Saw and scythe grinding.

Discussion in 'Saw Makers Forum' started by fred0325, May 1, 2012.

  1. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Hello all,

    Ray comments on the home page that the manufacturing images there were probably a little idealised.

    This is more like the reality.

    It would be bad enough in summer but think of it in winter using freezing water.

    A little like Hell but without the heat.


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  2. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for those pictures Fred, that accords with the description of saw grinder working conditions in the early part of the 19th century...

    Quoting... G Calvert Holland Esq MD Physican Extraordinary to the Sheffield General Hospital from 1843

    "The saw-grinders are among the most powerful of the artisans, either in this or any other manufacturing town. A great part of the labour is heavy, but several circumstances concur to prevent this exhausting the vital powers. The wheels in which they work are mostly propelled by water, being placed upon the streams, in the exquisitely beautiful situations within a few miles of the town; consequently, the artisans are liable to numerous interruptions, either from too much or too little water. The frequency of these interruptions has led many of them, to add to this employment the cultivation of the soil.

    They have frequently either small farms, or plots of ground for garden purposes. The wheels, moreover, are always well ventilated, in consequence of dilapidated windows and roofs, for they are proverbially in a bad condition. The workmen, also, generally live in the country, and the wages they receive, which is an important circumstance, enable them to command the substantial necessaries of life. The combination of these conditions, satisfactorily explains the strong muscular frames which they possess. Further, the branch does not admit of the employment of boys at a tender age or of delicate constitution, the articles being too heavy for either to hold with advantage. Saw grinding is also entirely done on a wet stone, and the position of the grinder, when at work, is standing, so that the lungs have free play, which is not the case in other branches of grinding.

    The saw grinders are peculiarly liable to accidents, from the breaking of stones and from becoming entangled in the machinery. This arises from two circumstances, the largeness of the stones on which they work, as well as the great length and weight of many of the articles which they grind. The larger the stones, combined with the rate of motion, and the more liable they are to break; and it is manifest that a saw, five or six feet in length, is much less under the command of the grinder than a penknife; hence greater the chance of becoming entangled in the machinery. Of the 42 deceased, since 1821, of which we have returns, five were killed by the breaking of stones; and the following are a part of the accidents which have happened to 78 living members in union."

    I wouldn't like to be a saw grinder when the stone broke... but apart from that it sounds like a far more pleasant life style than working down a mine or in the big textile mills..

    Last edited: May 2, 2012