Comparative Dating by Style

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by ray, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    618
    Dating saws by style, is a risky business at best, since once a style has been manufactured, it can easily be made again at any subsequent time.

    Plenty of good examples around at present of early styles being revived.
    Future saw historians will no doubt call this period (the early 2000's) the classic revival period.

    But there are a few rare instances where a company has been in business for a long period and sufficient numbers exist to allow the evolution of a style to be seen.

    Here is a 100 years (or so) of Spear and Jackson handle styles. 1900-2000 (give or take)

    1. Starting with a Number 26.
    [​IMG]

    2. And another Number 26, but notice the lamb's tongue has gone.
    [​IMG]

    3. This one is a Leapfrog Number 46, probably 1920's, note the extra screw
    which is claimed to stop the back from slipping... and a dowell vertically
    through the handle, hence the "unbreakable claim"
    [​IMG]

    4. All stamped marks on the back have now gone, and a cheap plastic washer has replaced the medallion.
    [​IMG]

    5. By now, the screws are non-removable rivets, and the handle become a little more streamlined...
    [​IMG]

    6. This one is possibly a premium model, as it features a brass back and larger plated medallion.
    [​IMG]

    7. The "Cockerill" name from earlier times is retained, screws are non-removable, no medallion, no printing on the plate either.
    [​IMG]

    8. Finally, the current model (well it was, a year or so back)
    Plastic handle 4 finger grip, hardpoint, induction hardened teeth which
    are non-sharpenable. This is a disposable product.
    In spite of all that it actually cuts nicely.
    [​IMG]

    When taken as a whole, there is clear evidence of gradual evolution of the style.

    I think it's possible to compare two saws and make a reasonable estimate of which one is earlier...

    I would like to see more Spear and Jackson backsaws, so as to try and construct some sort of timeline.

    Regards
    Ray
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011
  2. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    306
    Here's a 14" Spear & Jackson backsaw handle with a hook, (dated 1866-75, based on the blade etch for a hardware store existing for that period).

    And a John Spear, 14" backsaw, similar to your picture #2.
    Do you know if this is a Spear & Jackson saw ??
     

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  3. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    1,077
    Hi Kiwi,

    I am sure that Ray will have a lot to say about this, but briefly I can tell you what is in HSMOB.

    John Spear operated 1814 to 1824 (Probably not the man who made your saw). His saws would be marked "Spear".

    Spear, Jackson and Co. operated from 1825 to 1829.

    Spear and Jackson operated from 1830 to 1910 and some of of their early brands are marked "John Spear" presumably as per yours.

    Spear and Jackson Ltd operated from 1910 to 1985. (I thought they were still going, but never mind).

    Hope this helps until you can get some in depth information.
    Fred
     
  4. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    618
    Hi Fred, Kiwi,

    Spear and Jackson, used a number of marks on secondary lines, LLoyd Davies, Cockerill, and (I believe) John Spear, although, I suspect John Spear may have been a premium product line. At times, in the second half of the 19th century competition was pretty fierce, and I suspect therein lies the motivation for many of the secondary product lines, just like today, it's all about getting a share of the market.

    Adding those two (thanks kiwi) into the time line, and adding some initial dates, also making the images a bit more manageable in size we get..


    1. [​IMG]1866-1875 Courtesy Kiwi
    2. [​IMG]No26 Blade etched "Sold by RF Coulston Ironmonger Walthamstow"
    3. [​IMG] Courtesy Kiwi "John Spear" Medallion and Mark
    4. [​IMG] No26 pre 1915
    4.1[​IMG] Courtesy Peter (looks similar to the 1915 "John Cockerill shape")
    5. [​IMG] No46 Leapfrog 1915 and later
    6. [​IMG]
    7. [​IMG]
    8. [​IMG]
    9. [​IMG] "Cockerill" 8" 1960's?
    10.[​IMG] ~2008

    Regards
    Ray
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2011
  5. PeterEvans

    PeterEvans Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    49
    Ray, here is an intermediate step between 4. and 5. in your latest list.

    This is a 14" backsaw and only has 3 screws, compared to the 4 of number 5. and the hang is similar to Number 4. You will probably get a lot of handles. What about catalogues? Will dig through mine to see what I can find.

    And what about open handles?
     

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  6. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    618
    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for that, I will edit the post to insert that one into the timeline.

    I've been thinking that catalogue entries will provide valuable timeline data, what S&J catalogues do you have?

    One thing that catalogue entries will resolve, is the difference between the various models, some of the lower cost secondary lines, have less refinements and features that sometimes look like later models. I'm thinking of the "Goblin" that is in the 1915 catalogue, which looks a bit like the premium lines from 20 years later...:)

    Regarding open handles, yes I think so, (but I don't have any), the only reason I chose S&J for this exercise is that there are enough of them around (hopefully) to make it possible to trace the detail of the design changes.

