Story of the Saw - Toolemera Press

Story of the Saw - Toolemera Press

Story of the Saw P. d' A. Jones and E. N. Simons Spear&Jackson Limited 1760-1960 Published to mark the second centenary of the worlds oldest saw...

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Story of the Saw

P. d' A. Jones


E. N. Simons

Spear&Jackson Limited


Published to mark the second centenary of the worlds oldest sawmakers

Published in 1961 by Newman Neame (Northern) Limited Manchester, Birmingham and London for Spear and lackson Limited, Aetna Works, Sheffield Printed in England by lames Cond Limited, London

Scanned by The Traditional Tools Group Inc 2009 for the benefit of members and others interested in the history of tools




Prehistoric, ancient and medieval times (to about 1450)


The coming of the w heel


Saws of the Roman Empi re


Medieval saws


Modern times (1450 to the present)






C i rcular saws


BruneI's statement of November 1 8 1 1


Other i nventions


Sto n e-wo r ki ng saws




Saws of 1960


Short saws and long


Specialised circular saws


Wide and narrow bandsaws


Sh apin g history


Selected bibliography





1 2 3 4

Prehistoric flint saw Two Mesolithic fl in t saws Two mounted fl in t saws Two modern primitive saws from Western Australia ; they are made from stone and glass flakes set in gum. University College, London

5 6

Mesopotamian sawyers on the way to work Egyptian handsaws. X V IIIth Dynasty, c. ]450 BC, tanged, of bronze or hardened copper with unraked, unset teeth. British Museum, London Cabinet Makers. Egyptian : painting on clay dating from the end of the XVIIIth Dynastyfrom Temples and Treasures of Egypt Minoan bronze saw from Crete Late Bronze Age saw (c. 800-400 BC) - found i n Priory Farm Cave, Monkton, Pembrokeshire, Wales. National Museum of Wales, Cardiff' Siberian bronze saw, 6th to 3rd century BC. Krasnoyar district, R iver Yenesei , Siberia. Minusinek Museum, USSR. By courtesy of Mme V. P. Levashova, Moscow


8 9


1 1

Roman iron frame-saw, used i n Egypt ; the wood frame is a replica. Science Museum, London


Roman carpenters at work ; no toggle is shown on frame-saw. By courtesy ofJoan Liversidge, M Lift, FSA. From Antiquarium Comunate, Rome Roman handsaws ; example o n the right, from St Germain , i s possibly an early back saw

13 ]4

Early I ron Age open handsaw. Landesmuseum, Zurich


Jron Age saw, c. 1 0 0 lake village


G l astonbury

16 17

British Iron Age saws, found i n London Saxon saw dating from the 1 0th centuryfound at Thetford i n Norfolk. Ministry of Works, London 1 8 Medieval pit-sawyers. British Museum, London 1 9 Death by saw. British Museum, London 20 Sawmill from V illard de Honnecourt's sketchbook (c. 1 250) 2 1 The W indcli ff push saw. The earliest British example yet found of a push saw 22 1 1 th- 1 3th century Russian handsaw ( knife-like) from Novgorod. Right : method of setting teeth. B. A . Kolchin, Metalworking in Medieval Russia, Moscow, 1 952 23 A Virginian sawmill of 1 650 24 Mechanical frame-saw as used i n the 1 5th and 1 6th centuries 25 Sheffield saw-makers organise, 1 797. By courtesy of the Sheffield Sawmakers Protection Society 26 1 5th century carpenters - from History of Technology 27 ' Les Carpentiers' by Richard Tassel, 1 580- 1 660. Musee des Beaux Arts, Strasbourg 28 English saw yard. MS D iccionario de Construccion Naval, first half of 1 8th century. Museo Naval, Madrid 29 Elementary mechan isation . Bergeron, Manuel de Tourneur, Paris, 1 8 1 6 30 St Simon with M-toothed cross-cut saw. Chasse de St Hippolyte, c. 1 477. Unterlinden Museum, Colmar 3 1 Early 1 5th century saw. Poems of Christine de Pisan. British Museum, London 32 Noah building the Ark . Bedford Book of Hours. British Museum, London


Baslow (Derbyshire) inn sign from 'The Joiner's Arms' (demolished some 200 years ago). The handle of the saw was originally open as evidenced by the rivet marks in the cross-bar




Holy Family. Saenredam, c. 1 590. Collection ofJ. M. Greber, Trier



The earliest dated evidence of a closed handsaw handle. A carpenter' s gravestone i.n the churchyard of St 10hn-sub-Castro, Lewes, Sussex, 1747



