It is a Waller & Co. but is it THE Waller and Co.?

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by fred0325, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    1,084
    Hello all,

    The only Waller that HSMOB has is "Waller Co." for London Circa 1780. (This again is not from a directory but from "a saw in the hands of a collector").

    I suspect that this saw is nearer 100 years later than that. The blade is 8 " long and the split nuts are 1/2 inch diameter, which to my mind puts the saw as quite late. I also suspect that the bottom rear horn has been substantially truncated.

    The problem is that I cannot find Waller in any London, Sheffield or Birmingham directory as a saw maker. There is one blacksmith and an odd ironmaker/master but nothing to do with saws.

    Some of you have sources that I do not have. Can you have a look to see if the two companies are related and hopefully some approximate dates for either/both.

    Fred
     

    Attached Files:

  2. ilges71

    ilges71 Member

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    22
    I have the same problem with a panel saw. Only two screws can be an early feature.
    My Waller &Co lettering looks thinner. The o of Co is raised and there are strong serrifs to the letters, a feature I associate in other areas, such as printing, more with the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuary.

    Our camera lead is missing so cannot download pictures at the moment. I will be very interested if an answer can be found.

    Graham
     
  3. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    669
    Hi Fred, Graham,

    I've been pondering this one for a couple of days, and trying to come up with a plausible explanation for the apparent discrepancy.

    Here is my theory,

    Waller and Co were taken over by somebody, probably late 1780's and the ownership of the mark passed to whoever took them over.

    Then in the second half of the 19th century, when competition became fierce and makers started introducing secondary lines, then the unknown saw maker who now owned the mark, re-introduced the brand as a secondary product line.

    The saw is a genuine "Waller and Co" made by the company who owned the mark, but more likely 1880 than 1780.

    That explains why we can't find "Waller & Co", and seems to fit the general look and style of the saw.

    Also it might be difficult to document, since the new owner of the mark might wish to conceal the "real maker"

    Very interesting saw, you certainly have a talent for picking the good ones.

    Regards
    Ray
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  4. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    669
    Hi Fred, Graham,

    Another Waller, for comparison...

    This saw came up on a forum recently
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?158211-Joinery-saws

    The front of the cheeks look to have been altered, somewhat.

    Just going by style, I would be thinking 1800's

    Simple stamped Mark, rounded profile on the bottom of the spine, only 2 screws..
     

    Attached Files:

  5. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    1,084
    Hi Ray,

    You were probably right in the comments that you made on the linked website re an early 1800's date. This looks like it is much more related to the Waller of HSMOB than than it is to my saw.

    There are now, in effect 3 markings known with perhaps a variation for Graham's saw.

    The Sawmill Creek Waller London.
    HSMOB's Waller Co that they have for London C.1780
    My Waller & Co.
    and
    Graham's Waller & Co (with the raised "o"). Does it have a line underneath the "o" Graham?

    The first two seem to be much nearer to each other in date, with mine way later. The question is "What about Grahams"? Perhaps an intermediate between the first two and mine?

    I think that one of the problems here is HSMOB stating that theirs is 1780. It is perhaps possible, but unlikely that a Company would would go from using the "Co." marking to just using their name and then back to the "Co." marking again which would have to happen if the sequence was HSMOB, Sawmill Creek, mine/Grahams.

    Rationally speaking ( and I know little is rational in the area of saw dating), the progression, I would think should be "Waller" to "Waller Co." and which would make the Sawmill Creek saw earlier than/around 1780. Which, again perhaps it isn't and therefore argues against this reasoning.

    It could also be that HSMOB got it wrong for their marking as they possibly did with the entry for their Ericson saw as compared to my Ericson saw, or that the Sawmill Creek Waller's stamp did not strike the "Co." for some reason. (Very unlikely looking at the pictures). Or even (heresy of heresies), HSMOB's ascribed date is inaccurate.

    This however does not get us very far. It would be nice to see HSMOB's saw and so if anyone knows who has it, please ask them to post some pictures of it for comparison.

    One last thing, would the "London" at these earlier dates be a sign of quality or a place of manufacture and what are the implications (if any) for dating.

    Fred
     
  6. ilges71

    ilges71 Member

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    22
    Hi Folks.
    Sorry still no pictures of my Waller to download.
    My Waller is a panel saw. Two screws only, not atall sure it is as early as 1780. The o of Co is raised with no line under it. I tried using the scanner, but it is too light a stamping to show.

    I am concerned about some of the discussions on dating and perhaps there is a tendency to be too conservative and give falsely late dates within this forum.

