Timeline Discussion Additions and Corrections

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by ray, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Simon,

    Simon asks: Why are there (apparently) no examples of Birmingham made saws marked "Birmingham"

    I'll ask a related question, When did it become the fashion to stamp "Sheffield" on saws made in Sheffield?

    What I'm trying to suggest is that, I think the chronology may be a factor, given that London and Birmingham preceeded Sheffield as saw making centers, with some instances of early Sheffield makers recruiting skilled workers from Birmingham, as Sheffield began to dominate the trade, the clue to look for would be when did Sheffield Makers start to stamp Sheffield on their saws, I suspect that the practice might well have started as Brum declined, and Sheffield was seen (at least marketted) as a superior product, which might well be a factor in why Atkin called their Birmingham factory the "Sheffield Works"..

    As always just idle speculation..

    Graham, when editing the timeline to extend the dates for Birmingham, I noticed that I had titled that section of the timeline file "Dominant Saw Making Area", but the title doesn't appear on the timeline... it would have made more sense if the title was shown ... :)

    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012
  2. ilges71

    ilges71 Member

    Simon, you make some interesting points.
    Rabone tools are usually marked Birmingham. Edward Preston seemed to mark Rules " Birmingham", but largely other tools seem not to carry "Birmingham" with the name or trade mark.
    Atkin planes were only marked Birmingham generally at a later date, so it is not suprising that early stamped saws are not marked Birmingham. Does anyone have an etched Atkin saw?
    Many Birmingham trades relied on "outworkers" even into the 60's and 70's. You could say it still happens with outsourcing in the car industry to small companies. It is a valid point did Atkin & son make saws? Did they even assemble the components or did they just buy in to sell with other lines of tools.

    There have been question marks over Birmingham quality in the past. The well know comment of the Brummegum screwdriver ( Meaning a hammer) was often derogatory, faked Gold items from Birmingham ( Cheap metal items rolled with gold finish were frequently sold in market towns Stratford etc. as the real thing) So were there question marks about Birmingham Quality such that the town of origin was not mentioned.

    Of course the other issue we forget is that Birmingham as a city did not exist till late Victorian times??. Much of the manufacturing district was actually Aston or Deritend, although the trade directories from 1840 recognize Birmingham as the whole district, perhaps that limited the use of the name of Birmingham on tools.

    I can see I need to visit the Central Library again and check all Atkin listings and up to much more recent times!! I must remember to check the addresses listed for each date, too.

  3. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

    Timeline discussion

    (Started a post on this, but it disappeared - will try again)

    Thanks very much to Ray and Graham: yes, OF COURSE (!), the name of the town of manufacture did not feature until about 1830 - a useful extra dating tool.Neither London nor Sheffield saws had the town on till about that date.
    And Atkin did not put the word Birmingham on any of the dozen or so backsaws by him that I've photographed, but it is etched on the one handsaw of his I have of about 1900 (a number 11- but I don't have a catalogue, so that doesn't mean much).
    I feel pretty sure Atkin made saws himself, not least because of his origins, and his taking over of Betts, but also because there is an account of industry in Birmingham dated in the 1860s which describes saw making, based on a visit by the writer to the Atkin works.
  4. mattsworld

    mattsworld Member


    Phenominal job....awesome. I love it. :)

    My thoughts:

    1) Didn't Huntsman re-discover crucible steel close to mid-century? I think 1747 IIRC....

    2) I have a saw in my collection with peened rivets that is clearly post-1780. They may be replacements, but for arguments sake, I think they were in use at least through the turn of the century.

    Once again....amazing job. Good for you for putting out out for peer review. :)
  5. TobyC

    TobyC Most Valued Member

    Excellent work,
    But don't forget about 'cone' nuts, and side plates.

    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
  6. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Back again

    Finally, I found a copy of the timeline-api, it was there all the time! and now we are using a local copy of the java script, rather than the MIT version, which is no longer available.

  7. alicejohny

    alicejohny New Member

    With the shape of any saw handle there is going to be short grain. Close grained timber like beech will cope. Apple, ebony, box etc are even better.
    Oak and ash are too wide grained to be of use in this application as they would split at the short grain very quickly, hence they would not be used.
  8. greyhound

    greyhound Most Valued Member

    Wonderful reference — huge effort, well done and thank you.
    May I add a little suggestion to make it accessible
    1 — Add a separate link to the Timeline on the Forum Home Page
    2 — Colour code explanation, perhaps above the Timeline
    This is a great idea and visual tool — will be used a lot I'm sure.

    p.s. I restore a lot of saws and this is a very interesting topic for me. Do you think adding another Forum dedicated to Saw Restoration techniques and practices would be something that other members will be interested in?
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017