1 8th century Swedish handsaws. Nordiska Museet, Stockholm


Early 1 8th century Dutch saws from the Peter the Great collection . Above : hacksaw. Below : handsaw. State Hermitage, Leningrad


1 8th century Swedish hacksaw. Another example, the blade much worn by repeated sharpeni ng. Nordiska Museet, Stockholm


Early 1 9th century handsaws. Smith's Key to the Manufactories of Sheffield, 1 8 1 2


Backsaw used in the 1 770s by Samuel Crompton, in ventor of the spinning mule. Science Museum, London


Shop sign showing crossed saws and gridiron, London, c. 1 780. Sir Ambrose Heal, Signboards of Old London Shops, Batsford, London

42 43

Swedish compass saw, 19th century 1 8th and early 1 9th century Swedish tenon saws


Late 1 8th century shoulder saw. Swedish. Nordiska Museet, Stockholm French scie a araser ( 1 751- 1 769). Diderot Encyclopedie

45 46

47 48

49 50

1 8th century Dutch floorboard saw, used for cutting floorboards i n position. Stedelijk Museum, Leyden St 10seph and the Holy Child, c. 1 525. Museo National, Trento Buck saw with fixed blade favoured by the French i n the 1 8th century. Buck saws and bow saws are still widely used, especially in Scandinavia. Diderot Encyclopedie French carpenter's sign, 1 8th century. Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Louvre, Paris 1 8th century French coping saw. Diderot Encyclopedie

55 56 57




61 62

63 64 65 66

Felloe saw, used by wheelwrights and chairmakers. Museum of English Rural L(fe, Reading 1 8th century veneer sawing Roubo: L'art du menuisier ebeniste, Paris, 1 774 Sabot maker's saw. Musee Ducal, Bouillon, Belgium Sir M arc Isambard Brunei, 1 769- 1 849, by James Northcote. National Portrait Gallery, London Spear and lackson price l ist of circular saws, March 1845 Industry in Sheffield : saw-making i n the 1 9th century. The Working Man, 1 866 Sheffield's name for quality in saws is of long standing. The Cross of the Legion of Honour was conferred on Samuel lackson at the Paris Exhibition of 1 855 Another decoration bestowed i n 1 873 : 10seph Burdekin lackson is honoured by the Emperor Francis 10seph of Austria. These honours and awards were typical of many earned by Sheffield cutlers and saw-makers at this time Early form of inserted-tooth saw showing holder and wedge-fitted tooth. Original hoe patent registered i n the USA c. 1 870 was for a solid tooth insert, later developed i nto a two piece spring shank and a bit or tooth An obsolete Slack's machine knife grinding machi ne with tilting table and fixed wheel occupies the foreground. Behind i t is the saddle type machine on which the grinder sits astri de. Such machines were formerly employed for grinding saws William Newberry's bandsaw, 1 808 A Robinson 6-foot vertical bandmill with log carriage i nstalled, in 1 923, in the North Western Railway workshop, Moghalpura, Lahore. Thi s bandmill was the first on the Indian sub-continent to convert timber i n log form by endless band blades A modern tenon or back saw, fitted with brass or steel back Nest of saws Grecian pruning saw Pit-sawing i n G hana. Saws up to ten feet long are used frequently. Ghana Information Service , A ccra, Ghana



69 70





Tubular frame or log saw . Example shown incorporates a patented adjustable straightpull tensioning device Automated production of log saw blades or webs. Lines of file-sharpening machines are shown Rolling steel sheet for short saws The Spear and lackson Double Century handsaw with rosewood handle. Diagram below i l lustrates the effect of radial tapergrinding Setting the teeth of a best quality handsaw. N o machine yet devised duplicates the flexible wrist and sensitive touch of a craftsman Typical circular saws for ripping and cross-cutting, showi ng manufacturer's standard tooth shapes Hardening the heated blade by quenching in o il . A 72-inch diameter solid tooth saw at red heat is quenched Smithing : putting the tension into a saw blade. An 84-inch d iameter soli d tooth saw is shown

Not every customer agrees with the manufacturer's tooth shape. A saw is given a shark's tooth form 76 Sheffiel d companies cater for the needs of the Canadian west coast l umber industry. The new Spear and lackson (BC) Limited factory at Burnaby, Vancouver 77 M odern sawmil l , showing multiple trimmer fitted with saws supplied by the Spear and lackson Vancouver factory and made from Sheffield rolled plate 78 Fitting the teeth and holders i n an insertedtooth circular saw 79 Standard type holder and tooth of a modern inserted tooth circular saw. See also 59 80 Re-sharpening the teeth in situ by flexible drive jockey grinder 8 1 Cutting cold metal by segmental circul ar saw 8 2 Fitting high-speed steel segments t o a metal-cutting cold saw 83 Cutting aluminium plates 57 feet long by 1 0 feet wide by 6 inches thick. A comparative newcomer to the saw family, the tungsten carbide-tipped saw here takes on a mammoth task. Northern Aluminium Company Limited, Banbury 75


