His son Sydney owned a sawmill near Waterfall Creek, and his sons worked with him. Sydney's seventh child was named Septimus Boyd Wilson Kirk but was known as Tom. His brother Eric, known as Peter, competed with Tom in sawing competitions. Tom lived in the Mt Wilson area for his whole life (1914-2001) and won many chopping and sawing contests between 1929 and 1963, in both Australia and the USA.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Tom Kirk, 1984

Acquisition Date

13 April 1984

Cite this Object

Harvard

Axe won by Tom Kirk for woodchopping 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 11 December 2019, <https://ma.as/231186>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/231186 |title=Axe won by Tom Kirk for woodchopping |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=11 December 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Know more about this object?

TELL US

Have a question about this object?

ASK US