    Regards
    Ray
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011
  7. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    306
    This thread is very interesting as I'm always trying to identify and determine the age of my saws, but I took a look at my 1915 Spear & Jackson catalogue reprint (the only S & J catalogue I've got) and it seems that there might be more variation in handle design between different saw models of the same year than between saws of different years.
    The 1915 catalogue for closed handle backsaws shows (sorry, I don't have a scanner handy to illustrate this)
    BEST QUALITY saw handles are finely carved with; “lambs-tongue†bottom edge, a small “nib†between the peak and the horn on the top, and a “fishtail†heel below the grip (sorry Simon; thats a “crooked†handle with a “one-peak-one-nib†top)
    SECOND QUALITY saw handles lose the lambs-tongue, but are otherwise unchanged
    THIRD QUALITY saw handles lose the little nib on the top
    FOURTH QUALITY saw handles lose the vee in the handhole, leaving a plain ovoid hole for the fingers, and also the “fishtail†heel is less finely detailed.
    FIFTH QUALITY saw handles lose the fishtail and have a plain flat “London pattern†base

    And just to make it more difficult, some owners (not naming any names ) re-carve or replace some of their handles to suit their personal preference of fit and style.

    All this makes it difficult to age a saw with any degree of accuracy, based solely on its shape (same applies to women I guess), but its fun to hold them and check out their hardware and guess their quality line and age !

    Regarding the saw hardware; the first quality saws have “raised brass screwsâ€, and all lower class saws have the cheaper “flat brass screws†or split-nuts (sorry Simon, “spanner nutsâ€) So we can probably say an S&J lambs-tongue with split-nuts is pre 1915, non lambs-tongue with raised brass screws and saws with steel screws are post 1915

    You can get either steel or brass backs on all quality lines, except fifth quality which only comes with a steel back. So thats not much help
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011
  8. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    618
    Hi Kiwi,

    I have the same 1915 S&J catalogue, (it's in the green "Catalog Collection" book) I might try and scan some of the saws you are referring to.

    I see the model variation as just one more variable within many other variables. In some instances, identifying a model, may, in and of itself help to set a lower limit for a date, for instance the No46, appears to have replaced the No26 in the 1915 catalog. So we can say that a No46 is probably after 1915. More catalogues should help a bit.

    ...I'm not going to touch the "dating women by shape" comment...:)
    Although I would suggest not doing a google search for "comparative dating style" :)

    Regards
    Ray

    PS: Just out of curiousity ( :) ), I did a google search for "Comparative Dating" found this site on surgical saws...
    http://www.braceface.com/medical/Articles/Dating_saws_by_comparative_anatomy.htm
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2011
  9. PeterEvans

    PeterEvans Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    49
    Ray, I do not have any S & J catalogues unfortunately, however I am wondering if there is a great deal of difference between English makers up to 1920. A couple of merchant catalogues I have illustrate one backsaw, and then list the makers they can supply.

    Here is an illustration from a 1930 Buck & Hickman catalogue. Note the lambs tongues on Grade A and B saws. Also in the same catalogues, a 12" Disston backsaw was 10/9, or more than 60% more expensive than Grade A
     

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  10. PeterEvans

    PeterEvans Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    49
    Ray, here is a 10" that languished in my "get rid of box". Cannot remember where/when I acquired this, but I think pre-2000.

    Note the medallion on the reverse. The blade is painted black and the writing on the blade says something like:

    OVER 200 YEARS OF
    British manufacture
    SPEAR & JACKSON
    Black Prince

    I wonder what is the "start date" for manufacture.

    Cheers
    Peter
     

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  11. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    306
    Another handle variation, currently on ebay, item 220747078170, a 12" steel backed Spear & Jackson backsaw that has a store's stamp on the handle reading "From Carter's Tool Store, Troy N.Y."
    Probably the same supplier as at the Philadelphia Centennial 1876 International Exhibition, under "hardware, tools, cutlery" exhibitor 1342, "Carter, Edwd., Troy, N.Y.; Nickel-plated goods; planes, mechanics tools" [google books, International Exhibition, 1876, official catalogue, volume 1 ]
     

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  12. Deesinister

    Deesinister Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    58
    Couple more handles

    Hi Ray et Al,
    Not sure what the dates on these would be but thought Id throw them in . The handle with the V has the stamp on the spine.

    Cheers
    Al
     

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  13. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    306
    Got this 12" Spear & Jackson backsaw at a sale this week. It has the hook in the handle that I like and is basically the same handle shape as the 14" 1866-1875 saw I posted earlier in this thread, similar spine stamp too. (no etch).

    But with its crisp lines and nicely blued steel back, this new-to-me saw doesn't look nearly as old as the other one, more like turn of the century (maybe 1890s) to me. The grinding lines on the screws and nuts are all aligned, so I don't think this saw has ever been taken apart and "rejuvenated".
    I suppose its possible that I just found a saw that is "hardly used" (rather than my usual "used hard" saws), and the two saws are age cohorts, but the older I get the less sure I'm becoming on getting any great accuracy in guessing a saw's age from its style

    Q; When did blued steel backs first make their appearance ?
     

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  14. johnnyrsa

    johnnyrsa Active Member

    Messages:
    33
    Below are two photos of my S&J no. 46 Leapfrog, the handle looks identical to 4.1 but without a medallion.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]