A close-up of the tungsten carbide-tipped circular saw in use on the Wadki n machine shown above. Northern Aluminium Company Limited, Banbury


Final lapping by diamond impregnated wheel of a 50-inch d iameter tungsten carbidetipped saw


The world's largest saw i s thi s giant 1 1 feet 7t inch diamond-segmented saw employed in cutting rough-hewn blocks of Portland stone at the South Western Stone Company's quarries on Portland Bill i n Dorset


A Spear and lackson team of three smithers prepares to tension the largest saw ever made


The latest development in circular saws : an i nternal tooth tube saw. Segmental in construction, taper-ground and of high-speed steel, this uni que saw operates within the eccentric head of a machine patented i n 1960. Its purpose is to cut ferrous and non-ferrous tube without 'fash'


A Stenner 42-inch band rack with hand operated carriage. Stenners ofTiverton Limited, Devon


A modern band re-saw made by Thomas Robinson and Son Limited of Rochdale


Abattoirs use band saws for cutting carcases. Smaller bandsaws, such as this WadkinBursgreen machine with 16-inch wheels, are found useful by retail traders for cutting the meat i nto small joints


Recent development of friction discs provides the engineer with a new tool. Here one i s employed for rapi d cutting of tubes in the Spear and lackson tubular frame saw department


A few l i nks of Oregon chipper saw chain . The replacement of two-man cross-cuts by powered cross-cuts has revol ut ion i sed logging methods. The inventor of the Oregon chipper saw chain i l lustrated had studied the larvae of Ergates spiculatus, the t imber beetle, in developing the design of the left and right hand cutters of his chain


Fell i n g in the forest by power-operated saw chain


Research for this history was carried out at the i nstitutions l i sted below, and the authors would l ike to take this opportun ity of thanking the respec­ tive staffs for their help. Brighton Museum British Museum Eastbourne Reference l ibrary Edgar AlIen l ibrary, Sheffield U niversity Imperial College of Science and Technology London School of Economics: British Li brary of Pol itical and Economic Science London University : the li brary and senate house Manchester Central Reference library Manchester Uni versity : the Arts l i brary and the Christie li brary Museum of English Rural Life, Reading Patent Office l ibrary Public Record Office Science Museum library Sheffield Central Reference library: the Local H i story l ibrary The material from Spear and lackson archives is to be deposited in the Sheffield Central library. We should like to thank the Museum of Engl ish Rural Life at Reading for permission to publ ish photographs of saws in their collection , Mr W. L. Goodman of Bristol for the loan of a large num­ ber of photographs from his collection and Mr E. K. Rowles of Drabble and Sanderson Limited for technical assistance on the modern section of the Story of the Saw. Dr W. H. Chaloner of the Economic H istory depart­ ment of Manchester University was kind enough to check the manuscript ; but any errors are the sole responsibility of the authors .

Prehistoric, ancient and medieval times (to about 1450)

More than half a mil l ion years ago, man took a tre­ mendous step. That step helped to distinguish h im forever from the less i ntell igent and un-selfconscious animal world: he began to make hand tools. Because they were of such great antiquity, many of our fam iliar hand tools had already attained a late stage of development in classical or medieval times. The very thing that surpri ses people today when they first see four or five hundred years-old axes, planes, hammers, chisels and saws is that they all look so 'modern'. The basic principle of sawing was first devised in the pre-metal age. Neo lithic man adapted as tool s the objects he found around him ; he cut crude and un­ even notches or serrations in the edges of flint flakes. The principle of abrasion man understood from his fire-saw or sawing-thong. This was a system of rub­ bing one piece of wood, bamboo or thong (saw) against another (hearth) so that the sparks from the friction fel l i nto the sawing dust and made fire. It was a technique common a ll over Europe, India, Austra­ lia, South-East Asia and the Pacific Islands. Archaeological excavations in Southern France have provided some very earl y examples of flint saws from what pre-historians cal l the Magdalenian culture of the Upper Palaeo li thic period (reindeer period). Many such saws were stil l being used countless years later in the so-called Bronze age, and were being copied in metal . Saws six or seven thousand years old made from a black v itreous lava called obsidian were uncovered i n the great excavations at the ancient Sumerian capital, Ur of the Chal dees in Mesopota-