    Firstly I have just bought an educational book from 1913. I have been teaching for over 30 years . Craft teachers are notorious for taking old paperwork and reusing it, often unsual to find the latest tools illustarted in worksheets etc. Now my point is that the saws shown in this 1913 teachers reference book clearly show round headed screws. This is at a time when for example the Preston catalogue shows flat headed screws. We must remember how catalogues were produced back then, with lead typeface etc. Any picture change needed a new picture to be drawn up and cast, thus the same picture would be used for years. I do wonder how accurate the method is which we are using. " I saw this picture in the such and such catalogue therefore at that date saws had this or that attribute" It may tend to make us give late dates.

    My experience is in collecting wooden planes. Others may or may not be aware of developments in moulding planes which took place largely up to about 1820, after that the style changed very little. By looking at a plane pre 1800 it is possible to date it within a couple of decades or even more closely. My point is that when style changed it seemed to be a pretty universal change. Agreed makers in more rural areas lagged behind to a fair extent. This suggests tool makers were fairly well aware of a need to keep their product up to date. How likely is it then that in this environment a maker would lag behind on the latest trends, such as new type screws, handle shape or blade marking methods.
    I accept that stamps used to mark wooden planes were used for years even when the company was taken over, but this could not have ben the case with saw blades. Wood can be marked for years with a steel punch without it wearing, but marking on steel is a different matter. A punch made in say 1780 would not have been a terribly hardwearing steel. Punching brass backs would have caused less wear than steel backs, but when you consider that a panelsaw is going to be made of steel which can be tempered, it is going to be harder than soft back steel. If the stamp is punched before hardeneing and tempering of the blade, there is the danger of it being faded by final cleaning. If the punch was applied to the tempered blade it would be tough and the punch would not last.

    It is therefore my suggestion that a punch would not have been used for a long time on saw blades before it needed replacing.

    Why was there a coversion to etched blades? More ellaborate designs certainly, but was punching unreliable and needing frequent punch replacement? I accept that etched may have been expensive to introduce, but superb as an advretising feature, so how quickly did companies jump on the bandwaggon of the new idea. If you did not your new punched saw would not have looked as good as your competitors etched blade and custom would have been lost quickly.

    Just a few ideas, which may give us an excuse for being brave and putting a slightly earlier date on some of our saws. Dating of wood planes based on style has been well established for a long time, we need to continue these discussions and try to agree on some more Fixed" points. We have a few in HSMOB, but the gaps are too big. We have 1780 for flat screws, 1910 for domed heads( which I doubt as discussed above) 1850 for etching. We need some style guides at intermediate points. Unless anyone is aware of any tool collectors groups working on this one, perhaps agreement needs to be sought amongst forum members so that we have something to work upon?
    We also need more information between us on dates for styles of medallions.

    Do we need a separate discussion thread for some of these issues? There is a discussion about one saw then about another and I am totally lost about where to refer back to find the very good point that someone else made!

    I hope my points are of some help to someone!
    A great discussion going on here. Please keep the great pictures coming in. I will find my wifes camera lead so I can download, but I cannot say when!!

    Graham:)
    Graham
     
  7. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

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    546
    Waller??

    This is an interesting thread; I have been puzzled about who Waller might be, and in the absence of positive information (catalogues, directories etc) I have assumed that it is one of the many names which the Sheffield industry adopted for their alternative lines,
    because
    1. The saws I've seen are always second (or worse) quality, which to me explains the two screws and the thickness of the wood (probably less than the 7/8 inches used on better quality saws).
    2. Second quality saws often had little information on them - cheaper to make.
    3. As the illustrations (if I get them to work) show, "Waller" could be either London or Sheffield - other firms did the same with their lesser quality saws, eg Spear and Jackson's John Cockerill line, and J Tyzack's Bowdon & Co line.
    4. & Co was adopted (as with Bowdon) to make it look better - it wasn't a separate company.
    I see that HSMOB assign their saw (I'd love to see it!) to 1780, but I haven't found any documentary evidence of a tool or saw maker of that name in London, and I wonder if it really is that early (4 crowns on a saw is not earlier than about 1820, I think).

    PS I haven't got the illustrations to work, so will try another way in.
    If I don't manage it, they are on two grafting saws of c1900, a toy saw of that date and a back saw of a bit later, maybe 1910. One is marked Sheffield, another London.

    Simon Barley
     
  8. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    669
    Hi All,

    Simon is having computer problems and has asked me to post these pictures to be read in conjuction with the previous post.

    The five pictures are.. I hope I've got these in the correct order ..

    [​IMG]
    8in backsaw c1900

    [​IMG]
    18inch handsaw c1890

    [​IMG]
    12in grafter c1900

    [​IMG]
    14in grafter c1900

    [​IMG]
    10in grafter ?toy saw c1900

    Regards
    Ray
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011
  9. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    669
    Hi All,

    Interesting dilemma, London or Sheffield, 1800 or 1900...

