J Shaw & Co Quebec

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by Joe S, Apr 17, 2020.

  1. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

    Ray et Al.
    I must admit I don't get excited about merchant saws but this saw was a little different from all the rest. UK and American 19th and 20th century merchant saws aren't really considered all that rare. It was easy enough to have a saw factored by a large maker and then have a stamp or etch specifically made for your business and have these sold to promote and advertise the business. In Ontario I have have found lots of wooden planes stamped with Mathieson and Varville and the the merchant stamp also located on the plane. It seems that merchant saws in Canada aren't quite as frequent and I only have a couple of Montreal etched merchant saws made by American saw manufactures. This little Quebec saw is a first.
    This 9 inch open handled brass back has been cleaned unfortunately and probably has had some of it's origins removed. There are no markings other than the very distinct J Shaw & Co Quebec Cast Steel. The wonderful beech handle has no chips but the two brass screws have been replaced with later versions. It would seem to have had flush split screws as these don't fit well enough to say they were original. I think that this was made by a UK maker just by the shape and quality of the handle. Early American makers open handled saws invariably had a sharp pronounced beak and the stylistic flare present on this handle is a mature refinement. I may get in trouble with that generalization but I don't see those qualities in the examples I have that the big American makers produced at that time.
    Research into the history of J Shaw sent me down a rabbit hole of Numismatic research I have absolutely no knowledge of. Any google search continued to lead me a Token they had produced starting in about 1837 for their store. It seemed it also was a money maker where you could make you own currency and lighten the copper to advantage, advertise your wares and make sure the customer had to keep coming back to redeem them. Brilliant. Early gift cards. I include the old link to Canadian Coin News of Oct of 2014 of the history of the coins and some of the history of the currency controversy that Shaw brought upon themselves. The coin has a group of tools stamped on the reverse side which was part of the controversy since it didn't have a legitimate crown. There is a saw so it is site relevant. hahahaha.
    see page 9 !! https://canadiancoinnews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/09/CCNV5213_.pdf
    I have also included an advertisement that I was able to locate in a business directory out of the Toronto Library of Quebec in about the 1870's. I don't have any data when they finally ceased to exist as J Shaw&Co. Anyone with more knowledge I would love to hear from.
    So.... merchant stamps from any Canadian makers I would love to see, esp Ontario. They are like hen's teeth.
    Joe S.

    Attached Files:

  2. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for posting that Joe, the idea of issuing tokens seems like Mr Shaw was ahead of his time in customer loyalty schemes. Very sweet looking saw too,
    I note the comments about cleaning and the likely replacement screws, I think if you look past that and see that it's a real gem. Probably unique.
  3. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

    Gorgeous handle Joe, nice research also to track down that advertisement.
  4. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

    Nice saw Joe. S J Shaw & Co seem to have been in operation for quite some time as they are still listed as hardware suppliers to government entities in the Quebec sessional papers 1879, 1886, 1887 (google search under "books")
    Only etches, no stamps, on my Canadian Merchant saws, with my favorite being a Spear&Jackson backsaw with a DeLisle Bros & McGill etch from 1860s/70s , (I also have a selection of more modern handsaws with Canadian Merchant etches and/or medallions) P1040959.JPG P1040960.JPG P1040959.JPG
  5. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

    Ray et al.
    Thanks everyone. It is a nice saw. Ray, the company seems to have an interesting existence.
    Rob, that is another nice saw and I see it has been fixed to a very nice display. The only examples from the province are also from Montreal. I wonder if the province never accepted the traditional British tool system and carried on in the French traditional cultural styles they were accustomed to outside of Montreal. The roots of a very old and proud tradition would use typical French methods and tools and British styles weren't as acceptable. There were a few plane makers that set up in Montreal and down in the eastern sections close to the Atlantic and US borders. So very few examples remain. More digging might be needed.
    Joe S.