mia. These small , two i nch-long blades (now i n the U niversity of Pennsylvan ia M useum at Philadephia in the United States) were the tools of Sumerian craftsmen i n the legendary lands of the Garden of Eden between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, two thousand years before the birth of A braham .1 Prehistoric saws which were found in the tumul i or burial mounds of N orthern England, in French caves , in the stone-heaps or Kjokken-Moddings of Sweden and Denmark and in former lake-dwelling sites i n Switzerland a n d I taly have an average length o f about three inches a n d vary in length from o n e and a half inches to n i ne inches. M any flint artefacts were not true saws but sickles, and these very tiny saws were used to cut bone, wood and horn i n the making of ornaments. Flint was favoured, being hard and chipping i nto a keen, straight cutting-edge. Tt is even thought that the best kinds of flint for this purpose were used i n prehistoric trade. But the flint saw was thick and easily wedged i n the cutting groove. The problem was not solved at this stage of h istory, despite the more sophisticated models l ike those found at Palada, Northern Italy, and Vinelz, Switzerland, on which serrated flint flakes are mounted with natural asphalt in a grooved wooden or stag horn handle. The length and shape of pre-metal saws were deter­ mined largely by accident. Man merely adapted what he found at hand and had little choice of design . 1 Disston , H. a nd Sons Inc, The Saw in History, 8th ed, New York, 1925, p 6


Story o f the Saw: Prehistoric, ancient and medieval times

J. Prehistoric {linl saw

2. TIVV Mcsolilliic/iinl SOlI'S

3. Two mountedflint saws

4. Two modern primitive saws/rom Western A ustralia; they are made/rom stone and glass./fakes set in gum


5. Mesopotamian sawyers on the way

fo work

Pacific i slanders used sharks' teeth saws, the aborigines of Madeira favoured the,snout of the saw-fish, while the Caribbean Indians notched shells and the Aztecs (like the Sumerians long before) used obsidian, found i n quantities on the volcanic slopes of Mexico. They all had to accept the dictates of local geography. With the coming of metals man coul d h imself design and determine the kind of saw he wanted.

The comi ng of the wheel One of the greatest single events i n the history of mankind - the invention of the wheel - may wen not have been p0ssible without the earlier i nvention of the metal saw. It was well-nigh impossi b le to make a wheel without a saw, and really effective timber saws had to be made of metal. So, copper, bronze or iron deposits were the essential condition for the evolution of the wheel. 2

An extremely early example of a metal saw was found i n the hearse graves at Kish in Mesopotamia - that cradle of technical civil i sation which also yielded up the very early obsid ian saws. Egyptian metal saws were made of copper, bronze, and more rarely of i ron. The earliest of these saws were made of hardened copper, and date back as far as the I IIrd Dynasty (or roughly 4900 to 4700 BC). They began as large, round, crudely serrated copper knives with the teeth sloping i n no particular direction, not raked, and therefore cutting in both directions. The examples found were used for the lugubrious task of cutting up coffin boards. In later Egyptian dynasties the saw teeth were made larger and the uses to which the saws were put widened. The Vth Dynasty witnessed unraked fourS i n ger, C. et aI, History of Technologv, 4 Vols, Londo n , 1954-58, V o l I, p 207



Story of the Saw : Prehistoric, ancient and medieval times

6. Egyptian handsaws. XVlllth Dynasty, c. 1450


foot long open saws with large triangular teeth, and the VIth Dynasty longer eight-foot saws, used, like most Egyptian saws in the early period, for stone­ cutting. Fed with sand or emery, or set with emery teeth, these saws cut huge limestone blocks seven or eight feet long over 4000 years before the birth of Christ.3 I n later dynasties too, bronze began to re­ place copper, the use of saws as woodworking tools was greatly extended and the handsaw began to take on something of its modern appearance, with wood­ en pistol-grip handle (XIIth Dynasty) and made to average modern size.4 In the British Museum there is an XYIIIth Dynasty open handsaw found in 1853, with other tools, in a tomb at Thebes; this find dates back to about 1450 BC. I ts blade is bronze or hard­ ened copper and its wooden handle under five inches long fits, like a modern table-knife, over a metal tang which is of a piece with the blade. Its teeth are un­ raked, unset and V -shaped ; and so its ten and a half inch blade cuts both ways. Egyptian workmen even had bronze saws with jewelled teeth for difficult stone-cutting operations and, in later years, iron saws. A wedge of iron was found in the masonry of the Great Pyramid which was built in 3500 BC. Despite this, Egyptian crafts­ men were beset by several grave difficulties. Copper and bronze saws were both laborious and inaccurate,

