Abraham Ashton Ltd.

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by fred0325, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Hello All,

    You may well get bored with me saying this but there is always something about even the most mundane saw. I got this in place of my 'still not arrived' Fitzwilliam and Co. and was going to put it on , not for any special intrinsic interest in the saw, but because it has obviously been "mended" by someone in the sense that the back looks like it has been compressed in a vice and it has 2 pins through the blade.

    If you look at the screws on the handle,the striations look like they are in the plane of the finishing process and therefore have possibly (probably) not been removed. This might therefore mean that the blade has become loose in the back and repaired in situ. Does this happen with any regularity. I suspect not, but then again I have been known................

    Looking Abraham Ashton (Burnt Tree Works) up in HSMOB there is a date 1896 to 1911.

    Because there is no mention of Ltd in HSMOB, I decided to look in Grace's Guide and found the following. If you look at the advertising image below, you will see that there is a little discrepancy between this and HSMOB. Does anybody know why? Were they taken over and the brand name retained?

    Were it not for the date on the advert, the saw styles could have been 100 years earlier. (Or are they earlier images for advertising purposes)?

    It may also shed some light on Graham's Burnt Tree saw in his gallery. The laquer may yet be mid-20th century as he supposed originally.

    I did originally put that:- "Because of the split nuts, mine may well be pre WW1, but the more that I look into saws, the less that I am convinced for there being many hard and fast rules for design features on them".

    Then I looked again at Graham's saw and his has split nuts as well. Are they both earlier saws (despite Graham's laquer) or were split nuts being used into the 1950's. On the advert the hacksaw certainly has domed nuts, but backsaw, I am not sure.

    A conundrum for sure (at least to me).

    Hoping for help.


    Attached Files:

  2. PeterEvans

    PeterEvans Most Valued Member

    Abraham Ashton took over E. Pacey & Co probably around 1888.

    E. Pacey & Co were listed (apparently, as I have not actually seen the volume) as the registered owner of the Shark trademark in Hughes, Herbert, White's Hardware Trade Marks, William White, Ltd., Sheffield, 1892 (for my reference, see Eileen Woodhead, Trademarks On Base-Metal Tableware, Late 18th century to circa 1900 (including marks on Britannia metal, iron, steel, copper alloys and silver-plated goods), 1991.

    John Pacey started making saws in 1841 (or shortly earlier), and he or his family made saws up to c.1890. They made saws in Burnt Tree Lane from 1852, and Burnt Tree Works first appears in 1878 (Ken Roberts lists “Burnt Tree Lane Worksâ€￾ from 1854 – but with no source listed, this is probably an error).

    Abraham Ashton as a company probably existed from 1848 – 1951, making a wide range of cutlery (in widest sense) items. Unlikely they made saws before taking over Pacey. So an Ashton saw is likely to be post 1890.
  3. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Thank-you for the reply Peter,

    Grace's Guide does not have a termination date for the company, and the advert that I put on, had a date attributed to it of 1951. If that is the case and they did finish in 1951, then it must have been one of the last adverts. If so it must have been a final fling before closure.

    Do you have a source for 1951 as an end date for the company?

    You are probably right about the date for the saw. If HSMOB's first date is correct, then the saw is probably around the turn of the century to 1914-ish.

    It is late at night and I haven't looked properly, but Abrham Ashton is very elusive to find in the online directories that I have found. For elusive read impossible.

    I will have a search tomorrow. Looking at Trademarks on base metal, the dates for him/them are 1848 to present, and they do show the "Sharp" tooth trade-mark. As I finished my previous effort - a conumdrum- still.

  4. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Peter, Fred,

    Peter did you ever publish that article you wrote for TTTG newsletter on Burnt Tree Lane? Maybe I could put it on-line here as a reference.

    Fred, I have an Abraham Ashton that I will dig out and take a few pictures for comparison.

    Split Nuts on Sheffield made saws were used over a much longer period than the US makers.

  5. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

    Fred said
    "...but Abrham Ashton is very elusive to find in the online directories that I have found. "

    try http://www.historicaldirectories.org/hd/howto1.asp and search "Yorkshire"
    White's 1901 Sheffield Directory entry, under the alphabetical listing for Ashton, even includes "late E Pacey & Co"

    Although your saw appears to have aftermarket pins through the back, I seem to recall seeing somewhere a mention of sawmakers using such pins in production (but could only find this on a quick search http://tinyurl.com/4l9suws
  6. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Hello Kiwi,

    Thanks for the Historical Directories. I was looking in them but I was trying to trace Abraham Ashton from 1848 (not necessarily re saws) but it was a bit of a job. I did look in the 1901 directory, but it was late and I mistook Burnt Tree Works for Burnt Tree Lane. When I couldn't find him there I gave up.

    But as you say, he is there at the Burnt Tree Works in Meadow Street (not Burnt Tree Lane). He is also still there in the 1905 and the 1911 Directories.

    So, if Pacey's made saws from C.1840 to 1890 and were taken over by Ashton C.1890, were Ashtons then using the Pacey lineage in their 1951 advert "over 100 years etc." or were they doing things in their own right from 1848 as stated in the advert.

