1950s Literature

Table of Contents:

Catalogs and Price Lists: General

58-50 thumbnail Shears and Scissors. A 28 page catalog covering all shears and scissors in detail. No prices. Printed 1950. This is the last true catalog that I know of. After this the products were split over cut sheet catalogs.

PL-SS-1950 thumbnail Shears, Scissors, Manicure Implements, Pinking Shears. Price List effective November 30, 1950. 2 pages. Also in PDF.

PL-SS-1954 thumbnail Shears, Scissors, Pinking Shears, & Manicure Implements. Price List effective January 4, 1954. 4 pages. Also in PDF.

Gift Suggestions 1955 thumbnail Gift Suggestions: Folder of Cut Sheets. 40 cut sheet sides, plus four page price list. Effective August 1, 1955.

A32E thumbnail Price List for Shears, Scissors, Pinking and Skalloping Shears, Manicuring Implements. Effective February 26, 1958. 8 pages.
This is also an illustrated catalog.
From the National Museum of American History: Library

Catalogs and Price Lists: Tools

PL-Snips-1950 thumbnail Metal Cutting Shears, Tinners' Snips. Price List effective November 30, 1950. Also in PDF.

SNIPS-1950 thumbnail Metal Cutting Snips is a marketing folder with six sides. It covers how snips are made, the snips product line, information on the steel and specs, and selling suggestions for dealers, including who likes which. Printed January 1950. Also see slightly different 1952 version below. Also in PDF.

SNIPS-1952 thumbnail Metal Cutting Snips is a marketing folder with six sides. It covers how snips are made, the snips product line, information on the steel and specs, and selling suggestions for dealers, including who likes which. Printed January 1952. Also see slightly different 1950 version above. Also in PDF.

SnipsFolderSmall1952 thumbnail Famous Wiss Metal-Cutting Snips For Every Purpose. A smaller version of the above. Also in PDF.

Catalogs and Price Lists: Garden Tools

PL-GS-1952 thumbnail Garden Shears. Price List effective August 1, 1952. Also covers garden shear replacement parts. Note that some of these parts are still available. The current owner of the Wiss name is Apex Tool Group. If you are looking for a part, ask them. Also in PDF.

Bostwick-letter-1954-10-15 thumbnail Bostwick Cover Letter: October 15, 1954 went with the catalog and the price list in the next entry. Also included were three cut sheets on various displays for selling garden tools. (In section below.)

GTC thumbnail  Garden-Shears-price-list-1954-08-15 thumbnail Wiss Garden Shears, October 1954. 16 page catalog on all garden tools. Includes August 1954 price list. Also in PDF. Form G.T.C.-40M-10-54. That is 40,000 copies printed.

garden-tool-catalog-1959 thumbnail Garden Tool Catalog Pages: September 1959
Includes cover letter, but not price list.
From the National Museum of American History: Library

Booklets (Handouts)

SS3 thumbnail What you should know about Shears and Scissors. 25,000 copies printed September 1952. 20 pages. A small booklet with "what they should mean to you" and "a pair of scissors for every purpose," six pages explaining different types of scissors and shears, two pages of "your choice in the matter," a page on caring for your scissors, five pages on cutting hints, and two pages explaining the Wiss quality. 6" × 3-5/8". Form code: SS3-10/52-25M.

PSB thumbnail How you can do it with Wiss Pinking Shears. First printed September 1952 in conjunction with the above handout. 16 pages including covers. 10 pages of examples of what you can do or make with pinking shears. One page on the reasons for superiority. One page showing the Model C line of pinkers in three sizes. It was printed three times giving a total of 75,000 printed. (1) 1952 version. Form code: [PSB-9/52-25M]. (2) A 1/53 version which appears to be the same. (3) A 1954 version [PSB-11/54-25M], which is identical to the 9/52 one. 5-1/4" × 8-1/4".

Pinker Fashions thumbnail Wiss Pinker Fashions Patterns. Foldout that showed numerous patterns that were for sale. Folded it is 6-1/4" x 4-3/4" and could be mailed (this one wasn't). Open it is 18-3/4" x 24-3/4". Based on what pinking shears are listed, and resharpening prices, this is circa Late 1950s.

Pattern No. 123 thumbnail Wiss Pinker Fashions: Patterns for Felt Appliques. 22" × 17". Pattern No. 123. Circa Late 1950s.

How-to-Prune thumbnail How to Prune for Better Flowers, Shrubs, Trees and Fruits. 25,000 copies printed February 1958. 42 pages. Sold for 25¢. © 1957 J. Wiss & Sons Co., Newark 7, NJ. 4" × 9-1/8". Form code: PG-25M-2/58.

