Anybody familiar with H.H. Mortimer & Co?

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by Force10Matt, Feb 9, 2022.

  1. Force10Matt

    Force10Matt Member

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    Hello everybody.

    I'm new here, I hope i'm asking this in the right place.

    I've got a rather lovely saw that i'm curious about and am having no luck finding any information on. I was wandering if any of my fellow saw nerds could shed any light on it.
    I've been able to find nothing at all about the manufacturer H.H. Mortimer & Co online and it's not a name i've come across before.

    The saw itsself is a rather pretty 14" backsaw of seemingly very fine quality but of very delicate build, the plate is unusually thin for a saw of it's size and the spine is much lighter than any other i've come across of this size and age.

    I'll upload some photos.

    Cheers

    Matt
     

    Attached Files:

  2. shoarthing

    shoarthing Most Valued Member

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    Hi - there’s a London retail Ironmongers called: “H H Mortimer & Co” at #s 10 & 25 Bush Lane, off Cannon-street, as far back as 1822; appears to be associated with an manufacturer/factor of the same name in Birmingham, at 18 Easy Row (listing from 1858). Kelly’s 1900 Birmingham Directory has “H.H.Mortimer & Co” as “mers” ie merchants. There’s also an entry in the 1890s for: “H H Mortimer & Co” in Blackburn, Lancashire.

    Simon Barley - the authority in this field - has noted the lack of a place-name stamp is not uncommon in Birmingham-based saw-trading.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 9, 2022
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  3. Force10Matt

    Force10Matt Member

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    Cheers Shoarthing, that's proper interesting.

    I wander why Birmingham saw manufacturers were funny about letting people know where they're from? I guess Brummies don't usually have to tell people where they're from ;-)

    I always think it's always a treat when i find a saw stamped anything other than 'Sheffield' or 'London' I particularly like it when there's a more specific address. I sent a nice Fletcher saw out to a customer this week that was stamped with almost the makers entire address, 'W. R. Fletcher, Leader St, Chelsea'


    Thanks for your reply.

    Matt
     
  4. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

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    668
    I like the handle, very elegant lines and perfect lambs tongue. Generally amazing condition for a saw that's likely to be more than 100 years old.

    The folowing notice appeared in the London Gazette in 1858, which confirms that H. H. Mortimer and Co., was an Ironmonger and Merchant, and therefore saw would have been madeby someone else. If I had to guess I'd think it could be Taylor Bros? Maybe Groves? based on the beautiful handle...

    Shoarthing is right on the money in noting that they were operating as merchants in both Bush-lane London, and Easy-row Birmingham.

    HHMortimer.png

    Regards
    Ray
     
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  5. shoarthing

    shoarthing Most Valued Member

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    Ray - Hi - 10 (H.R.Mortimer) & 25 (H.H.Mortimer & Co) Bush Lane were both still listed as Ironmongers until 1940 . . . . . not a bad run for an original business founded 120 years or so earlier . . . .

    . . . . here’s a morning-after view, looking West from (approx) above the Cannon Street/Bush Lane turn towards St.Paul’s around 1940/41:

    14436074-B260-4040-A5DB-7E87AAEAA5C2.png
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2022
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  6. Force10Matt

    Force10Matt Member

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    Ray, I recon you may be right with Groves, I've compared it to a few Groves saws i've got and it's got the same feel to it, quality is similar, handle carved similarly nicely etc. That said the only Taylor bro's saws i have here to compare it to are wrecks so it's probably not the fairest of comparisons.

    If you don't mind me asking where are you and Shoarthing finding these excellent historical resources?
     
  7. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

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    668
    It depends, I like reading the London Gazette, but it can be a weird place to search, you need to swap search terms around sometimes to get results.
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/

    For Sheffield there is the flood archives, although limited to a specific date, they contain a wealth of detail.
    https://www2.shu.ac.uk/sfca/

    The standard goto of course is the trade directories.
    https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/people-business-trades/

    For specific companies, sometimes Grace's Guide had adverts and company history that doesn't show up elsewhere.
    https://gracesguide.co.uk/Main_Page

    Then you can delve into the geneological archives and census records at places like ..
    https://www.sheffieldrecordsonline.org.uk/
    https://www.genuki.org.uk/

    Then the fun part comes trying to piece together all the disconnected bits of information.

    Regards
    Ray
     
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  8. Force10Matt

    Force10Matt Member

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    Ray you legend.

    I fear it may be some time before i surface from the internet hole i'm about to abseil into.

    I've got geeking out to do. See you on the other side. :D:D
     
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  9. shoarthing

    shoarthing Most Valued Member

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    . . . . solid stuff; suggest it’s worth adding Google Books to this list, esp. since it includes bound copies of old periodicals, & has in my experience *much* better OCR for ancient newsprint than the otherwise-invaluable (if not cheap) British Newspaper Archive . . . .

    Some tricky-to-find early &/or provincial Trade Directories have also been digitised in Google Books - search by title/publication date, specifying "book" & "free"

    (EDIT - corrected link to Advanced search Google Books)
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2022
  10. Force10Matt

    Force10Matt Member

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    You guys are making me feel like i've been using the web wrong my whole life. In fairness i've mainly only been using it to sell stuff but all the same you've clearly flipped a lot of rocks in search of where the good knowledge hides. Is it just me or does it seem like it's been getting harder to find what you're looking for on the internet these days, it might just be me but there seems to be more and more nonsense and less of the good stuff.

    I'm looking forward to having a few days off to get stuck into some deep research.
     
  11. Force10Matt

    Force10Matt Member

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    An update on the Mortimer saw...

    I couldn't get the warp out of the plate and the pitting was too deep to get a good polish so the decision was made to spend dozens of hours and hundreds of pounds on a totally over the top solution, making a replacment plate.
    In honesty it's something i've been working on for a while and making some saws from scratch has been something i've wanted to do since following Erik Florip on Instagram and seeing his small shop production line in action. This was the perfect time to pull my finger out and make it happen. I know a guy with a waterjet machine so i ordered up some 0.6mm 1095 spring steel and had him cut me a batch. I went for 12ppi with 10 degrees of rake, the resolution of the waterjet isn't quite small enough to make a perfect cut on such small teeth but it's acuracy is incredible, the radius in the gullet is very close to that of the corner of the file i used to sharpen it with so with one pass on each tooth it was perfect. I put 6 degrees of fleam on while sharpening. After cutting to size and fitting to the spine it's really cheered the saw up. Here's a pic.


    If Anyone's interested, I have 5m of 0.5mm thick 58mm deep plate with 14ppi toothline and 2.5m of 0.6mm thick, 95mm deep plate with 12ppi toothline cut and ready to fit to saws. I'm planning to use it myself but i'll be happy to sell blanks if anyone's interested. I'll likely be having some more made very soon. Cheers, Matt

    waterjetsaw4.jpg
     
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