How much would Brunel have paid for his saws?

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by AndyT, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. AndyT

    AndyT New Member

    Hello from a new member on the forum, long time lurker and learner with only a few saws to my name.

    I happened across a link to a nice saw price list recently. It's from the big London tool merchant John Moseley and Sons, who certainly described themselves as "Saw Manufacturers" even if they were really just factors.

    The list in question is preserved because it was pasted into IK Brunel's "Fact Book" for 1829-44 which was a note book in which he kept notes of prices for goods or work needed in building the Great Western Railway. The Brunel Archive has been digitised by the University of Bristol and published online, where amateur historians are free to fossick about beside the professionals.

    This link should lead to a page by page listing of the book in question 188#HERE

    and this link should give you the Saws page of the Moseley list'saws')

    while this gives other important tools - ie planes.'DM162/8/2/5/folio 188a')

    There were a few things I noticed and have already asked Simon about.

    Looking up each type of saw in BSSM, I saw his note about "Breaking Out Webs" and their purpose being unclear, so I hunted around on Google Books search and found several illuminating instances where the context made the meaning clear. It seems to mean the process of cutting up a large baulk or board into the specific pieces needed to make something. This would have been a skilled job to do without producing too many unusable offcuts, but as every surface would be later refined by planing or cutting to exact size, it would have not needed a fine saw. So I deduce that a breaking out saw was a framed saw with fairly coarse teeth, but with a wider blade than a turning saw, for making straight cuts with or across the grain. The sizes go up to what could be used by one man, framed up like the modern continental frame saws, but I guess that the sizes over 30" may have needed a different sort of frame.

    I expect that others on here will already have worked this out, but thought that the price list was worth sharing. I also noticed that it lists 16 New Street as being the address for the saws department, as distinct from 17-18 for the rest of the shop.

    [I found the list from a blog entry here which I thoroughly recommend - it shows that the best bit of Moseley's New Street tool shop survives, and is now a Waterstones bookshop. A quick look on Street View shows that the saw department now sells Mexican food.:(]
  2. shoarthing

    shoarthing Active Member

    Links dead, alas; but here’s the price-list from C1831-37

    Last edited: Dec 27, 2021