Norton. The birth of the sharpening stone industry in the United States dates back to 1823 in New Hampshire. A farmer discovered that stones in his pasture were ideal for sharpening scythes and axes. This excellent deposit of mica schist became the foundation for the Pike Company – the first supplier of commercially available natural sharpening stones in North America. As time went on, the company expanded its original product offering to include over twenty varieties of natural stone, including the Arkansas line. Quarried from the novaculite deposits near Hot Springs, Arkansas, these stones soon replaced mica schist as the quality standard in premium natural sharpening stones. As Norton developed its position in synthetic abrasives, Pike Company complemented its natural stone line with the new aluminum oxide and silicon carbide bonded abrasives. This strengthened its position in that portion of the market requiring fast-cutting, heavy-stock-removing sharpening stones. In 1932 Norton Company purchased the Pike Company. Norton Company was subsequently purchased by Saint-Gobain Abrasives, Inc. (the global leader in abrasive sales and technology). Norton continues to serve world markets with the broadest line of natural and synthetic sharpening stones available.