Established in 1770 I believe, Richard Groves & Sons was a thoroughbred Sheffield steel refiner and producer of edge tools. (I mainly hunt for their wonderful saws, one of which is pictured above).
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.