Finding Woollin

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by shoarthing, Mar 19, 2022.

  1. shoarthing

    shoarthing Most Valued Member

    Woollin sashsaw face.jpg Woollin sashsaw back.jpg Woollin sashsaw stamps.jpg

    . . . as a contrast to fred's lovely neat Woollin backsaw; here's a WOOLLIN&CO-stamped sashsaw, in the distressed condition in which it arrived here last Summer.

    The 14 ¾" plate & its back are straight & tight to each other, tho' no longer tight in the handle - as you see, the fastenings have not been touched for a long time, if ever.

    Goodness knows which handle-maker formed that stylish recurve, behind bold cheeks - a possible resemblance might be to some later Saml Newboulds, as gathered by Joe S & David, &/or to late Barber & Genn? . . . Jonathan Woollin (& Thomas Smith Hodgson, the likely “& Co.”) were certainly well acquainted with Frank Barber - he appointed them as his executors in his final Will of December 26th 1811.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2022
  2. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Interesting handle shape. I suspect you are correct about the Sam Newboulds connection, maybe a common handle maker?

    Thanks for posting.

    shoarthing likes this.
  3. shoarthing

    shoarthing Most Valued Member

    . . . thank you . . . impossible of course to take firm dates from style; but I do have a few (documented) points on a timeline, that might help establish a date-range for saws marked: "Woollin & Co.":

    Prior to 1808, Jonathan Woollin & his close colleague Thomas Smith Hodgson traded within a co-partnership called: "Fowler, Woollin, & Hodgson" - first recorded as "fine scissor-makers" (in Volume 4 - c1795 - of The Universal British Directory); then as "merchants" (a social notice in an 1801 periodical), then as referees to a school, advertising in an 1804 issue of the Manchester Mercury, latterly as "factors & manufacturers, 38 West bar" in the Sheffield entries in Holden's Triennial 1805/6/7 Directory. This, in the shorthand of the time, could have been: "Fowler & Co." or "Fowler, Woollin, & Co."

    In late 1808, Hodgson & Woollin each became co-partners in an established & successful Sheffield Plate (rolled silver-plate) co-partnership - this typically would require each of them to come up with a considerable capital sum - a four-figure sum. This co-partnership was initially known as: "Blagden, Hodgson, Kirkby, Elliott, & Woollin" - or, in short: "Blagden & Co." or "Blagden, Hodgson, & Co." or "Blagden, Hodgson, Kirkby, & Co."

    This co-partnership's trade-card is preserved in the British Museum, dating from 1814 or before - (copyright (c) The Trustees of the British Museum):


    The name is given as: "Blagden, Hodgson, Kirkby, & Co." - but this is not a dating-clue, since the executors to Blagden (d. 1809) & Kirkby (d. 1812) maintained their interests (thus names) in the co-partnership. A London address, off Fleet Street, is given for their "Sheffield Warehouse" & this address is confirmed by entries for "Blagden (spelt Blagdon), Hodgson (spelt Hodson), Kirkby & Co." in the 1811 Holden Directory, then, as: "Blagden & Co." in Johnstone's Directory of 1817 . . . #136 can be seen on Horwood's street plan, immediately West of St. Bride's:


    The key deal with this trade-card is its reverse (copyright (c) The Trustees of the British Museum):


    . . . this second co-partnership, plausibly dating from late 1808 onwards, could have been shortened to: "Woollin & Co."

    A last data-point is a mid-1811 contract of indenture (they're taking on an adult apprentice) for the extended co-partnership of: "Woollin, Hodgson, & Middleton" . . . the Middleton being William Middleton, Woollin's much younger brother-in-law; born at the end of 1789. The Middleton family were rich, and - tho' William was *not* a Hallamshire cutler by served apprenticeship (both Woollin & Hodgson were) - it is a plausible narrative that he brought capital into the Woollin/Hodgson partnership upon attaining his adulthood in late 1810. "Woollin, Hodgson, & Middleton" would likely be shortened to "Woollin & Co."

    Hodgson died in late 1819, with the co-partnership dissolved on January 1st 1822; and from 1820 I have found no documented evidence that Woollin - then in his 50s - operated as anything but a sole trader (bar continuing his interest in Blagden & Co., until it was dissolved in 1833).

    While making no claim to a narrative based on the above being engraved in stone; I feel it's plausible that: "WOOLLIN & CO." stamped into a saw-back dates within the decade 1810-1820 . . . . & would be glad to hear contrary views, with their reasoning.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2023
    David likes this.