tanged, o/bronze or hardened copper with unraked, unset teeth

and all work done by them n eeded finishing with an adze or a rasp. Saws remained merely abrading tools as long as their teeth were not raked. And although the bronze saws were superior to flint ones because they were thin and wedged less easily in the kerf (cut), bronze was admirably suited for making other edge tools. In some cases these tools actually supplanted the saw. For instance, where wood was abundant, forest timber was 'converted' by being split with wedges and hewn .5 In the Old Testament are three well-known standard references to the saw. Two of these references relate to events that took place in the 10th century BC. The earliest described David's gruesome treatment of Ammonite prisoners-of-war from the captured city of Rabbah And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of i ron, and under axes of i ron, and made them pass through the brick­ kiln: and thus did he unto all the c ities of the children of Ammon. Second Book of Samuel, XII, 3 1 In the next generation Solomon, David's son and

successor, built a great Temple, a palace for himself and another for his wife, Pharoah's daughter. 3

ibid, p 570


i bid, p 613


Disston op cit, plO


All these were of costly stones, according to the measures of hewed stones, sawed with saws, with in and without, even from the foundation unto the coping . . . First Book of Kings, V II, 9

Both uses of the saw mentioned in the Bible - the one for stoneworking and the other for torture - were to have an even longer history, and they re-enter the story of the saw many centuries later.

Two hundred years or more later, i n the 8th century BC, Isaiah , preaching h i s message in what are obvious­ ly homely and everyday images, asks

Saws of the Roman Empire

Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth there­ with? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? Isaiah, X, 15

It is claimed by later Church writings that I saiah suffered death by being sawn apart, and in the N ew Testament, Paul , casting a backward glance, says of many of the prophets . . . they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword. Epistle to the Hebrews, Xl, 37

I n E urope examples of Bronze Age saws are compara­ tively rare, and have come from Scandinavia, Central Europe and Siberia. The G reeks were not great tech­ nical innovators. G reek architecture introduced l ittle in the way of new methods of enclosing space. It was left to the Romans to do this. The G reeks simply adapted k nown methods superbly well . It is t hought unlikely that the G reeks wrought any changes in saw-making or sawing technique. There is evidence that they used traditional copper and bronze saws for wood and stone convers ion. Real changes in the manufactu re and use of saws

7. Cabinet Makers. Egyptian: painting 011 clay dating/rom the end of the XVlIlth Dynasty from Temples and Treasures of Egypt


Story of the Saw: Prehistoric, ancient and medieval times

8. Minoan bronze sawfrom Crete ....................................................... ...... ....................

9. Late Iron Brunze Age saw (c. 8()0-400 BC)found in Priory Farm Cave, Monkton, Pembrokeshire, Wales ..................................................................................

10. Siberian bronze saw, 6th to 3rd century BC. Krasnoyar district, River Yenesei, Siberia

came only with the introduction of iron production. Hesiod's reference to ' bright' iron and 'black' iron in the 9th century BC and further references in the 5th century BC have led writers to place the first use of steel some time between these two centuries ; but even this evidence is inconclusive. Before the birth of Christ, the making of steel could be accomplished only in two ways. First, by the direct production of 'natural' steel from manganese bearing iron ores or, second , by the surface carburisation of wrought iron. The latter, caIJed the 'cementation' process, involves

placing wrought iron at red heat i n contact with car­ bonaceous material. Iron absorbs carbon, and a grade of steel is thus formed. It is possible that w hen con­ verting bloom i nto wrought iron, early craftsmen may have superficially carburised the iron by continual charcoal heatings between the hammerings, and made steel this way. There is some evidence that quenching (plunging the metal at heat into cold water) was practised as early as 1 200 BC. Quenching makes the metal hard but brittle, and further heat treatment is needed i n order to counteract this. Tempering is one way of furnishing further heat treatment, but i t is


not believed this was practised until the Roman era.6 The steel made by quenching would in any case have been costly both in time and material. It would have been impure and not very homogeneous in com ­ position. Much doubt still remains about the first use of steel. This arises from the imprecise distinction between iron and steel and the special difficulty of . identifying wrought iron. However, metal technology has always been recognised as very important to the saw-maker. For instance Love and Manson (the parent firm of Spear and lackson) who started their business in 1760 chiefly to make the new crucible steel, soon found themselves making saws for a living. Even then they recognised that the quality of a saw is to a great extent the quality of its metal. The Iron Age (from about 500 BC to 50AD) brought definite improvements at the time quite apart from that of future development in steel. First, the Iron Age saw the general introduction of the raking of teeth to give a cut in one direction only - on the pull

stroke, so the teeth were raked towards the handle. This was a great advance on haphazard un raked teeth, even though pull strokes are much weaker actions than the push strokes of modern saws. Push stroke saws could not be used successfully until some means had been discovered for overcoming the ten­ dency of weak metals to bend. High quality steel and tensioning have overcome this problem, but even as late as the time of the Roman Empire, push stroke saws were still unsuccessful. The American scholar, Dr H . C. Mercer dates the first clearly raked saws to about 900 Bc.7 These saws must have been of copper or bronze as the Egyptians did not generally switch to iron saws until about 660 BC. One type of saw remained unraked , because 6

