The list of chisels is virtually endless. Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary of 1871 lists 69 distinctively different kinds of chisels. Certainly, there are other styles added since that time. In general terms, however, there are three major classes: chisels for stone, for metal and for wood.
Until the advent of the milling machine for metal, and the router for wood, chisels have been used for all sorts of jobs. For instance, the ordinary blacksmith shop had no milling machine. If it was necessary to cut a keyway in a shaft, this could be done with a chisel. Old files were often converted to chisels by blacksmiths who knew how to get the desired shape and then temper the steel correctly.
Wood chisels were often crafted by hand. A skilled artisan would obtain some high-grade steel, or lacking that, he would rework an old file. After shaping the chisel it would be properly tempered, and many times resulted in an excellent chisel, albeit homemade.
Some of the better known manufacturers include:
Braunsdorf-Mueller Co., Elizabeth, NJ
Buck Bros., Millbury, MA
Buffum Tool Co. Louisiana, Mo
Cincinnati Tool Co., Cincinnati, OH (hargrave)
Greenlee Bros. & Co. Rockford, IL
W.A. Ives Mfg. Co. Wallingford, CT (Mephisto)
Kortick Mfg., San Francisco, CA
Kraeuter & Co. Newark, NJ
Mack & Co., Rochester, NY
Peck, Stow & Wilcox Co., Southington, CT (Pexto)
Smith & Hemenway Co. New York, NY (Red Devil)
Stanley Works, New Britain, CT
James Swan Co., Seymour, CT
Union Hardware Co. Torrington, CT
Vaughn & Bushnell Mfg. Co., Chicago, IL
L.& I.J. White Co., Buffalo, NY
Winchester Repeating Arms Co., New Haven, CT.
Winsted Edge Tool Works, Winsted, CT