Steamboat etch saw

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by kiwi, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

    Another delightful puzzle.
    I bought this little 18" saw in an auction lot this weekend, because I liked its shapely handle with reinforcing plate and iron cone nuts. It's a small handle, (appropriately for a small saw), with a hand hole only big enough for three fingers. The saw plate is rusty, has been dented with hammer blows, and has been worn down with a decidedly concave tooth line, but I thought I might be lucky and find a name stamp under the rust.
    I found remnants of an elaborate etch instead.
    The main etch shows a sidewheel steamboat with the "GETREAL" (get real ?) name at the sidewheel. A secondary etch near the handle reads "Best Double Refined, Cast Steel, Warranted", and another similar shaped secondary etch is located towards the blade toe, but is illegible.
    My first thought is it's most likely English, as some Sheffield sawmakers (such as Taylor Bros or Joseph Peace) produced some similarly elaborate main picture etches (more often trains than boats though) with secondary wordy side etches. Also, I might be imagining it, but the flag flying off the stern of the boat seems to have the crossed shape of the Union Jack in the top corner. However, the iron cone nuts are a puzzle as my experience is that they were mostly used by American sawmakers (I think all my English saws with iron saw screws have domed rather than cone shaped screw heads) [Screws have 3/16" shafts, slotted conical cap screws.]
    I will continue with the cleaning and make the handle look more presentable, but I doubt I'll be able to get any better definition of the blade etchings.
    Saw pictures below, along with my sketches of etches.

    Has anyone seen a similar etch, or have ideas on the Manufacturer ?

    P1040477.JPG P1040475.JPG P1040478.JPG P1040474.JPG P1040473.JPG P1040481.JPG P1040482.JPG
  2. houblon

    houblon Member

    Could it be "MONTREAL"?
  3. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

    I think you're right Houblon,
    and it makes sense finding this saw in Canada. I've found some data on a sidewheel steamboat named
    "Montreal", built in 1830 ("Landmarks of Toronto", J Ross Robertson, 1896).
    In 1875 a great change was effected though, for the Canadian Navigation Company in that year amalgamated with the Richelieu Navigation Company, of Montreal, and under the style of the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company have continued their business ever since.
    Two steamers ply daily on the river between Montreal and Quebec belonging to R. and O. They are most appropriately named the Montreal and Quebec, and are commanded by Captains L. H. Roy and Robert Nelson. They are "furnished with all the latest modern improvements, are unsurpassed for speed, comfort and safety," and form the only direct daily water route between Montreal and Quebec.
    Captain Roy's steamer is the smallest of the two, but she is nevertheless a magnificent vessel. She was built in 1830, as so many more steamers have been, by Gilbert, of Montreal, is of five hundred and nineteen tons capacity and can comfortably accommodate nearly two hundred cabin passengers. She had new boilers in 1891 and is lighted throughout by electricity. She is a sidewheel iron steamer with compound engines.

    The above picture shows a ship essentially the same as on the saw etch, except there is less overhead masts and guy wires (but modifications during the ship's lifetime may account for that) [picture below shows rigging more like the saw etch ]

    I think this indicates my saw was probably made specifically for the Canadian market, and likely by an English manufacturer as no Canadian sawmakers I'm aware of used this style of etching.
    [also, I've found one of my Taylor Bros saws has the same style of iron cone head (or steeple head) screws with a side plate]
  4. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

    Well, the handle cleaned up quite nicely....

    The saw plate cleaned a little better, but my cleaning has accentuated the ugly hammer marks. I did get a little clearer showing of the mystery smaller etch near the toe, with some letters being readable....
    I see ***LL & HORS*** which I'm interpreting to be Russell & Horsfield, as it fits for the remaining remnant letters and word lengths. The next line for a Russell & Horsfield saw I might expect to read "Canada Works", and although the last few letters might agree with that, some of the previous letter smudges don't seem to fit. (The 3rd line has been lost to saw sharpening, but might have read "Sheffield" ?)
    ?I don't see R&H's "First Class" trademark anywhere though?, and R&H's timeline of c1850s is perhaps a little earlier than I was expecting for this saw.

    Has anyone seen any Russell & Horsfield etches that might confirm/correct my interpretation ??