Early Smiths (not the Alt Band of the 80s)

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by Joe S, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

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    Hey Ray et al.
    Here are three saws of two different Smiths (I think) The "table" saw and the Brass back are both from the (John)Smith and Sons manufacture. HSMB suggest that they were around from 1814-1834. The 16" brass back markings are self evident including the dot between the cast and steel. The 24 inch "table" saw has another Smith and Son Cast.Steel stamp encircled with three crowns. Of more interest to me was the "John Thomas" owner scratched etch 1834 on the reverse side of the saw. There might have been a nib at some point but the remnants have been filed down.
    The third saw is 26" hand saw that has an "I.Smith, German Steel" again encircled with three crowns. I am guessing that the "I." is again for a John or Joseph Smith but I am unsure if that is in connection with the Smith and Sons or the 3 other John Smiths that HSMB notes as existing. John Smith of Crooks Manor, 1822-1824, Henry and John Smith of Rockingham St, 1841 or John Smith of Russell St. 1847. This doesn't include the Joseph Smiths which the "I." more often used for. Ray has provided some other options in the Sawmaker Check List with a Joseph Smith at Park 1828-49 and a Joseph the merchant of Matilda, Sidney and Shoreham. I don't think this saw was manufactured later than this time. Any ideas?
    As an aside and sorta connected, I look at the cover of the HSMB which are of saws that were taken from the "Joseph Smith" (connected?) early catalogue and am amazed how similar the handle shapes are to these saws and of another group I am going to bring up at a later time.
    enjoy
    Joe S.
     

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  2. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

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    Early Smiths

    Table Saw Pics.
    Joe S
     

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  3. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

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    Early Smiths

    "I." Smith Pics
    Joe S.
     

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  4. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

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    Early Smiths

    Ah, the Smiths!
    These are lovely old saws, and I'd find it a real thrill to handle any of them. I can't pretend to know which Smith made which saw, but I hope maybe these dates may help.
    Crooksmoor is an area of Sheffield about a mile and a half from the present city centre.


    SMITH [?John] SHEFFIELD
    Coalpit Lane 1811
    Manufacturer of saws, fenders, and cinder-shovels. See also Smith & Woodhouse below.
    SMITH, John
    Crookesmoor 1822
    SMITH, John
    Coalpit Lane 1825
    SMITH, John
    Sidney Street 1827
    SMITH, John & Son
    Coalpit Lane 1814-1823
    Glossop Road 1825-1828
    56 (57) West Street 1837
    1821: saw, file and edge tool manufacturers.
    SMITH, John & Co
    188 West Street 1841
    78 Russell Street 1846
    68 Russell Street 1848
    1841: saw, steel etc manufacturer. May not be the same as the preceding.

    The difficulty here (apparently shared with the directory publishers) is to know which John Smith was which; it may well be that the 1825 entry is perhaps simply a quirk of the directory’s publisher, who omitted the “& Sonâ€￾ and assumed a different person. As a hypothesis, the name Smithson, chosen by Taylor Brothers for one of their many second quality lines, may have been the result of their taking over John Smith & Sons (Taylors started in 1837, and Smithson has not been recorded as a surname in the Sheffield metal trades).
    The 1822 address is probably residential, perhaps where the Coalpit lane JS lived.
    The 1827 address is known only from a plan of a saw business in the Sheffield Archives.
    The 1841 address in West Street is the same as that occupied by John Sanderson. The John Smith at Russell Street probably went on to the partnership with Wheatman.
    SMITH & WOODHOUSE
    Coalpit Lane 1809-1811
    Manufacturers of saws, fenders and cinder shovels [all of which drew on the use of rolled steel plate]. Smith probably continued alone at the same address alone in 1814 (see Smith above).

    Clear as mud??!!
     
  5. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

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    354
    Early Smiths

    Thanks Simon
    You 're right, clear as mud and I promise not not to ask about any more Smiths.hahahaha Do you think the "I." was a separate maker or a Secondary line of Smith and Sons?
    Joe S.
     
  6. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

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    Early Smiths

    A bit too early for secondary lines, I think. As far as I can remember the first signs of special names for secondary lines would be maybe post 1860 - but it's not something I've worked out, so please if someone has a firmer date I'd be very glad to read about it.
    On that subject, again as far as I can recall, only one manufacturer outside Sheffield issued named secondary lines of saws, and that was Aaron Atkin of Birmingham, who was a saw maker who left Sheffield because he couldn't get on with the heavily unionised (not un-ionised) labour force of his natal town. His second quality line was Betts, another Sheffielder-in-B'ham whose business he took over.
     