    I will look it up but am not relishing the prospect, so in order to save me an enormous amount of effort - does anyone know? Where does the 1848 date come from? I have just done a quick trawl of Whites of 1849, 1852, 1856 and 1862 and there are plenty of Ashtons but no Abraham. There was an Ashton silver plater and (I think) a brass founder. I really am getting confused now as I didn't make notes and am going from memory, but neither of them an Abraham. Could he have taken over another (?his father's?) company?

    Another pointer please if possible?

    Also thanks for the link to the pinning discussion. I will have to examine the backs of my saws anew to look for scarcely visible pins. A cursory glance does not show any but I will inspect a few properly, particularly the cheaper ones.

  7. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

    I checked the Sheffield census results and in 1901 census have Abraham Ashton (age 56) and family living at 129 Spring Vale, (the same as White's 1901 Directory), occupation = saw manufacturer
    no result from 1891 census
    1881 census, Abraham (age 36) with same wife, Jane A, and some same children, occupation = sawsmith
    1871 census, Abraham (age with same wife and some of 1881 children, occupation = saw smith
    1866 marriage record Abraham Ashton and Jane A Spetch
    1861 census, Abraham Ashton (age 16) is listed as a “nephewâ€￾ and living with a household headed by Harriet Birks but also with Joseph Ashton, (listed as “brotherâ€￾, age 42 and occupation “Saw Makerâ€￾) and Joseph's wife Rebecca (I assumed that Abraham is nephew to Harriet and son of Joseph/Rebecca)
    1851 census Abraham (age 6) son of Joseph (age 32) and Rebecca in a lodging house. Joseph is a “saw makerâ€￾
    1851 and 1861 census as above (address in the Nether Hallam area of Sheffield
    1871 census, still in Nether Hallam, a widow aged 52, occupation still saw maker
    1841 census has a Joseph Ashton, age 20, no occupation given, son to BENJAMIN ASHTON, age 45, occupation saw maker

    On the Spetch side, Abraham Ashton's wife's family from Durham, her father William Spetch is listed as a nail maker in 1851 Census, and in 1871 census as a “tool blade forgerâ€￾ (I think...census form writing is difficult to decipher)

    So, it seems that the Ashton family were saw makers for a generation or two before Abraham. Unfortunately its not clear if they were saw makers in their own right or if they were working for some other saw manufacturer. I think its more likely Joseph Ashton worked for others as his family seemed to live in residences with others as head of household rather than as a distinct family group.

    In summary, its still a guess as to whether Abraham Ashton's claimed years of business heritage refers to the Pacey lineage or the Ashton lineage
  8. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Thank-you Kiwi,

    This is absolutely wonderful. I don't know if its all anyone could want but its most of what I wanted.

    So the Ashton saw lineage goes back to at least 1841 with Benjamin and through his son Joseph to (presumably) his other son Abraham to 1871 when he was first recorded as a Sawsmith. And from then onwards to at least 1901 when the Directories take over the story.

    It still begs the 1848 date, but that is now of little (although some) consequence.

    There is one interesting twist, in Whites General Directory of Sheffield 1849 (page 50) there is a Charles Ashton, Sawsmith of 258 Bright Street. I wonder if, or how he fits in.

    There is also an Ashton, Jackson and Co. (page 50 and 268) who are listed as file manufacturers - along with a lot of other big name saw makers. They are also referred to American Merchants and Cutlery (P50). I wonder if this is where the 1848 comes from. The title of "Sawsmith" could imply an occupation both as an employee of a manufacturer and as a manufacturer in its own right. That might account for why the Ashtons are so shy at appearing in the directories as saw makers/manufacturers. They might have been employed as sawsmiths by one of them.

    Now, where have I heard the name Jackson before in the context of saw manufacture. I wonder if they are related. (My imagination is really working overtime now - this looks like being an Earl Fitzwilliam type obsession). Please disprove the Jackson connection in order to give me some peace.

    Thanks again

  9. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member


    That 1849 White's Directory has William Jackson as being part of Ahston Jackson & Co (also has Robert Jackson working for Spear & Jackson). You should check other data to see if William (and/or Robert) was a son of Sam, (Sam Jackson of Spear & Jackson fame)

    Never mind the Jackson connection, what about the "& Co". Could there be a Fitzwilliam or like hiding under the anonymity of the "& Co" so that nobility was not sullied by common trades connections ? !!
  10. PeterEvans

    PeterEvans Most Valued Member

    Ray, not sure if that article was published... need to check issues. However I will update the article with the new info in this thread.

    rob1713 likes this.
  11. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

    Abraham AshtonLtd

    ASHTON, Abraham (& Sons Ltd) SHEFFIELD
    17½ Meadow Street 1888-1893
    Burnt Tree Works, 17 Meadow Street 1895-1951
    Saw makers for the above dates, but there are earlier entries under cutlers. Took over premises of E. Pacey & Co.

    Meadow Street ran into Burnt Tree Lane.

    All the saws of theirs I've seen are second quality at best - and there are an awful lot of them out there.