I’m wondering if I can find out a little more about Copley of London? I have one of his saws in a pile here, but know very little of him. If anyone has more info I’d be delighted to publish it. I now get a lot of hits on the site from people just looking for basic information about English makers, I’m keen to collate as much information as I can for other people to use. Thanks very much.
Steadfast to their old localities in Snow hill are Richard Groves & Sons, perhaps the oldest saw manufacturers in the town. Mr. Groves, the grandfather of the present firm, always had an open Bible before him on his work-board.
(Reminiscences of Old Sheffield, Its Streets and Its People” Robert Eadon Leader – 1875)
I have seen saws marked as Sheffield, obviously, but also marked with ‘London’. It would seem there is some agreement that the London mark was to convey more of a prestigious quality once R.Groves started exporting. Some people disagree and think the London mark is more to denote quality, where the ‘London Spring’ is purely to denote the use of the best quality spring steel.
(Note: The word “spring” is a pretty common descriptor on saws. Spring steel was different for the higher carbon (about 1%-1.5%) content and other elements and compounds in the alloy. It could be tempered to a good hardness for tools while having a quality of elasticity (as opposed to brittleness). This grade of steel was good for carriage springs, hence the name, and top-grade handsaws).The saw I have recently purchased has the Sheffield mark with ‘silver steel’.
The ‘& Sons’ is thought to be in use at least after 1822, with Groves starting to use label screws (medallions) around then. Groves saws carry the ‘USE’ medallion from around 1825. The advertisements for Richard Groves and Sons show the “USE” as their corporate mark. The corporate mark was granted by the Cutlers’ Company and Registered In England and Germany.
R.Groves obviously did very well in their business, with exporting making up a good percentage of their trade.
I buy good quality tools from well-known 19thc makers. If you have any R.Groves saws in good condition, get in touch.
This saw turned up in a recent pile I bought. It’s a mitre saw by ‘Waller’ but I’ve so far been unable to find out much about the company. There’s a conversation on Backsaw.net about ‘Waller & Co’, but straight Waller saws remain an enigma. Was the company Waller in it’s early life, before becoming ‘& Co’ later? It’s a lovely saw anyway.
As a sidenote, I have around 10-15 saws I really would like to get sharpened up. Does anyone know a good service I can use from London, or perhaps even someone still hand-sharpening in the area? I plan to learn myself, but have no workshop as yet to work in.
A couple of the saws need a slight straighten, most are brass-backed tenon saws and one needs taking down an 1/8 and re-toothing.
One of the things I’d like to explore with this blog, as well as showing individual hand tools, is to to give an insight into some the British manufacturers responsible for making them.
I found this ‘Drabble and Sanderson’ 8″ dovetail saw on an auction site, 17ppi, and marked ‘Warranted’, ‘Sheffield’ and ‘Cast Steel’. The tool making industry of Sheffield is well documented, but I wanted to find out more about Drabble and Sanderson.
Several listings popped up on the internet, mostly marking Drabble and Sanderson as having premises at Steelhouse Lane, Sheffield (around 1825), then Ebenezer Works (around 1837) and finally the same works address, at Russell St. Maybe someone has more information about this?
Then, in the way that one does on the internet, some idle noodling around led me to this amazing account by ‘Brit’, on lumberjocks.com. It documents the breaching of Dale Dyke reservoir on March 11th, 1864. A local disaster which affected many people including Thomas Wilkinson and Robert Howden of Drabble and Sanderson. The other links listed by Brit are also worth reading. The internet is sort of amazing like that.
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