  7. Force

    Force Active Member

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    Hi Guys, thought i'd add spome pics of my early Smith to the thread, i'm guessing its the same Smith as Joe's table saw. Its pride and joy of my meagre collection and my oldest saw, hope you enjoy. Chris
     

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  8. fumehappy

    fumehappy New Member

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    Hello,
    I found this I. Smith saw recently and wanted to contribute to the thread as a second I. Smith example.
     

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  9. TobyC

    TobyC Most Valued Member

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    Nice! And welcome.
     
  10. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

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    Fumehappy's is a fascinating first for me – a genuine I (by which I read J) Smith handsaw, but at the same time a real puzzle. From its appearance I'd date it in the second half of the 19th cent – it wouldn't be inappropriate for 1880, I would guess, but none of the J Smiths I know about were functioning by that name alone after 1848. German Steel and the London pattern handle indicate a lower than top quality product, so I just wonder if the J Smith of Wheatman & Smith used this mark on that firm's second quality products. It has always puzzled me that W&S did not apparently have any lower quality lines, which would have made them extremely unusual in the Sheffield saw trade of the period – have we here the first sign that they did?? It's unfortunate that there are to my knowledge no catalogues of theirs.
    I'll look forward to hearing others' views on this one – and thanks for showing it to us!
     
  11. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

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    1,084
    Hello all,

    I thought that I would keep all the Smiths together and so I am putting this offering here.

    When I bought it, I didn't realise that it was a 16 inch saw and which is a bit of a bonus as, whilst not hen's teeth rare, they are not that common either.

    The Cast (dot) Steel must put it around the 1830 mark, but if you screw your eyes up and apply a lot of imagination, it is possible to see a very slight reclining of the rear part of the ampersand. That should, if it is the case, put it slightly further back - but not much I suspect.

    The handle is quite good except for a chip on the top horn, but it is not the size or shape of handle that I would associate with a late 1820's/early 30's saw. Particularly of this size.

    I am doing this as I write. I have just taken the handle off and there are 4 holes in the plate and so this is definitely not the original handle for the saw - never mind, but in another way it is good in that it shows that I am not always wrong in my WAGS.

    BSSM has a mark that is identical in wording to this but the the font is slightly different and it looks much more deeply struck into the back. It is dated at around 1830.

    Unless anyone has any objections I will therefore attribute it to John and Son.

    Fred
     

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    Last edited: May 12, 2016
  12. Force

    Force Active Member

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  13. Force

    Force Active Member

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    Well done Fred
    I was the under bidder on that one and glad it went to a good home, I'm more of a hand saw collector but when I saw it was a Smith, well I had to have a crack.
    Congrats on a great saw.... Chris.
     
  14. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

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    Hi,

    When I am an underbidder I often wonder just how high above the winning bid the bidder was prepared to go. I perhaps shouldn't say this as it may well disadvantage me on future bids, but I really wanted this one and my top price was a lot higher than that which got the saw.

    So, in a sense, apologies and commiserations, but tinged with relief on my part.

    Fred
     
  15. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    1,084
    I have had the notion that the ampersand is reclining slightly queried just recently and so I decided to take another look at it and to try to quantify it somehow.

    I have to admit that it, technically, is not reclining, but to me it still looks reclining slightly and I wanted to sort out why.

    upload_2016-5-14_11-36-58.png

    And here is the reason, I hope. If you look at the smaller rectangle, then the ampersand is upright, but if you look at the larger one you will see that the centre of the top loop is to the left of the centre of the bottom one, hence the illusion of reclining.

    Compare this to the obviously none-reclining one here where the centre of the top loop is to the right of the bottom one

    upload_2016-5-14_11-41-34.png

    and this virtually upright one.

    upload_2016-5-14_11-42-58.png

    On looking through the photo's of my saws I was hard pushed to find examples of ampersands on a maker's mark, that is in a straight line. I probably have less than 20 where the maker's name is so laid out.

    Curious!!

    Fred
     
  16. Gareth

    Gareth New Member

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    Hi Everyone I started collecting British saws about a year ago and one of the first ones i bought was a smith & son. I paid 5 bucks for it at a charity shop in Montreal. I have not done anything more then put a thin coat of wax on it so far. Im planning on getting back to workable condition (by which i mean able to do what made to do and rip wood not strip away every bit of patina from the handle and buff the plate to a mirror shine) this summer. I have read Simon Barley's "British Saws & Saw Makers From c1660" twice cover cover but this is all quite new to me so any and all advice/suggestions would be welcome IMG_20200311_130248_1.jpg .
     

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