Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by Joe S, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

    Hey Ray, et al
    I know this is a messed up saw, but for five bucks resistance was futile even though there is a need for precious space. This is a shortened steel back saw. Nine inch now from what was probably a 14 or 16 " saw. The stamp would most likely have been centered. (unless you were Howel). The closed beech london pattern handle has 2 fasteners that have probably also been changed some years ago. They look like rivets that have been pushed through small brass washers.
    The stamp says "I. H. Sorby Sheffield German Steel". I know we have discussed the Sorbys over the years and when I first saw it I remembered that the I H Sorby name was a secondary line for the Lockwood company and it was used on many of their products, not just saws. This one was different. I don't remember seeing German Steel with the dot between the words but this may not be unusual since memory is a fickle thing now. I am interested if anyone else has an example. Does this saw predate the Lockwood eras?
    Here are some pics, enjoy.
    Joe S.

    Attached Files:

  2. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Hi Joe,

    Without wishing to talk to grandmothers about eggs, HSMOB has I and H Sorby as a mark of John Sorby and Sons (1822 to 1855) of Spittal Hill up to 1829 only. I never realised that this mark was that early, I will look at the Ebay ones in a different light from now on.

    Although it is HSMOB and how he/they got this date is unclear and I am not sure that I entirely believe it.

    But, as for your saw, the dot in German Steel (where is the envy icon Ray) may well put it early and in line with the dot in Cast Steel. Either that or, because it was an export saw the dot may be an imitation of later Disston punctuation, although I hope not and don't really think that it is.

    So it is probably a proper Sorby and not a Lockwood (1855 onwards).

    Once again, a class saw irrespective of its age and possible truncatedness.

  3. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

    I&H Sorby

    Nice one, Toby! And the earliest of this line that I've seen.
    The dot between words might just have hung on (or, to be a real spoiler, they could have been using a punch they'd had for a decade or two) until about 1840. Hard to tell when it's been messed about with. Hope this potted history is helpful:

    SORBY, John & Sons SHEFFIELD
    Spital Hill 1811-1852
    (Occupation road, Spital Hill in 1841)
    Spital Hill Works 1854 & 1887
    The name Sorby is one of Sheffield’s most famous: the first Master Cutler was Robert Sorsby, consistency in spelling not being as important in 1624. John Sorby is first listed in 1797 as a shear maker, using the golden fleece mark, which looks like a hanging sheep; he was Master Cutler in 1807. After his death in 1829 his two sons, John and Henry (hence I. & H. Sorby) took over. Their sister married William Lockwood; he and John Sorby senior were listed as factors together in Arundel Street in 1817. In 1821 Sorby & Sons had moved to Spital Hill, and were listed as merchants, factors, edge tool, brace, bit, saw, spade and shovel manufacturers; 1841: merchants, and edge tool, joiners’ tool, sheep shear, garden tool, file, saw, spade and shovel manufacturers.
    Even though they chose to be listed with the saw makers as early as 1821, edge tools and not saws were always the main product of this firm. In 1844 they were absorbed by Lockwood Brothers, who retained the Spital Hill address, and the Sorby name and marks, for an unknown number of years thereafter. This firm has to be distinguished from Turner, Naylor, who used the name I Sorby and the trade mark Mr Punch.
    Two other famous members of the family were Henry Clifton Sorby (grandson of John Sorby above, who was the great-great-great grandson of Robert, and himself a Master Cutler), who was a distinguished metallurgist, giving his name to sorbitic steel (see chapter 3), and playing an important part in the establishment of Sheffield University. Robert Hadfield, father of one of the most famous British metallurgists of the 19th century, started his working life as an apprentice at Robert Sorby.
    I am indebted to Geoff Tweedale and Jeff Warner for much help in untangling this complex family.
    NB: there was never any man called Isaac Sorby.