Schubert, H. R. History of the British Iron and Steel Industry (from c. 450 to AD 1775), London, 1957 , pp 29-30 7 Mercer, H. C. A ncien! Carpenters' Tools, Doylestown, Pa, 1 929, p 144

1 1 . Roman iron frame-saw, used in Egypt; the wood frame is a replica


Story of the Saw : Prehistoric, ancient and medieval times

12. Roman carpenters at work; no toggle is shown on /rame-saw

13. Roman handsaws; example on the right,/rom Sf Germain, is possibly an early back saw

of its particular function ; this was the cross-cut or thwart saw. The raked pull stroke handsaws were all rip saws, made especially for cutting down the grain. Some Iron Age saws even had their teeth almost correctly set so as to allow working clearance in the cut or kerf. For unless the kerf is w ider than the blade the saw will clog. In any case there must be some provision for continuous removal of dust, whether stone or wood . Three ways are known of tackling thi s problem : first, the kerf can be expanded with wedges (a method of the old pit-sawyers and of tree­ fellers) ; second, the back of the saw blade can be made thinner than the toothed edge (as in 1 9th cen­ tury compass and keyhole saws) ; and third, the teeth can be set or bent very slightly to right and left alternately. We owe the final practice to the Romans. The Egyptians had simply used wedges and greased the blade hopefully .8 8 Singer, op cit, VollI, p 229; Mercer, op cit, pp 159- 1 60


The other major innovation of the Iron Age, developed but not invented by the Romans, was the frame-saw. This was an ingenious way of avoiding the bending and buckling of soft metal blades by setting the blade either centrally in a frame or as one side of a frame. Previously all saws had been open and unframed, with a handle at one end or occasion­ ally at both ends of the blade. As early as the Iron Age the frame-saw began to look very much the same as the modern hacksaw. In the type where the blade is one side of the frame itself, strained between two wooden arms and held apart by twisted cord, it can­ not be stated for certain whether the Romans could vary the tension on their blades by means of a toggle­ stick twisted in the centre of the cord. The absence of a toggle-stick device would be a considerable dis­ advaniage, but much worse was the fact that Roman iron blades were still too soft for cutting either effectively or readily on the push-stroke, even in frames. A Roman open saw of the 1st century BC in St Germain-en-Laye, France, has its handle extended along the top edge of the blade, similar to the modern tenon saws, in order to prevent bending on the forward stroke. Like the Etruscans before them, the Romans had long two-handled saws for converting felled timber

and, like the Egyptians, used saws for stone-con­ version. The Egyptian influence was a direct one, for the Romans themselves had quarries in Egypt. Jewish prisoners taken by Emperor Claudius (41-54 AD) worked with copper saws to cut stone in the Eastern desert, their blades being fed with sand and emery in the traditional Egyptian way. 9 Granite blocks are known to have been cut with handsaws in the Roman quarry at Odenwald (in the province of Hesse in Germany). Used for altar stones, these granite blocks were worked with great accuracy and the German scholar, Dr A. Neuburger, has written about them :10 The saw b lade used must have had a length of at least fifteen feet, and have produced cuts only one-sixth of an inch wide, that is, not wider than the modern frame-saw. This description presents a very great achievement, but what is even more impressive is that by the end of the 4th century AD the Romans were successfully employing machine-saws in their German quarries. Ausonius, in his poem about the M oselle countryside entitled Mosella, hailing a tributary stream near Trier Singer, op cit, n, p 29 Neuburger, A. Technical Arts and Sciences of the A ncients, trans H. L. Brose, London, 1930, pp 402 ff 9


14. Early Iron Age open handsaw ..........................................................................................................................