    I propose the following theory, to solve the "where's waller" puzzle

    My theory is that there are two Waller's

    One based in London in the early 1800's and the origin of the entry in HSMOB, which although listed as 1780, was probably more like 1820's
    This Waller, marked his saws with just "WALLER" "LONDON"

    The second, based in Sheffield, operating late 1800's through early 1900's
    and used the "WALLER & Co" mark.. Of course this later version might prove to be a secondary maker or a retailer's mark.

    Well, laugh if you must, it's just a theory... :)

    Regards
    Ray
     
  10. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    669
    Hi Graham,

    You raise many interesting and valid points,
    Are some suggested dates too conservative?
    No doubt in some instances, (just speaking for myself) I've been wrong so many times, I hate to think. Sometimes trying to guess a date for a maker who made saws over say 100 years, is easy, sometimes it's well nigh impossible. I hope that over time, the research and collecting of various data points will gradually build sufficient knowledge to do better.

    Regarding stamped marks versus etched marks, there is a paper by Simon published in TATHS, and reproduced here...
    http://www.wkfinetools.com/hUS-saws/z_reading/acidEtching_Saws/acidEtching-Simon2.asp
    Which may answer some of those questions. The marks were struck on the annealed plate prior to grinding and finishing processes, and did I believe often erode some of the detail of the marks.

    Nonetheless, marks would not last forever, there might be a fruitful line of research to track down the records of the various firms of mark makers.

    Do we need a seperate thread to discuss these issues. ...
    Yes, you are correct, sometimes these little gems get hidden in non-related threads, but that's often just the luck of the draw.

    I have been thinking of some kind of a timeline of features that set lower bounds on features... but still haven't come up with a good way of showing all the data..

    Interesting questions..

    Regards
    Ray
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011
  11. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    546
    Waller


    Ray is too kind: "Simon is too dim to know how to operate his computer" is what he should have said.
    Thanks, Ray!
     
  12. ilges71

    ilges71 Member

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    22
    In another life I am a stamp collector and also an engineer. One of the sad things we do with early stamps is look for minute differences caused by wear to the metal plates, so you can tell if the plate used was new, worn and even repaired. This helps me distinguish between dates of printing for the stamps and appeals to my engineering eye for detail.

    Clearly there are 5 different Waller die punches being used, I am not sure if my saw relates to any of these, so maybe 6.

    The first punch mark shows the end of the W missing. There are very slight irregularities of the level of the letters or in letter spacing. It may be necessay to measure the length on the name very accurately.

    My point is that with more detailed observation of the stampings it may be possible to detect how many similar looking punches can actually be identified, it may even be possible to detect wear of the punches. If we find there are many punches used by a not too common maker, then we would know if, as I suspect, punches did not last for very long. This being the case, if one saw could be reasonably accurately dated, then another saw with the same punch mark could be dated to the same time.

    This might help decide if a saw was likely to be stamped with the previous owners name after a take over. Less likely if the original punches had worn out fairly quickly.

    To build up this sort of data it might be necessary to measure the exact length of a name to a millimeter and the height of the letters possibly to half mm. If it was deemed worth while, then perhaps everyone submitting a photo could include these details?

    Does accurate observation of screw head diameters get us anywhere? Can dates be assigned to certain sizes, or can quality be assigned to certain sizes?

    Does anyone take screws apart to check the threads? Using the fact that screw cutting methods changed from filed by hand, through using a die, to screw cutting on a lathe and in the 20th C rolled threads I wonder if it is possible to distinguish the thread cutting method, has anyone tried?

    Similarly I wonder if the cut across the nut can help with ageing? My late 19th cent saws seem to have a saw cut straight through the centre of the nut. I have some saws which I suspect are earlier, where the saw cut is not always through the center of the nut.

    Basically what I am suggesting is that looking at very small details of the engineering side of the manufacture might help give us clues which could help confirm date ranges.

    Does anyone feel there is any possibility that this sort of approach could help?


    Graham
     
  13. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    1,084
    Hello Graham,

    I think it is a fascinating idea and it could work if--------------

    A number of years ago I was employed as what I would describe as a professional pessimist looking for weaknesses in security systems, mechanical, technical and human (before computers took over the world completely). When I look at something I look at why it won't work and then try to fix it.

    I had a similar idea but with saw handles and the overriding problem is in many different people providing excruciatingly accurate measurements, even more accurate if you are looking at the variations in name stamps, particularly when it comes down to quantifying wear. Also people who are not committed to what you are doing, will not do it, or will do it in a slipshod and inaccurate way. ( And that is the polite way of putting it). If you want to do something like this you have to do the majority of it yourself and leave the very minimum for others to do. Make it easy for your image contributors. Make it foolproof.

