Some Richardsons

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by David, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. David

    David Most Valued Member

    I don't think we post enough American saws here, so I'll do my bit to rectify the lack. Here are four Richardson saws, made in Newark, New Jersey shortly after the Civil War ended. The Richardson brothers began making saws in 1859 or 60, but saws from their first five years or so are very uncommon. These saws shown here, from perhaps 1864 to 72 or so, are a bit more commonly found. I'm very partial to their almost Cubist design and their abundance of nibs, or peaks, scattered all over the handles. The first three saws shown each have 7 of them; one under the square nose, two before the hook and two before each horn, top and bottom. The fourth saw only has six, lacking the one under the nose.

    In order of appearance, first is an 8" saw marked "Richardson's", second a 14" marked "Richardson Brothers", third is a 12" also marked "Richardson Brothers" and last is a small, 7 1/8" saw marked just "Richardson" on the reverse side.

    The first, third and fourth all have "Pat Appl'd For" stamped on the handles. I don't know what patent that applies to, although they were famous for one of the early patents for saw grinding machines. The first three saws have the "second" medallion used by the company, with the Challenger banner, which lacks the patent date that appears on the "third", also Challenger, medallion. The fourth saw has as originally made, both a split nut securing the blade and a steeple head nut securing the back. (This fastening is reputed to keep the back in place, but as the fifth image of a later Richardson saw shows, enough leverage can still pry the back away from the blade. It would require a third fastener, in the blade, to keep the back in place.)


    Richardson's.jpg Richardson bros backsaw.jpg Richardson backsaw.jpg Richardson backsaw, pat appld for.jpg PulledRichardson.jpeg
  2. Force

    Force Active Member

    Thanks for taking the time for sharing this post David, wow, sure has changed my mind on American saws. Those handles sure have style, posibly the Indian motorcycles of the saw world.
    Very impressive....
  3. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

    Very nice grouping and such a variation. I don't have any as early as the first four you presented but here we have another variation on that interesting nose. It would seem that the structural strength of a square nose lasted longer than a later half arch nose. I would think it was doomed to failure if handled without some care but it sure was unique and stylistically forward thinking so to speak.
    Joe S.

    Attached Files:

  4. David

    David Most Valued Member

    Hi Chris and Joe,
    Thanks for your comments and additions to the post. I love the idea of Richardson's having as much style as an Indian motorcycle. That suggestion brings them out of our sometimes-narrowly-focused saw world into their righful place in the greater universe of design history. Hurrah for that!
    Joe, I like that variation of the nose as well, and must say that I've seen quite a few of them and this is the first one I've seen broken like that, so I'm not so sure the break is due to a design flaw. Perhaps just an accident or flaw in the wood. What is also interesting is the diagonal crack on both sides starting from the intersection of the nose and cheek, which may indicate some severe stress having been put on the handle at some point? Still, the break aside, I think at this point their designs were still unique and good looking. Later saws , as in the fifth one in my post, they got more pedestrian. Not knowing the date of its manufacture, I wonder if that was after Disston bought the company.