F Brittain

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by lui, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. lui

    lui Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    77
    Hi all,

    As I've mentioned before I don't collect Backsaws, it's hand saws for me, and refining the point further, large rip saws. In fact if it's less than 26" I tend to skip past them. (There are always exceptions)

    All that being said I can still appreciate any saws, or tools of quality.

    One of my team at work brought in a bucket of old tools for me, he knows I like old tools and these were going to be thrown in the dingle on the farm, I think most farmers have a dumping ground for all the stuff they don't want anymore.

    Well the bucket consisted of a couple of spoke shaves, some knackered hand drills, some keyhole saws, table saws etc, what jumped out at me straight away was a very dirty and rusty F Brittain. Unmistakable with the decorative medallion.

    So now I'm the proud owner of a lovely 14" F Brittain, a little cleaning up and as you can see she's a real beauty. There is a small chip and a split in the handle I need to resolve, but that's minor.

    I told my colleage that it was a really collectable saw, but promised that I wouldn't sell it on. He thought that it belonged to his granddad, but I said it predated him, and would try and pin a date down.

    I don't think F Brittain worked for that long, is the medallion pattern datable?

    I'm now concerned that I may end up starting to collect backsaws, have I started down the slippery slope?

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    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
  2. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    1,084
    Hi Lui,

    Of the three Brittain medallions posted on this site, this is the best one yet. I wonder if the change of pattern and ornateness progressed as the years went by, or whether they put different ones on different saws just for the sake of novelty or change. (Although I don't think that the Victorians would have done much just for the sake of it). There are probably reasons which we will never know.

    The saw has also "scrubbed up" very well. It really is a joy to see.

    The slope to backsaw collecting may be slippery, but it is a very enjoyable slide and so I suggest that you just enjoy it - even though it is a little harder on the pocket than collecting only handsaws.

    Enviously,
    Fred
     
  3. lui

    lui Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    77
    Hi Fred,

    There are now 5 medallions on the website, all different.

    I posted some pics in an earlier thread of a saw I don't own. That medallion happens to be my favourite. (Currently page 5, half way down)

    One of the medallions looks relatively basic, and therefore I assume earlier.

    [​IMG]

    It would be nice to see lots more, but I suspect that it would still be impossible to create a time line.

    They're one of the more interesting saw makers.

    Cheers

    lui
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
  4. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    668
    Hi Lui, Fred,

    That geometric medallion design is spectacular. I'm sorry Lui, there's no hope for you now, the slippery slope has got you! :)

    Back to dating, Frederick Brittain, purchased Samuel Swan Brittain in 1868, they merged with Marsh Brothers in 1918.

    It looks like a good quality saw, maybe top of the range. I'd hazard a guess it's 1890's, plus or minus..

    It would be interesting to see if their medallion designs could be dated by the artistic style, I get a distinct "art nouveau" impression, which would fit nicely with the 1890 to 1910 time period.

    Regards
    Ray
     
  5. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    1,084
    Hello all,

    I've piggybacked this onto Lui's topic as my saw is no great shakes and it is possiby best to keep the images together.

    There is little to be said for he saw except to say that it is not a wonderful example and is not a "user" saw by any means. But still, it is the first Brittain backsaw that has come withing my price range. My saw is the one in the first two pictures.

    And the medallion is different to all the others on this site. Has anyone ever seen a duplicated one? They must have done different ones for different productrion runs/time periods.

    I also take this opportunity to put on a saw that I failed to get on Ebay some time ago. I was not too unhappy however as it looks to me that the saw has been acid dipped or treated. I asked the seller and got a very nice reply but without my question being answered. I would have to be very pushed to buy an acid treated one.

    The reason that I put it on is that the medallion is not the normal patterned one. I initially thought that it said W/S, but on a second look the word at the bottom seems to be Sheffield. Has anyone seen this before and would it help with dating.

    On the subject of which and to be half serious for a minute, the crown stamped on the back is a King's Crown (I can hear the groans from here) if ever there was one, styalised or no.

    Which must put it at post 1901.

    Fred
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    546
    The only firm that used medallions anything like this - I can add three more (or at least I can feebly ask Ray to add them for me) plus confirming the St George and Dragon medallion as appearing on other Brittain saws (both F and SS).

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    As for dating, the capitals+lower case of Sheffield and Cast Steel is usually around the 1860 mark, but if I'm feeling in a pessimistic mood, how on earth does anyone know that this individualistic firm didn't use this style much later (up to about 1890)?

    I evidently need to bring the entry [previously as below] in my manuscript up to date, and would ask if I can please use the illustrations on this site (with acknowledgement)?

    "BRITTAIN, Frederick SHEFFIELD
    102 Wellington Street 1864-1866
    St George’s Works, Shoreham Street 1876-1887
    1879: merchant, and manufacturer of steel, saws, files and tools. An influential Sheffield industrialist, and part of a large and ancient extended family of Sheffield manufacturers, many bearing the forename Swann; he was a member of a delegation that went to America in 1877 to look into possible causes of “Sheffield’s declineâ€￾, and wrote an influential report on their visit. The decorative medallions are unique to this maker, and appear on both his hand and back saws; there may well be other patterns not so far recorded."
    "BRITTAIN, HOOLE & Co SHEFFELD
    5 Arundel Lane 1833-1837
    Samuel Swann Brittain and Henry Hoole: saw, file and calico web manufacturers, and steel refiners.
    BRITTAIN, Samuel Swann & Co
    St George’s Works, 9 Shoreham Street 1841-1954
    1841: saw manufacturers, steel converters and refiners. 1862: manufacturers of edge tools, files, saws etc, and converters and refiners of steel.
    Part of a large Sheffield extended family (including many butchers). In 1868 bought by F.Brittain, and in 1918 by Marsh Brothers, but the premises were kept on under the old name, even though entries as saw makers were not consistently present in every directory for the period. The similarity between the marks of the two main Brittain firms is not surprising".

    Two other saw makers surnamed Brittain are briefly in the directories, but I've not seen any examples.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2011
  7. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    668
    Hi All,

    I've added the medallion pictures to Simon's post.

    There's something about the simple geometric designs that is very appealing, no company name or branding. Very elegant and a little understated.

    Regards
    Ray
     
  8. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    1,084
    Simon,

    As per an earlier e-mail, you can use anything that I put on this site, attribution or no. The last two of the 4 that I put on are snaffled off e-bay and so I cannot say anything about those.

    It must be a bit of a job doing updates. We must make every effort to keep you busy!!

    Fred
     
  9. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    371
    Hey all;
    Ray and Simon, I can only second Fred's wishes when it comes to "attributions or no" with anything that I have submitted to this forum. I am just a temporary "caretaker" of the saws, probably just like the rest of you unless you know something I don't know. There is a lot of great work being done and to me the knowledge is priceless. I saw that the book will be delayed a little so as Fred says "We must make every effort to keep you busy". I know there is lots more stuff which some of us may even have.
    Joe S.