Maker or dealer?

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by Barleys, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

    This is a poor saw, extremely light, with the thinnest brass back still able to support a blade, a wormeaten handle and certainly of no potential as a user today. But it raises the old question of how to know what its origins in London might be. The name Carter is far too common for me even to begin the process of looking on the site, and the only other source for examining London trade directories (apart from a limited number in Birmingham public library) is the Guildhall Library in London, which alas decided a few years ago that it would transfer all of its complete run to microfilm, and using these is almost a quicker way of losing the will to live than historicaldirectories.
    My guess is that it could have been made by one of the many very small-time operators in the furniture trades; in the 19th century that trade in London was extremely productive, and like others in London (eg clock and watch making) it was fragmented to a great degree, with men specialising in making just one part of, say, a chair, or a wooden box. The small number of tools needed for that micro-trade could be bought, or hired by the week, for hardly any money, and I can imagine this saw being issued by one such dealer for a man working in an attic or a cellar and scratching a bare living.
    But other ideas would be welcome. Thanks to everyone. Simon

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  2. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Just a couple of very improbable ones.

    There are no suitable ones in the 1808 directory.

    In the Post Office 1841 pt. 1 p.339, page 367H/D there is a James Wilson Carter who was a Coach Ironmonger.

    In the Post Office 1852 there is a Smith and Carter who are ironmongers of 25 Pavement Finsbury p.988 and p.848H/D with the Carter part being Henry Carter p.636 or p.149 H/D. Even I must say that this is an extremely long shot as I am assuming that the firm would have been Smith and Carter or Smith and Co.

    I haven't searched any others as the number of Carters recorded was increasing all the time, there is a gap until about 1880 and I don't think that this saw is that late.

    Having just spent a fair number of hours searching for Holbourn for Greyhound, you get immune to the tedium, and get a bit of insight in which page to randomly choose next:).

  3. David

    David Most Valued Member

    Hi Simon,
    Although you say the back is extremely thin, it's nonetheless brass. Would that be the material that would be used on a tool produced specifically for the bottom of the manufacturing world? The handle doesn't seem to show evidence of meanness in its manufacture (unless it's extremely thin as well). Assembled with split nuts rather than what I would assume would be cheaper rivets. And the maker proud enough to put his name on it? My vote is for the saw to have been made by a sawmaker, rather than a furniture trade jobber, even if it perhaps ended up by being lent out to a worker in the lowest part of the furniture manufacturing trade.
  4. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

    Thanks to Fred and David for those helpful comments: those long dark nights in Scotland must leave Fred with more time to search the directories than we midlanders can manage – but gosh, I'm glad he does. Maybe if one day another Carter saw turns up there may be material for triangulating it a bit better.
    The handle is indeed as mean and thin as the brass – almost toy saw thin-ness, and I can picture Mr Carter being able to buy in small saws like this at a very low price, even with a brass back, bearing in mind that traditional flush screws (aka these days as split nuts) are the fastest of all to finish, and hence I suspect the cheapest, with a few strokes of a rasp across beech and brass.
    Ultimately it's the feel of the tool in the hand that makes me down-grade it – the cheapness is palpable, but not really transferred to a picture.