What's new
What's new

Any S.W. Card Collectors here?


Hot Rolled
Jan 28, 2008
emporium pa
Anyone here have an affection for S.W Card tools? I've run across some cool old tap and die tools from years gone by. The hand taps have a long taper to them that you don't see much anymore. Some are stamped R.W. Card, some S.W. Card and one just Card. Also have a tap handle No.3 and a die handle No.3A. They look the same in having interchangeable 2 piece inserted jaws or dies. I'm looking to identify sizes by their numbers and perhaps find some dies to fit my handle. The tap handle gets used often and works well. A little google work said Union Tool bought them out in 1908 but continued their line until 1960's. Thanks
I have quite a few taps and dies from Card, including at least one set of smaller taps and dies up to # 10 or so in a wood box.

I may have some holders from Card as well, I don't recall. I'm not a collector, I will use the tools I have. The Card taps and dies are first rate. I'd bet many of what I have are so-called "carbon steel", i.e. not HSS or other alloy steel. That's never stopped them threading just fiine if I use them, despite what the hobby sites say.

I do generally use current tooling, but the Card stuff works well, despite being quite old.
It's not "wrong" to admire precision tools. If you decide to collect Card Taps, you'll be in good company.

I'm reminded of the autobiography of famed British engineer James Nasmyth, (1808-1890) who got his start with the great Henry Maudslay (1771-1831)

"The greatest treat of all was in store for me. He [Maudslay] showed me his exquisite collection of taps and dies and screw-tackle, which he had made with the utmost care for his own service. They rested in a succession of drawers near to the bench where he worked. There was a place for every one, and every one was in its place. There was a look of tidiness about the collection which was very characteristic of the man."

Maudslay's collection survives in a museum.

So, start thinking about how you are going to store and display your Card taps...

John Ruth
"Of threads, and threading systems, there is no end".
I have a small set of taps and dies that was given to my father years ago by an older family friend .
I didn't remember what kind they were so I took a look and noticed they were Card or at least the box and the die handle are.
I didn't get my magnifying glass out to check all the taps.
One of the dies was missing as long as I can remeber.
It says Card division of Union Twist Drill so they must be post 1908 .
If they were sold in Canada they may have come through a Butterfield dealer since Butterfield was also a division of Union Twist Drill .
Butterfield / Union Twist Drill had a plant that straddled the Quebec Vermont boarder at Rock Island Quebec and Derby Line Vermont.
There are other posts about this plant in older threads on this forum .


  • IMG_2307.JPG
    875.7 KB · Views: 20
  • IMG_2309.JPG
    938 KB · Views: 24
  • IMG_2310.JPG
    854 KB · Views: 19
  • IMG_2311.JPG
    957.5 KB · Views: 19
I'm probably not going to collect/display these old threading tools the way Mr. Maudslay did his. I'm more like Jim and JST, I'll use them when I get a opportunity to, then wipe 'em off and put 'em away. The tap handle gets used often, holds up to 5/8" The die handle is new to me and only has 3/8-16 set of dies. The other two are not a matching set. The early Card dies are a bit different than the ones like Jim's set and even different than the two piece GTD's we see today. From a late 1800's catalog they were called screw plates. I'll be on the look out for a few more sizes of those. Interesting the 5/8's tap is a 12 TPI instead of 11. The taps on the right need a bigger handle. So far that's my Card collection.
spaeth DSCN4346.JPG
Just for giggles, May I suggest making a careful inventory of your Card tap & die sets and post here what pieces are needed to fill out the set as 100% Card?

It's not uncommon to encounter "odds & ends" - perhaps someone here can help fill those empty or mis-filled spaces in those handsome antique wooden boxes.

Flea Markets, Old Engine and Equipment Meets, Yard Sales, Estate Sales, etc. They are out there; the harder you look, the luckier you'll get!

John R.
I sort of am, I have dozens of neat and unusual T & D sets, a lot of them by Card. I also have a friend who is one of the very few serious collectors of these and their history.
This post got me thinking about my taps and dies. I was curious to see how many S W Card taps I had and what other makers. Of course, this isn't a scientific survey, just what I've picked up over the last 25 years. There are more different makers than I was expecting, and Card seems to be one of the most common.
I've come by most of these from buying a box of tooling or an old guy just happy to see someone have an interest in them and gives me more tooling when I've bought a machine tool. An example would be I bought an old Kennedy toolbox and paid a little more for all the contents.
None of these have been in a case. They were all loose taps. You can also see a progression in the logos over the years in some brands, SW Card being a good example. I'm guessing early taps have S. W. Card within a box and later taps just say "CARD".

I'm showing just 1/4" and 1/2" taps. Some are broken, good for grinding into bottoming taps, some are rusty and worn, I just hang on to them all. If anyone does need a size to fill out a set, let me know.

The 1/4" taps have 20, 24, 26, 28, 30, and 32 tpi.
There were maybe a dozen of each size with no mark or were too hard to read.
The makers are:
John Bath, Butterfield, UB, Bay State, J M Carpenter, S. W. Card, Morse, Wells,
GTD Greenfield, Wiley & Russel, P&W, R&T co., Vermont, Ace, HY-PRO, Sossner, E.F. Reece co., R&P, Threadwell, Bendix Besly, R&N, and Hanson.

The 1/2" taps have 12, 13, 14, and 20 tpi.
The makers are:
John Bath, Butterfield, UB, Bay State, J M Carpenter, S. W. Card, Morse, Wells, and GTD Greenfield.

I know, someone's going to say I should have the taps separated so they aren't clanking around on each other. I'm just too lazy to separate each one. :nono:
taps.jpgquarter inch taps2.jpgquarter inch taps1.jpghalf inch taps.jpg
Here is a link to an article from 1945 about the history of American Tap & Die makers from 1867 to 1940.
Having lived in Franklin, MA for 30yrs I acquired quite a few taps from a good many of the manufacturers on that list. Still have some left along with several of the old wooden boxes new taps came in. Wrentham was the next town over so I am very familiar with Winter Brothers. They made tap handles and die holders too. I have one of those metal Card reference charts stashed away here somewhere, it came from the long closed Franklin Machine Shop. North Attleboro Tap & Drill formerly of Orne St. N. Attleboro was another at least locally popular maker. I got their BPort and Hendey lathe when Sheboygan Tool bought them out.
Nice to see a group of folks preserving the industrial arts and tools used years ago. If anyone has extra dies that fit my 3A handle I'd be glad to beg, buy or barter for them. These are the 2 piece rectangle ones that preceded the round split type. There's a pic at post #5 of that handle. It is not shown in the No. 34 book from the 30's. I have some Wiley Russell, Derby Line, and Wells Bros trading stock. And a couple BIG Card Taps. These gems need a go-rilla and a long tap handle!
Hah...........! I just today picked up a large tap that was sitting on a rollaround, and noticed it was a Wiley and Russell as I was putting it away. First time I had noticed that name in my shop.
Here is an odd T & D set from my collection

And here is another old thread I posted 18 years ago! It is a taper bicycle set.