I was out bargain hunting today and captured a backsaw and several interesting nibbed/splitnut/lambstongue handsaws, (The job lot was only $2, but driving around for a couple of hundred kilometers was more expensive)
The 14 inch backsaw is a Barber & Genn, that has suffered some serious elder abuse. I'll clean it up a bit to slow the disintegration, (when I get a round toit ), but its current dilapidated state is pictured below
It has a brass back with the namestamp "Barber & Genn" over "Cast-Steel" (incuse stamp ? ), and the handle is fixed with two rivets (one brass that may be original, and another steel that looks to be a replacement). The handhole is only 2 1/2 inches deep, so a three finger grip fits snugly
HSMOB gives a 1787-1817 origin, but Barber & Genn saws seem to appear in such quantity that there have been suggestions that the trade name was adopted by some later manufacturer.
What age do you think she is ? Does Fred's Law apply ? Would metallurgical analysis of the steel (or brass) composition and grain structure define its age ?
for those new to the site in which that "later" Barber and Genns are mentioned.
And I think that we ended a little up in the air. I do remember Simon saying in one thread that he thought that he had never seen one post 1830 -ish. I cannot remember the exact date that he gave. Although it always makes me suspicious when a lot of old saws turn up as they did at one stage with Barber and Genn.
However, with yours I think that my Law does not apply. It is a little academic for the simple reason that not only do you have a "Cast.Steel" but a Cast*Steel (unless it comes out differently when cleaned) and I cannot see a later (1870's??) copy putting in a dot let alone an asterisk. Your handle shape is also what I always think of as being early. (The slim rounded bit between the chamfer stop and the vestigial beak). A Green and Co. has just been sold on Ebay and I attach an image of the handle here. It is a lot like yours and certainly the saw is of the same time period as it is a "cast dot" as well.
I cannot transfer your image here to compare them. If anyone can feel free to do so.
And if you feel aggrieved at paying the fuel, think of the mileage at just over GBP6 per UK gallon.
Ps. Thank you for your suggestion that I research the S and J's, but they have never been my favourite saws (heresy to some I know), and I don't really feel the impetus to do it. Now a lead on I Taylor or the elusive C and M would prod me to put in the time and effort, in fact I have spent an inordinate number of hours trying to solve them but have got nowhere.
I knew that there was currently a Barber and Genn on Ebay, it was just a matter of finding it.
The stamps are different and so is the shape of the handle. (A lot flatter and not so rounded behind the chamfer stop). If there are later Barber and Genns then I think that the Ebay one may be one of them and yours is an original.
It is a pity that the "Cast Steel" on the Ebay one has the part of the stamp missing that would contain the "dot", but from what is there, I suspect that it is unlikely that there ever was a dot.
Hope it helps.
Now would be the time for someone who knows how to transfer pictures from one reply to another to put Kiwi's saw adjacent to these pics., or vice-versa. Or tell me how to do it. It would help matters no end.
Thanks for the encouragement Fred,
maybe it is an early 1800s saw, but if not, its still an interesting old saw.
I cleaned it up a bit and tried to compare it to my other open handled saws (not a very good comparison set as I only have 8" to 12” open handled backsaws, none 14”) Measurements of the handles show my Barber & Genn has;
an unusually small hand opening at 64mm
an unusually long cheek, where the wood meets the blade, at 91mm (on the diagonal)
an unusual position of the upper nib (between the peak and the upper horn) at nearly over the centre of the hand grip instead of 2/3 towards the hand hole
a very slim grip at only 29mm wide above and below the bulge
a larger width of fishtail than average
a common handle thickness, 23mm
The handle shape seems the same as the "Transitional" style handle Simon shows in the "Barnard - Saw Plater" thread.
Pictures show the cleaner saw, plus comparison handles ( Simon's Transitional, a c1900 "A Rosling", Fred's Green&Co,)
Cleaning showed a hyphen in "cast-steel", and the forward rivet is copper (replacement hardware I think)
The back has come up very nicely, but the "cast hyphen" really puts the cat amongst the pigeons.
I am hoping that someone will correct me but I cannot think of any "native" British saw that saw that has "cast hyphen" on it. But it may well be that "cast hypen" was put on a North American export model to satisfy the nomenclatural (if that is a word) requirements of said N/A market.
Now Disston put "cast hypen" on their saws for about 50 years from the middle to the end of the C 19th, and which may be a bit of a downer for your saw if the above WAG holds much water.
If it doesn't and it is an early Barber and Genn then it must be a very important saw. But a cautionary note, as it is possible that a variant of my law will apply, summed up by Kylie in her song "I should be so lucky".
More pictures of saws are needed. I remember someone on one of the posts here saying they knew people who downloaded pictures of saws from Ebay to create their own collection of images. The pictures of the Barber and Genns when there was a rush of them a while ago, would be much appreciated.
Hey Kiwi et al.
Nice find here in the colonies...hahaha. Has to be relatively early saw just by the look of it. I also had never noticed the hyphen in the cast steel on other examples of saws but will look more diligently. Maybe just a Barber&Genn thing but I've included a pic from "Worth Point" to show you there are more examples very similar to yours...sorta. How come the handles are so different even in just the placement of the screws? As Fred noted the odd
"slim rounded bit" doesn't come back towards the saw like the example I included. I get the impression with this much variation it would not be a production line mirror style set up we are used to seeing. You did a great job in making it presentable considering what you began with.
New mission.... find hyphens.
The handles may be different, but the cast hyphen is there on the Worthpoint saw if my eyes do not deceive me.
Score so far:-
Cast hyphens 2 Cast Dots 0
Can the cast dots come back with a consolation score or even an equaliser?
I don't know why I have just done this. I hate football.
In one topic I seem to remember Simon or someone saying that blades were packed separately from handles (if any) to keep the transport costs down, ie. less bulk and more saws per barrel. Could the blades and backs only have been exported to keep the costs down and the handles vary so much because they were made by or for different bulk recipients in North America.
The hyphen is, according to my increasingly unreliable memory, unique to this firm; I've recorded two examples and have for reasons which I doubtless believed to be correct at the time (not so sure now) to be dated in the 1790s and the 1820s. They also used the cast.steel style, and the German steel (no dot). Their output is full of puzzles (see below).
Herewith the entry:
BARBER, GENN & Co SHEFFIELD
Spring Street 1787
8 Bower Street 1797-1815
Bower Spring 1816-1817
1809: Manufacturers of saws, fenders, fire-irons, and double-refined steel; this is the earliest known use of the term “double-refined steel”. The firm seems, on the basis of the numbers of their saws that survive, to have been very productive, many of their saws ending in North America also. This observation may be misleading because their name was taken over (and used as a trade mark) at an unknown date by the Ibbotson Brothers, whose works when they were operating as Ibbotson Roebuck were very close by, or possibly even the same: a backsaw made before 1817 would be difficult indeed to differentiate from one made in perhaps 1830. A Samuel Genn was a filemaker and early maker of crucible steel, with another of the same name also listed in the 1787 directory (at an address within 200 yards of Spring Street); if this Genn was the one who moved into sawmaking, he would only have been doing the same as several others of the period, notably the Kenyon Brothers.
I realize this is a very late post to this thread, but I hadn't seen anyone mention this. If it was, I'm sorry for duplicating.
If you look in the "Register of Trademarks of the Cutlers' Company, Sheffield, 1919" on page 345, illustration 819 is "Barber & Genn". The trademark was registered to Ibbotson Brothers & Co., LTD. at that time. According to HSMOB, they operated between 1876 to 1915, and later than that I think. They probably made the newer looking saws we see on Ebay all the time.