top of page

Phantom Bevels Vs. Kelly Bevels

The phrase “Phantom Bevels” is the general nickname for any type of bevel found on a bevel faced axe in today’s world. The term is often used to describe beveled Kelly Axes, despite the misnomer of the situation. At one time, the phrase “Phantom Bevel” was a very specific, and even trademarked, name for one certain type of bevel, and it was not the Kelly version. Bevels were first made on Kelly “Perfect” Axes in 1885 and correlated with patent 327,275 from Sept. 29th, 1885. Due to the manufacturing specifics and the patent dates, this would have them originally made by W.C. Kelly and Company at the first Kelly factory in Portland, Kentucky. These unmarked axes would have been followed by the first etched Perfects that had the Sept 29th, 1885, date, but that also included “Kelly Axe Mfg. Co.” on the etch, indicating that the heads were produced by the “2nd Company” at the “2nd Factory” in Louisville in 1887 or later (the company was not incorporated under that name until Jan of 1887). 2 distinct bevels can be noted from this beginning, the ones formed by patent of 1885 and the ones formed by the patents from Apr 29th and May 7th, 1889. Both designs are for a triangle shaped bevel. Patent 19,056 specifically notes “my design consists of an approximately-triangular-shaped portion of the blade.”. These are appropriately noted by the name “Kelly bevels” or “Perfect bevels”. Patent 16,631 was submitted by Thomas Bakewell and authorized on April 20th, 1886. It was defined by having “double concave bevels, having opposed circular edges on each side of the blade.”. This design was seen in the 1894 catalog of the American Axe and Tool Co. These images are labeled with “Phantom Bevels”, along with a label on the axe noting “Trademarked Phantom Bevels”. Thomas Bakewell was the patent attorney for, as well as an investor in, the Hubbard Company and later the American Axe and Tool Company. These bevels, manufactured by the A.A.&T. Co. were actually trademarked under the name “Phantom bevel”, and are appropriately identified by that name. Oddly enough, the misnaming of bevels by generalized terms started early, as can be seen in numerous hardware catalogs, from Binghams to Belknap.

136 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page