Martin, and Warranted Superior

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by kiwi, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

    I found an 18" Martin backsaw last weekend.
    It came with a mitre box as a package deal, although it appears this is not an original pairing but only a marriage of convenience, and the only redeeming feature of the mitre box is its nice wingnut screws on the saw depth limiting brackets.
    What interested me about the saw was its new-to-me name of Martin, and Warranted Superior medallion withthe "George and the Dragon" motif
    Martin seems likely to be John Martin & Co, Wentworth Works, Wentworth St, who I found listed in various Sheffield directories from 1849-1862, generally as a steel manufacturer of files etc (only the 1862 entry seems to include mention of saws) HSMOB lists him as 1852-55
    The George and the Dragon style medallion was also new to my collection [see also Joe's nice Pacey & Armitage saw, with THREE of these medallions, that he posted today]

    The types of English Warranted Superior medallions I have are this type and versions of Lion-and-Unicorn crests. [sorry about the picture quality, maybe someone else can post some better examples]

    Does anyone know if various WS medallions are specific to certain time periods ? or manufacturers ?

    Attached Files:

  2. PeterEvans

    PeterEvans Most Valued Member

    Perhpas Martin only merchanted saws; here is an advert from White's 1856, showing a US branch - and indicating they were steel and file makers - and merchants.


    Attached Files:

  3. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Hello Kiwi,

    This saw is a bit of an enigma, but with an extreme amount of guessing (whether WA or not) we may get somewhere. Then again we may not.

    The style of mark (very simple) made me think originally that "Martin" may have been a brand name. But brand names frequently occur on cheaper saws and I don't think that this saw was cheap. I am assuming that the back is brass (the colour rendition on the photo makes it hard to tell), and you don't put three medallions on a cheap saw. (Really sticking my neck out here)


    A simple mark may also mean early. On taking a second look at the mark, there may be a dot between cast and steel. But before I get too excited, there is also a similar mark (dot/indent) before the "cast steel" and so this may be a red herring.

    If it is early, can we reconcile cast(dot)steel with the introduction of medallions. Possibly just if you push the introduction of the medallion back by a few years and take the cast(dot)steel slightly forward.

    This may then make the saw a Marshall Martin of 80 Scotland Street in Gell 1825 and 78 scotland Street in Whites of 1833. In Gell 1825 he is listed as merchant, factor, saw and cut nail manufacturer. In any event, cast (dot) steel or not, medallions would have been around in 1833 (ish). And these medallions certainly make a statement!! He appears to have vanished by 1841.

    So, do we (you) have a Marshall Martin??

    Public peer reviewing of this line of reasoning is welcome.:)

  4. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

    Hi Peter,
    Yes, I think its quite possible Martin got his saws from elsewhere, (or perhaps supplied someone else with some of the steel bits)

    Hi Fred,
    Some clarifications on my earlier rambling post

    The Martin saw has a steel back, three split nut fasteners, one of which is a medallion (with George&Dragon).
    There is a short hyphen between Cast and Steel (i e CAST-STEEL )
    There is a mark, below Martin and above the S of Sheffield, which is shaped a bit like a 1 on its side

    I confused the first post by going off to a general discussion on various other Warranted Superior medallions from other saws, and posted pictures of a couple, (and another here), as I am also interested in further general information on WS medallions.
    The three types I have are
    - George & Dragon
    - Lion & Unicorn with motto below, and a shield with motto 2 around it
    - Lion & Unicorn with motto below, but no shield etc

    Attached Files:

  5. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Hi Kiwi,

    I got a little carried away and in my mind amalgamated your Martin with the Pacey and Armitage medallions. Hence the drivel written subsequently.

    I am afraid that I can contribute nothing to the medallions debate as I only have the "standard" W/S on my saws and was unaware of the different styles. It is quite an eye-opener for me. It is however interesting to note that both your Martin and Pacey and Armitage are recorded in HSMOB as being from 1852 to 1855 which may tie in with the George and Dragon medallion if it is date critical and if John Martin is the maker.

    It is equally new and interesting to me to see cast(hypen)steel. I know that your interest is in the medallions, but is there any chance of seeing the saws that they are on (with maker's marks).