15. Iron Age saw, c. lOO BC. Glastonbury lake village


Story of the Saw : Prehistoric, ancient and medieval times

1 6 . British Iron Age saws,/ound in London

18. Medieval pit-sawyers

1 7. Saxon saw dating from the 10th century found at Thetford in Norfolk


(near the border of modern Luxembourg) which was famed for marble, says :11 He turns his millston es in furious revolutions and drives the shrieking saws through smooth blocks of marble, and so hears from either side a ceasel ess din. The poem was written in about the year 370 AD. While Roman advances were without doubt excep­ tional, examples of saw craftsmanship in other parts of the continent of Europe are n ot ·hard to fin d . Indeed, before the era of the Roman Empire excellent raked iron saws were being made in Britain and Switzerland, examples of which can be seen in the Glastonbury Museum and the Zurich Landesmuseum. A late Celtic saw found in Glastonbury in the year 1 892 actually has set teeth. A Swedish late Iron Age handsaw has teeth set in groups of five on alternate sides of the blade. The handle of the saw is on a tang, which goes right through it and is clinched at the end. It was, however, the need to subjugate, administrate and defend a great continental Empire stretching over the face of Europe that stimulated the Romans to the greatest technical achievements of the age.

Medieval saws The Middle Ages witnessed no significant advances in the technical evolution of the saw other than the

19. Death by saw

introduction of sawmills. These, though they were exploited mainly in the early modern period, actually date back to at least the 1 3th century. Throughout medieval times the use of saws be­ came much more general all over Europe, an d a considerable variety of them was developed . The saw became, next to the axe, the most symbolic of tools. There were five main types of medieval saws, open handsaws, two-handled saws, frame-saws, pit-saws and machine saws. Open handsaws, sabre-like and cutting on the push stroke like those of today, needed to be thick-bladed. Two-man saws could always be kept in tension, if used correctly. Frame-saws had by this time definitely acquired adjustable tension : a 12th century Italian mosaic in Monreale cathedral depicts a startlingly perfected instrument12 of which the blade could be turned out ofl i ne with the frame, to cut a board down its length if necessary. Pit-sawing, previously performed by the Romans, was a method for converting logs into boards and planks, especially for flooring. The cut to be made was marked by placing a stretched string dipped in 11 Ausonius, trans H. G. Evelyn White, Loeb Classics, London, 19 19. Vol I, pp 25 2-3 12 Singer, op cit, n, p 39 I

20. Sawmill from Villard de Honnecourt's sketch­ book (c. 1250)


Story of the Saw: Prehistoric, ancient and medieval times

chalk or pigment over the necessary cutting line, and simply flicking it against the timber. The technique of pit-sawing will be described in a later section. As for medieval machine saws, they depended for their motive-power, like all other machines of their age, on the treadmills, windmills or water-mills which gave a continuous rotary action. The difficulty in the use of the camshaft idea, when applied to sawing, was that saws were not in themselves heavy enough ob­ jects to make the return motions. In Villard de Honnecourt's now well-known machine of about 1250, however, the return motion was made by the simple relaxation of a bent pole.l3 Britain and Russia have provided interesting ex­ amples of handsaws. The earliest saw in England to cut on the push stroke was dug out of a 13th century midden at Windcliff, near N iton, and was reported in the Isle of Wight Archaeological Society Proceedings (1939) :14 The teeth are crosscut and very large, there being only four teeth to the inch. A lternate teeth are slightly set to opposite sides, so that the cut made by the saw itself is wider than the saw. The points of the teeth all slope away from the handle, which shows that this is a push saw. The saw is 0·2 of an inch thick at the teeth and tapers gradually almost to an edge along the back . . . This 13th century saw embodies most of the advan­ tages required . These advantages were tapered blade, teeth raked and set, cutting on the push. Several

British 14th and 15th century church paintings depict push saws, but l ittle other evidence is yet available for earlier years. It seems very likely that the change over from pull to push blades took place gradually during the 12th century, or even in the late 1 1 th century . In Russia, however, some blades of the 1 0th to 13th centuries have luckily survived. They are open hand­ saws and two-man frame bow saws. The handsaws were knife-shaped, over a foot long and one and a half inches wide near the handle. The teeth were graded, more to the inch towards the point of the blade, and they were set, every third tooth being flat­ tened. The bow saws had unset teeth, but the blade tapered towards the back edge. It was during the 10th and 1 1 th centuries that Viking i nvaders took over control of the Slav tribes on the river Dnieper, created a great trade route connecting the Baltic with the Black Sea and Mediterranean and established the first centre of Russian civilisation - the Principality of Kiev. These Russian saws and others like them must have played a great role in the forest industries, in the building of river ports and in the construction of the trading ships which were the basis of economic life i n Kievan Russia. 13

ibid, pp 643-4 Proceedings, Isle of Wight Natural History and Archae­ ological Society, Vol ITI, Part I I , 1 939 : G. C. D unning,


A Thirteenth Century Midden at Windcliff, near Niton


2 1 . The WindclU}'push saw. The earliest British example yet found of a push saw


"''''N0•• ....