    In principle it could be done, and done quite simply. All you have to do is to put a scale ( a sufficiently finely graduated ruler/measure ) on the photograph provided and then find a computer program that you can set to that measure, and that will then scale and measure the object that you are looking at. Also as I found with saw handles, ideally you need very high resolution photographs to get the detail. This site was not then able to accommodate them, I don't know about now.

    I am an electronic technophobe, but I am sure that such programs exist - at a price. You then, of course have to put the work in to collate the information.

    You then need accurate benchmark dates upon which to base your dating process. This is a problem. As we have seen, agreement on dates for saws is not always universal.

    It could be done comparatively within a brand by saying that the stamp on saw A is a later/earlier variant of saw B, or a different stamp altogether but that does not get us very far without an accurate timeline.

    I agree with you also on the variations in saw nuts and methods of manufacture and this may provide a more reliable measure of age/manufacturing processes than stamps, but no-one but the very brave or foolish takes brass split nuts off saws. They break.

    I don't know about cuts in split nuts. In principle you could probably narrow cuts down to individual saw blades if you put in the time and money to look at it properly, but that is almost certainly not going to happen.

    I think that my pessimism has got the better of me. I cannot see a fix that would work in practice. As I finished a couple of threads ago--

    All refutations gratefully received,

    Fred
     
  14. ilges71

    ilges71 Member

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    22
    Hi all and Fred,

    I agree with all your comments, Fred. And thanks for the warning, I have never been brave enough to touch brass screws, so will not bother trying to undo them unless I get a really dead saw.

    I was thinking in terms of making measurements and listing them with the photo, then there is no need accurate pictures. I was not clear in my post, I was thinking of studying just one manufacturer, with the view of tying dates of stamps in with other features.

    Something has to be done to clear up some of the doubts with accurate and serious research, otherwise in 20 years we will still be no further forward in which features are appropriate to which date.

    This research has been done with wooden planes. All we have for saws is the one book, which contains no evidence other than a referenece to an unknown saw or an undefined directory entry. With planes the book by Mark and Jane Rees has illustrations of very many known makers marks and detailed information on many makers.

    The forum is full of questions about the accuracy evidence in this book, mostly because the evidence is new and in the form of photo's of saws.

    The book states crowns over the maker name are from about 1800, yet only the other day there was a post from someone saying crowns over the name are from 1820. This is immediately pushing back the date of early saws by 20 years, which may be distorting dates of certain features.

    Regarding brass screw diameters, I am sure I have read in the forum of variation of diameters with time, but could not find it again.

    Ray would it be possible to have a section in the forum with advice on dating from the known evidence. There is far more dating evidence within this forum than anywhere else. The fairly certain features could be in one list, then another list with appropriate cautionary comments?

    I look forward to further comments

    Graham
     
  15. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    669
    Hi Graham,

    I like your idea, of trying to establish timeline that can be refined and adapted over time... I'll see what software tools might be suitable.

    We already know what some of the key features are, let me see if I can come up with a way of making it interactive in some way.. (I'm thinking of a graphical presentation, that anyone can edit, a bit like wikipedia..

    Regards
    Ray
     
  16. ilges71

    ilges71 Member

    Messages:
    22
    At last I have found the camera lead so here are pictures of my Waller &Co.
    I cannot get them to load into the forum so they are in my Gallery.
    Afraid the name stamp is fairly light and even careful back lighting has not brought it up well enough.

    It is very close to the stamp used on the 14 inch Grifter, but htere are tiny differences in The left serriff of W is pronouced on the 14" on mine it is not. The center of the A is also stamped on the 14" on mine the centre of the A is clear. The position of the o of Co on the grifter is just lower than the top of the other letters on mine it is exactly level.

    I will either try to get a smoke image or another better picture of mine.

    Graham
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  17. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    669
    Hi Graham,

    I'll try to insert that image here..

    [​IMG]

    First impressions are that it looks like an early 19th century, just two screws and London Pattern handle with flat horns (aka london flat)

    But, as we have seen recently similar features appear on lower quality late 19th early 20th century saws. (I'm thinking of the 1917 Taylor Bros that Fred posted).

    I note the screw heads have sunk slightly into the handle, which, according to my (unproven) theory, is an indication that the saw was in use over a number of seasonal cycles of high/low humidity.

    The lack of detail on the lambs tongue, and sharp features in the handle shaping, make me inclined to lean towards thinking it's likely to be the later date.

    It's still in remarkable condition considering it's at least more than 100 years old.

    Regards
    Ray