WissStory1959 thumbnail The Wiss Story of Shears & Scissors. 100,000 copies printed May 1959. 10 pages plus covers. Includes: History and evolution of shears and scissors, Consider the matter of scissors (and shears), two pages explaining types of shears and scissors, a page picturing many types, Facts to remember when buying scissors, How to care for your scissors, Cutting hints, and a page of patterns available. 8-1/2" × 11". Form code: A 53–100 M–5/59.

WissSalesManual1950s thumbnail Wiss Sales Manual Circa 1950s. 9 pages, plus cover. A manual describing the product line, and explaining how to sell shears and scissors at retail. Intended to be given to stores to educate their sales reps. 8-1/2" × 11". Also in PDF.

Inserts: Included with Pinking Shears: 1950-1963

Pinking shear sales became a major product line for Wiss. By 1955 20 million pairs had been sold. Based on the quantities of instructions printed, another 3.5 million were made between 1955 and 1963. This was the peak years of home sewing. Women could save money by making their own clothes. Fabrics used were natural and pinking stopped unraveling. And sewing machines did not yet have serge stitching. More on pinking shears and Samuel Briskman can be found on the Pinking Shear Patents page. Also see the 1940s inserts. Though in the 1940s there were no quantities printed, and format changes are used to date.

PS thumbnail Look Inside. See the complete line-up of WISS PINKING SHEARS $3.95 to $8.95. This flyer was printed in April 1950 to announce the new budget Model E. 750,000 were printed, but it is rare. Most must not have been used. Form PS-750M-4/50.

Model E Pink-Rite

PSE 3-50 thumbnail Model E. A short-lived budget line. It appears to have sold very well. This model was 7-1/2" long. The only Model C at the time was 9-1/4" long. By the end of 1950 they decided to drop this model and to instead offer the Model C in two lengths. 400,000 copies of three instruction folders were printed. They are all identical. The March 1950 [PSE-3-50-250M] and the [PSE-8-50-100M] and the [PSE 11-50-50M]. When unfolded they measure 3" × 15".

Model C Line

PSC 8/50 thumbnail Model C: One Length. February 1950 started off the vertical folded insert for the Model C pinking shears. Prior to this they included in the box an unfolded piece of paper and a tag. Unfolded this is 3" × 15". The front discusses using and the care of the shears. The back promotes other dressmaking shears and scissors. There were two printings of these: February 1950 [PSC-2-50-250M] and August 1950 [PSC-8-50-250M]. They are identical. Apparently they sold 250,000 pairs in six months.

PSC 4-51 thumbnail Model C: One Length. This April 1951 [PSC-4-51-150M] insert, with the exception of the reversed colors on the cloth swatches, is identical to the prior insert. Note that this is dated after the first of the next insert style. Possibly they continued to use this one for the 9" version?

PSC-12-50 thumbnail Model C: Two Lengths. The December 1950 version [PSC-12-50-250M] was a minor update to include the new 7-1/2" CB-7 and CC-7 shears. For less than a year prior to this a 7 1/2" was being sold as a Model E. The front still discusses using and the care of the shears, but now has a chart listing the two sizes and whether CB or CC. The back is identical to the prior ones. Unfolded it is 3" × 15". An October 1951 [PSC-10-51-250M] is known to exist.

PSC-1953 thumbnail Model C: Three Lengths. The August 1952 version [PSC-8/52-250M] was an expansion of the folder. It now included the 5-1/2" length of the Model C (CC-5 and CB-5). Hence the pictures of the now three different lengths were moved to the inside. The insert was kept in the vertical format and became 2-1/2" × 18" unfolded. Scanned is the identical [PSC-8/53-250M].

PSCB thumbnail Models: C & B. This December 1953 version [PSCB-250M-12/53], was announcing the new Model B (with larger teeth). The folder became horizontal, grew to 12 panels on both front and back, and when open stretches to over 29". The front lists the various pinking models and discusses using and the care of the shears. The back promotes other dressmaking shears and scissors. A September 1954 [PSCB-250M-9/54] exists and is presumed to be identical, as I have a December 1955 [PSCB-250M-12/55] which is identical to the one pictured here.

PSCBAA thumbnail Models: C, B, & AA. This April 1956 version was announcing the new larger Model AA. It was created to replace the large Model A that had been discontinued some years earlier. When unfolded the paper stretches to over 29" wide. It is 2-3/16" high. Each side still has 12 panels. I have two identical editions: April 1956 [PSCB-250M-4/56] and March 1957 [PSCB-150M-3/57]. This folder ends with the GS-115 gift set, which has larger shears than the GS-15 gift set promoted in the prior version of this folder.

"What you can do with Wiss Pinking [and Skalloping] Shears" Pink Folder Series

The line is descended from the 16 page pink How you can do it with Wiss Pinking Shears that was printed September 1952. It was distributed independently of shears sales.

