Patterson German Steel

Discussion in 'Saw Pictures and Measurements' started by toolfrank, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. toolfrank

    toolfrank New Member

    This is a 14" backsaw from the early 1800's, would be my guess.

    The Shaffer and McConnell book on English makers doesn't list Patterson, nor does Shaffer's last book on North American makers. My other guess is that it is English. There would be very few American makers at this time.

    Can anyone out there shed more light on this saw?

    Attached Files:

  2. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

    I think this has to be from the U.K., as only one Patterson is listed in America and they were in San Fransisco from 1863-1866.

    The reason is that German Steel was used around 1820, so that pre-dates the American Patterson.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  3. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member


    I have done a cursory search of the on-line directories and can find no "Patterson" as a saw maker in any that I have looked at, although I have concentrated only on Yorkshire, Sheffield, Birmingham and London pre 1850.

    The nearest that I can come up with is a Joseph Wyman Patterson in the 1841 Post Office directory of London. There are two entries:-

    Almy Patterson and Co. America Merchants at 17 Ironmonmger Lane p. 294 and

    Joseph Wyman Patterson p. 509 at the same address and same occupation.

    It is a bit of a stretch of the imagination, but a little while ago I put on here a saw by Slack Sellars and Graysons that had a medallion for Greaves, who styled himself as an American Merchant, so I cannot see why a firm trading as such should not completely mark a saw destined for export with their firm's name.

    The saw definitely looks pre 1830 - ish with the simple stamp low on the chamfered back. It may be a lot earlier still, but I cannot find any London directories between 1808 (no Pattersons present then) and the 1841 directory. It depends how long they were in business for.

    Anyway lovely saw and a good find. I will keep on looking for Pattersons elsewhere and more directly related to sawmaking.

  4. mattsworld

    mattsworld Member


    I have a "Patterson" saw with the identical mark as the one pictured...and I have seen at least two others. They all have the London pattern tote and are backsaws in the 12 to 14 inch size.

    I always assumed mine was the Patterson referred to in HSMofNA, as the style and vintage fit (mid-19th c.)
  5. Araldite

    Araldite Guest

    Patterson Backsaw

    I also have a Patterson backsaw marked in the same way except mine says "cast steel". Mine has the classic London pattern closed handle right down to the 3" flat on the bottom, which Phil Baker says is very common to Sheffield.

    The J. Patterson in HSNofNA is James Patterson who partnered with Charles Sheffield to form the Pacific Saw Mfg. Co. in San Francisco (also referenced by Schaffer) and who you can read about at under US saws. It's possible Patterson made some saws with only his name on them but I think it's unlikely. More probable is that the Patterson saws were made by W. K. & C. Peace, Eagle Works, Sheffield. The publication "Trademarks on Base-Metal Tableware" ( on Base-Metal Tableware.pdf) shows Patterson to be one of the trademarks of W. K. & C. Peace. Additionally, the book "Some 19th Century English Woodworking Tools" by Kennith Roberts has on page 63 a copy of an advertisement by W. K. & C. Peace in which it says "Sole makers of the goods marked ........ and J. Patterson". So based on that I believe they were made by W. K. & C. Peace.

  6. need2boat

    need2boat Most Valued Member

    Hey Vince,

    thanks for sharing the document. Great resource.

  7. spanner48

    spanner48 New Member

    BSSM says that 'Patterson' was a trade name for William Kirkby & Charles Peace, of the Eagle Works in Sheffield. They were active in sawsmithing from before 1859 through to the 20th century.

    There are a number of signs that the saw is early:

    • The use of "German Steel". Although it had at the beginning of the century been a mark of quality, by the 1850's it had been outclassed by the new 'Cast Steel'
    • The rounded bottom edge to the spine: this became first: chamfered and later: square during the latter half of the century
    • The positioning of the maker's name right at the bottom of the spine. Abandoned around 1860
    • The "London Flat' tote pattern. Largely replaced in Sheffield by the curvieer 'Dolphin' pattern between 1830 and 1850. But persisted with London makers through to C20

    Best guess would be 1840-1860