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Spear & Jackson, Inc., Etna Works - Sheffield, UK

  Spear & Jackson’s Improved Pattern Silver Steel Handsaw - Work magazine, 1889


This excellent saw, described in Messrs. Spear & Jackson's price list as No. 1887 - a number which, perhaps, it will be well to quote in giving orders – is in every respect a nice tool to look at and a capital tool to handle and work with.

An old professional to whom I showed it, one of the best handreilers in the United Kingdom, fairly smiled with pleasure as he took the specimen saw sent to me into his hands, and examined it from handle to point with the utmost interest.

"Yes, that's something like a saw," he said, as he handed it back to me with a lingering touch, and then asked the price, us though he would have liked to have made it his own.

I could not tell him then, as I can tell my readers now, that this particular saw of silver-steel, full polished, with apple-wood handle, fitted with registered brass heel supporting and protecting plate, raised brass screws, and highly-finished blade, costs 120s. per dozen 26 in. long, and 130s. per dozen 28 in. long. And his approval was in no way diminished when, taking the saw in both hands, I brought point and handle together in pretty close proximity, and, letting go the point, allowing the blade to spring back smartly and sharply to its original position.

The appearance of the blade is very good, being well-nigh as bright as silver: all the dirt, if I may so call it, being taken out of the metal - probably, by the Bessemer process and hammering combined. This saw, all well as all other best saws manufactured by Messrs. Spear and Jackson, Etna Works, Sheffield, is tempered and ground by patented machinery, and is accurately tapered from the tooth to the back, and from the heel to the point, the teeth remaining the same thickness throughout, so that the saw, work clean and sweet, with the least possible set.

The reinforce plate of polished brass, attached to the outer edge of the handle at A in the accompanying illustration, and extending on both sides of the blade the entire width of the handle, not only supports and stiffens the heel of the blade, but protects and strengthens the handle at its weakest place.

The handle, moreover, being carried well forward on the blade, as shown by the illustration, the weight of the saw is brought nearer the wrist of the operator, who has thus greater control over it, and the feeling of weight at the point is avoided.

The blade is also materially stiffened by this arrangement, and may therefore be thinner than is usual in saws of the ordinary pattern, and still, at the same time, as rigid. I do not think that any workman, whether professional or amateur, would regret becoming the possessor of one of these saws.

It may appear to be somewhat expensive when the price is contrasted with the cost of other saws of the same size.

Its form is similar to that of the handsaws made by Henry Disston, an American manufacturer; more especially in the curved line of the back, which will only be regretted by those who are in the habit of using the back of the saw sometimes as a straightedge.

Work, an Illustrated Magazine of Practice and Theory, Vol. 1, May 11, 1889, (London: Cassell & Co., Ltd.)

End Notes

This announcement from London-based magazine deserves a comment.

The saw presented here is described as a skew-back saw. Obviously, this designe was taken from well known Disston patented design from 06/23/1874 with patent No.: 152,347. For whatever reason the author of the article did not mention that. It is also not clear if Spear & Jackson took advantage of patent expiration (after 13 years) or in any way coordinate this saw release with Henry Disston & Sons Co.

The second issue in a "reinforce plate of polished brass". This was also patented design that came from a patent awarded on 07/03/1883 under No. 280,612 to William H. Hankin, Jr. and Cornelius Tinney.

The patent document doesn't show any exclusive assignment of this patent to Harvey W. Peace & Co., however, saws with this reinforcing plate are known to be produced in US only by Harvey W. Peace & Co. There are also unconfirmed reports that James T. Pratt & Co., New York, NY - a Fine Mechanics' Tools dealer used this plate on their products.

It is possible that William H. Hankin, Jr. and Cornelius Tinney retained ownership of the patent and sold rights of use to several companies, including  Harvey W. Peace & Co., James T. Pratt & Co., New York, NY, and Spear & Jackson, Sheffield, GB.

These issues require further investigation.

08/2016, WK

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