PS1-1955 thumbnail July 1955. This is smaller than the 1952 version it follows. Opening to 19-3/8" (3-1/4" × 5-3/4" folded), though larger than the ones that followed this. Opens to 12 sides. A pattern order form was added. Since the smaller foldout instructions above were still being printed, it is presumed they were distributed the same way as the larger version above. The only known printing has the form number [PSI-100M-7/55]. They printed 100,000, though possibly all were not distributed.

PS1 thumbnail September 1957 [PS1-250M-9/57]. Now only opens to 15-3/4" wide. Folds to a smaller 2-5/8" × 4-3/4". Can now fit inside boxes. Prices of CB-5 and CC-5 went up. Added "Ask to see the new Wiss Skalloping Shears." But this only highlights the three lengths of the Model C. It also mentions the Model AA. The Model B is dropped. It is the first instructions to have the 9" Model C with a 1/4" teeth spacing. Previously the 9" shared the 3/64" spacing that the 7" has. I have a [PSI-250M-4-59] which is identical to this one. The in the middle [PSI-250M-10-58] also exists and is assumed to also be the same. Giving a total of 750,000 printed.

PS2 thumbnail April 1960 [PS2-250M-4-60. Same as 3-61]. [PS2-250M-3-61]. This merges the dedicated skalloping shears folder (see below) into the pink foldout. Skalloping shears pictured and named on the front cover. Cloud logo removed from front cover. All new page layout. It lists three scalloping shears: SN-7, SC-7, and SN-9. Introduces left-handed CB-7LH and PS-77 straight handles. AA is added to order form.

PS3 thumbnail April 1962 [PS3-250M-4/62] The 5 1/2" CB-5 and CC-5 were dropped. The SN-9 scalloping shears is dropped. The SC-7 version of the scalloping shears is still listed.

PS4 thumbnail March 1963 [PS4-250M-3/63] CB-5 reappears. PS-77 straight handled is dropped. Left-handed CB-7LH still called new. The SC-7 version of the scalloping shears is dropped.

PS5 thumbnail November 1963 [PS5-250M-11/63] Price of CB-5 went up. The postal zone in the addresses was changed to a zip code.

Skalloping Shears Folders

A scalloped pinking shears was released in September 1957.

SN-7 thumbnail Three known printings exist for the skalloping shears. A 3/58 one, a 3/59 one, and this 11/59 one: [SN-7-250M 11/59]. The 3/59 and 11/59 ones are identical and list both the SN-7 and the newer SN-9. I believe the 3/58 one is also the same. This separate folder was dropped in 1960 when the scalloping shears was merged into the PS2 folder [above].

Sheet of Paper with PS-77 Pinkers

form thumbnail This repairs info sheet was included with a PS-77 straight handled pinking shears. Though nothing on the sheet notes that it is specific to this model, the sheet has not been seen anywhere else. Basically the same information as the postcards following. Form 0-57. Dated February 1958.

Customer Service Department Postcards: 1947-1959

Customer Service Dept postcard thumbnail Postcards sent to customers that inquired about sharpening their pinking shears.

Inserts (Included with Other Shears)

A68-9-59 thumbnail Makes Gardening Easier! with Pruning Calendar. Printed September 1959. Card listing various gardening tools. On back is a Free Pruning Calendar that by month tells you what needs to be done. And below is an order form to order the full pruning guide. A revised version with slightly higher prices was printed in September 1961.

FH-4 folder thumbnail FH 4 folder. This was an accordion folded insert for the FH 4 flower holding shears. When open there are 18 small pages (2-7/16" × 3-3/4"). It shows some basic flower arrangements and other Wiss garden tools. I have three editions: August 1952 [FH 4-100M-8/52], March 1953 [FH 4-100M-3/53], and September 1954 [FH 4-50M-9/54]. The first two are identical. It would appear that the first 100,000 printed in August ran out by the next Spring. The only difference between the 1953 and 1954 ones is the predecessor FH-3 model appears in the 1952 and 1953 ones. In 1954 it was replaced by the C4A Garden and Lobster Shears.

L-3 folder thumbnail Lobster Shears booklet. This four page folder was included with lobster shears. Printed March 1953, when the C4A flower shears was first promoted as a lobster shears.

H.T.S. thumbnail Wiss Hair-Thinning Shears. A piece of paper printed on two sides. The front describes them, and the back has Directions for the Use of Hair-Thinning Shears. It was included in the boxes throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

Cut Sheets for Dealers

Model-E-Display PS-5 New Counter Display and Assortment!
This assortment includes five pinking shears, including the new Model E pinking shear that is to be announced on June 5, 1950. Has dealer cost and retail value. Also in PDF

FH-4-9-52-EAST Watch volume pick up with this popular new money-maker: FH-4 Flower Shears
This is an original FH-4 picture with a rivet. A few months after production started they switched to a Phillips screw. Lists dealer's cost. Printed September 1952. Inventory number: FH-4-EAST. Also in PDF