    When I get a bee in my bonnet it is very hard to get it out, and this particular bee is Marshall Martin. I must admit that the saw looks mid-C19th or post mid-C19th, but the cast (dot or hyphen) steel is still nagging in the back of my mind. That would (dot),or may(hyphen), make it earlier than your Martin of Wentworth Street. Are you convinced that he is the maker?

    Sorry to be a pain over this when I know that it is not your prime concern. But it does fascinate me.

  6. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

    Happy to oblige Fred, although it probably raises more questions than answers. (As this greatly expands the scope of the original post, maybe any detailed discussion of any particular saws below should be in a new thread ?)

    The Taylor saw (just plain Taylor, no initials) also has a hyphenated Cast-Steel. An interesting feature of the mark is the "V R" surrounding a crown, located above Taylor. (There are also three crowns around the main stamp, not in picture).
    Its possible that this handle is not the original one for this blade (fit is not exact)

    The J Taylor & Son seems to originally have had four medallions, but has only two remaining. The pins through the medallions are threaded and have split nuts on the reverse, (looks like an owner modification). The Sheffield mark is interesting in that it has lower case letters. (cast steel has no dots or hyphens)

    The WS medallion in my second post is from a c1940 backsaw with a heavy brass back, but no maker's identification remaining (maybe just a ghost of a partial etch). It had a boringly plain handle so I modified it by forming a hook, adding a couple of beads, and carving a crook (which should confuse any future collector ;) ) Its one of my "user" saws

    Regarding Marshall Martin, his dates seem a bit early to me for my Martin saw, (but that's just my WAG)

    Attached Files:

  7. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Thanks for the images. As you say, they raise a few questions.

    But I shall hi-jack your topic no longer by asking them.

    Lovely handsaws. I hope that you get the answers that you are looking for.

  8. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Medallion Makers

    Hi Fred, Kiwi,

    I'm late in joining this discussion, and I'm not sure of the time-line for the different Warranted Superior Medallions ( more correctly called Label Screws, I think I remember)

    The 1901 Trademarks listed Priest & Co as the holders of the trademark for "Warranted Superior", which struck me as being somewhat curious, as they are of the makers of the Medallions, not the saws as such.

    I posted this on the old-tools list a while back, and Don McConnell, kindly added more of the company history. Which I will quote here..

    Just so we're clear, I believe Ray is referring to the British "Warranted
    Superior" saw medallions which have the British Royal Coat of Arms in the
    center. And, yes it was the registered trade mark of, not one, but two
    different firms in succession.

    More on that in a moment, but I first wanted to outline the two over-
    lapping successions of firms which are related to this trade mark.

    The first succession goes something like this, as far as I've been able
    to reconstruct at present:

    INGLE & TRICKETT Sheffield <- 1822 - 1847
    24 West Street [1822 - 1825]
    17 Rockingham Street [1828 - 1837]
    51 Rockingham Street [1839 - 1847]
    ("Late Greaves and Ingle")

    INGLE, JOSHUA Sheffield 1849 ->
    51 Rockingham Street

    SMITH & CO., HENRY Sheffield <- 1852 - 1862 ->
    51 Rockingham Street
    ("Late Ingle & Trickett")

    SMITH, WILLIAM HENRY Sheffield <- 1879 - 1881 ->
    51 Rockingham Street

    These firms are listed as brass founders throughout, with the first
    mention of the making of saw screws in 1833. They were also listed as
    german silver founders beginning in 1849.

    The second succession of firms, goes something like this, at present:

    MOORWOOD & PRIEST Sheffield 1854 - 1856
    64 Scotland Street
    (Edwin Moorwood & Alfred Priest)
    PRIEST, ALFRED Sheffield 1857 - 1862 ->
    64 Scotland Street [1857]
    60 Pea Croft [1862]
    PRIEST & CO. Sheffield <- 1879 - 1925 ->
    Pea Croft Works, 60 Pea Croft [1879 - 1893]
    Pea Croft Brass Works, 60 Solly Street [1901-1905]
    188 Brook Street [1911]
    56 Eyre Street [1919 - 1925]

    These firms were also listed as brass founders throughout their tenure,
    and the manufacture of saw screws and german silver was mentioned from
    the start.

    As to the "Warranted Superior"/coat-of-arms medallion being registered
    as a trade mark, the earliest indication I've found of that is in 1879,
    in association with the William Henry Smith firm. These are links to
    the trade mark listing and an advertisement in the 1879 directory:

    What, Kiwi's question might come down to, is this, is there a corelation between the maker and the design of the "Warranted Superior" medallion.

  9. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

    Sorry (to mix metaphors) if I'm damping Fred's bee in his bonnet: Martin Marshall was the name - Martin first name, surname Marshall; entry in my list of saw makers as follows (although I suspect he only ever factored - that list of "manufactures" is suspiciously long):

    95 (80) (78) Scotland Street 1818-1837
    1821: merchant, factor, saw and cut nail manufacturer. Married into one of the Peace families.

    The Martin saw itself is a new mark to me - I agree that this steel maker would also have factored his saws.

    The George and Dragon was a regular medallion design, but much less common than the usual W/S type. It was always used by SSBrittain, and an extremely early example is on a back saw by Samuel Hill - about 1825.
    There is more than one type of W/S medallion with a coat of arms in it; the commonest by far is a composite, not a true coat of arms as would be recognised as such by the College of Arms in London, the centre being derived from the city of Sheffield's arms, which has 8 crossed arrows, with a sheaf (River Sheaf - Sheffield - geddit?) of corn on each side, and the lion and unicorn, with Dieu et Mon Droit underneath. If you get a lot of good examples and blow the photos up large, you can see there are a good many tiny variations on this design, indicating, I believe, that there were a lot of different makers of them. I can't explain how it was that one firm, as mentioned in Don's explanation, apparently came to be able to trade mark them. Did others get round it by the tiny variations?
    Then there are the true royal coats of arms, as illustrated in the original post with the Martin saw. They aren't very common, and were used mainly by Marsden Brothers (and their later emanations), who held a royal warranty for making skates for Prince Albert (husband of Q.Victoria).
    I have an unsubstantiated impression that Sheffield saws exported to the US [or Canada - sorry, Kiwi] were more likely to have multiple medallions, often of different sizes, rarely of different designs - is that the experience of others?
    I've not been able to date the usual type of W/S medallion prior to about 1860 - have others seen earlier examples?
  10. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

    Hey Kiwi et al
    Been a while since this thread first started but I guess we have another example of a Martin Marshall saw to be added to the list. Again found in Southern Ontario. It will never be used unfortunately due to the crack in the blade but we have enough that can cut wood if necessary. The couple of items that I find odd are the three fasteners on a relatively small 12 inch blade, esp. for an early saw and the use of the three crowns on the brass back. Why also is there the letter "I." before the sideways "M".
    Joe S.

    Attached Files:

  11. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

    Joe – do you think it may be possible that this is a saw by John [old style J as I] Martin, who I have as merchants and manufacturers of saws (and others) 1862-1864; there are definite earlier features than 1862, I think, apart from the J/I, such as the CastdotSteel, although there were other men of the Martin family in Sheffield industry earlier, and it is quite possible that John Martin was in business, and making or marking saws, earlier than his saw making dates. I hope to be able to check up on that supposition in a short while. (But it's a nice saw!)
  12. Rob English

    Rob English New Member


    Hello, this is my first time posting.

    I am cleaning up a British handsaw and curious about the finding a maker and age of the saw.

    It has the same medallion posted by Kiwi above (Warranted Superior 2.jpeg). The saw is apart and in the middle of cleaning so I don't have pictures yet, but I found the exact saw up for sale on eBay

    The saw I'm cleaning has the exact same tote and medallion, measures 26" with 8 ppi and the blade tapers by about 8 thousandths from the tooth line heel to the top edge of the toe. I uncovered no trace of an etch while carefully removing the rust from the blade and there is no stamp. It seems to have a nearly full size plate and should be a good user.

    I did see a very similar if not the same medallion in Simon Barley's previous book (image 42) giving just the date of 1930 for the medallion.

    I think these medallions may have been used by many saw makers so tracing the actual maker may be impossible. I just thought that'd I'd give this forum a try.

    Thank you in advance,