GT-9-52 Wiss Garden Shears... All Best Sellers!
Two-sided cut sheet showing hedge shears, grass shears, and pruning shears. No prices. Printed September 1952. Inventory number: GT. Also in PDF

HGK-9-52-EAST A new Wiss item that's sure to spark sales! House & Garden Kit
A fabric holder with transparent acetate pockets holds a prunings shears, FH-4, and kitchen shears. Has dealer cost and retail prices. Printed September 1952. Inventory number: HGK-EAST. Also in PDF

L4-10-52 Wiss offers these new income producers: Lopping Shear Assortment
The L-4-E contains one each of four different types of lopping shears. Has dealer cost and retail value. Printed October 1952. Inventory number: L4. Also in PDF

cut-sheet-announcing-AA-pinker Cut sheet and letter announcing the new AA Pinking shears, dated April 24, 1956.
The Model A had been discontinued some years earlier, and there were complaints about the lack of a large size.
From the National Museum of American History: Library

A6 Cut sheet with shears and scissors descriptions
April 1957. Form: A6-40M 4/57
From the National Museum of American History: Library

A7 Cut sheet with descriptions for Manicure, Pedicure and Baby scissors
April 1957. Form: A7-40M 4/57
From the National Museum of American History: Library

announcing-new-Skalloping-Shears Announcing New Skalloping Shears
Circa Fall 1957
From the National Museum of American History: Library

pinking-shears-late-1950s Pinking Shears Assortment
Circa Late 1950s. Two-sided cut sheet.
From the National Museum of American History: Library

Cut Sheets: Display Units

HD-100-EAST Display, Stock Container and "Salesman" All-In-One! HD-100
This was a maple case displaying seven shears and seven scissors. Printed February 1950. East Version. A few a year sell on eBay. See Display Cases and Cabinets. Inventory number: HD-100-EAST. Also in PDF.

HD-100-WEST Display, Stock Container and "Salesman" All-In-One! HD-100
The same as above, but is West version printed April 1952. Inventory number: HD-100-WEST. Also in PDF.

PD-1 New Free Metal Counter or Wall Display in Four Beautiful Colors Featuring: Wiss Pinking Shears
The 3-4-1 assortment includes one each of four different pinking shears. Has dealer cost and retail prices. Printed March 1952. Inventory number: PD-1. Also in PDF.

GT53-9-52-EAST The finest display ever developed to sell hedge, grass, and pruning shears: New GT-53
The assortment includes 12 items plus free display. Has dealer cost and retail prices. Printed September 1952. Inventory number: GT53-EAST. Also in PDF.

GT-250-28-E GT-250: New Wiss Merchandiser for Garden Tools
Printed September 1954. Form: GT-250-28,500-9/54 (EAST)

GT-55-12-E Cut sheet with GT-12 and GT-55 Countertop Displays
The GT-12 for grass shears and the GT-55 with a variety of garden tools. Printed August 1954. Form: GT-55-12,500-8/54 EAST

HP-3-E Cut sheet with Countertop Displays
The HP-10 with 5 Pruners and the HP-3 for the 908 Pruner. Printed October 1954. Form: HP-3-28M-10/54 EAST

1-KS Kitchen Shears new packaging and special display pack
Printed April 1956. Form: 1-KS 25M-4/56 East
From the National Museum of American History: Library

merchandiser-display Shears and Scissors Merchandiser
Circa Late 1950s
From the National Museum of American History: Library

Catalog Sheets

425-428 This is four pages cut out of a larger catalog. The first three pages have Wiss shears, scissors (sewing, pocket and manicure), and pinking shears. The fourth page covers other brands. No prices. Circa 1950.

gray-pages This is four pages. Possibly cut from a larger catalog, but there are no page numbers. It covers pinking shears, shears, scissors, and manicure implements. No prices. Circa 1950.

Business Cards

HolgateBusinessCard thumbnail Paul B. Holgate Business Card. From the 1950s. It was stapled to some dealer sales literature. Not a true business card. It lacks contact information.

Other Publishers

NRHA-BulletinNo.31 thumbnail The Cutlery Story, From Stone Age to Steel Age by Lewis D. Bement [born 1909, president of Russell-Harrington Cutlery Co.], published by The Associated Cutlery Industries of America, Deerfield, MA 1950. 36 pages. 6" × 9". Also in PDF.

NRHA-BulletinNo.30 thumbnail SNIPS: A Staple Item that Should Sell Every Day, NRHA-Bulletin No.30 circa late 1950s. Four pages written by J Wiss for the National Retail Hardware Association. 8-1/2" × 11". Also in PDF

NRHA-BulletinNo.31 thumbnail Shears and Scissors, NRHA-Bulletin No.31 circa late 1950s. Four pages written by J Wiss for the National Retail Hardware Association. 8-1/2" × 11". Also in PDF.