22. 1 1 th-13th century Russian handsaw (knife-like) from No vgorod Right: method ofsetting teeth

Modern times (1450 to the present)

In the history of the saw the characteristic feature of the early modern period was undoubtedly the adop­ tion of the sawmill in many parts of Europe and, later in the 17th century, in the New World. Coming into use were blast-furnaces ; and the actual casting of iron (a technique learned by the ancient Romans from the Chinese) was introduced in Britain somewhere be­ tween the years 1490 and 1500, under the reign of Henry VII, the first of the invigorating Tudor dynasty.

Sawmills W e have already noticed two remarkable examples o f sawmills long before the mid-15th century - one Roman and one medieval. But like many other tech­ n ical innovations sawmills were adopted only very gradually, and even as late as the 18th century the pit-saw was still in more general use.l5 It was the ad­ vent of the steam-engine, in the late 18th century, that was the chief stimulus to the widespread employ­ ment of woodworking machinery. Among the earliest known sawmills was one near Augsburg in Germany. The 15th and 16th centuries are full of examples of sawmills :16 from 1420 the Port­ uguese built mills in Madeira to exploit the timber resources of the island ; mills were constructed in Silesia, at Breslau (1427), at Erfurt (1490), in Norway (1530), in Holstein (1545), in Ratisbon (1575 - a very early gang-saw), i n Holland (from 1596) and i n Sweden (from about 1653). The first Norwegian sawmills to practise what con-

temporaries called the 'new art of manufacturing timber' was opened in about 1530 to meet the demands of the expanding export trade in deal (and later, of the deal tax imposed by Christian III in 1545).17 In 1 555, Queen Maty's ambassador to Rome described a sawmill he saw on his journey through France at Lyons. He wrote that the waterwheel : . . . hath a piece of timber put to the axle-tree end, like the handle of a broch (sic), and fastened to the end of a saw . . . Also the timber lieth as it were upon a l adder, which is brought l ittle by little to the saw with another vice.

Despite the ambassador's report18 England was re­ markably conservative and slow to accept sawmills. Although they were used extensively by the Dutch, French, Scandinavians, Germans and Poles, and in every new town in the British colonies of New Eng­ land in the 1 7th century, the English consistently re­ fused to employ them. An attempt by a Dutchman to start a mill near London was prevented by violence from hand sawyers

15 Mercer, op cit, p 1 6 16 Note Disston, op cit, p 1 3 , says 1 322, but gives no particular evidence. M. Powis Bale, Woodworking Mach­ inery, 3rd ed, London 1 91 4 (1 894), pp 4-6, says 1 33 7 and bases it on Stetten: Kunst und Handwerksgeschichte der Stadt Augsburg, 1 779 17 Sawmill Magazine, Sheffield, Vol I, No 4, Nov-Dec. 1 925, p 1 1 2 18 Hardwicke Miscellaneous State papers, 1 501-1723, p 71


Story of the Saw : Modern times

23. A Virginian sawmill 0/1650

in 1 663, and as late as 1 767-68 John Houghton's Limehouse sawmill was destroyed by an angry mob of artisans fearing loss of employment. Thirteen years later Walter Taylor ofSouthampton was turning out ships' blocks for the Royal Navy from a sawmill on the river Itchen using a new circular saw, with which he was q uite successful. It is surpris­ ing that the Navy, despite i ts great need, did not adopt the use of sawmills until the late 1 8th century, and even as late as 1 862 - when the first iron-clad warship was launched - half the N avy's timber was hand con­ verted . The pit-saw method was so costly and la bori­ ous that few deals or boards were in fact cut i n England. It was found t o b e cheaper t o i mport them from Danzig, where they were made cheaply with the help of w indmills. The thriving Baltic and Dutch ports all had sawmills.19 The first American sawmill was probably the one built by Captain W. Gorges in what i s now York,

Maine, in either the year 1623 or 1624. Subsequently every town acquired a mill - i n fact the sawmill followed the frontier l i ne in i ts westward advance across the continent of North America and was the mainstay of the economy of Maine and New Hamp­ shire. In 1 803, a steam-powered sawmill in New Orleans was destroyed by hand sawyers, and about two years later they smashed a mill in Natchez, h igher up the great M ississippi river. Thi s was i n spite of the fact that unlike Britai n with its acute unemployment problems the United States had a long-term labour shortage. The total number of lumbering establish­ ments in the United States i n the year 1 8 1 0 was 2,541 (2,01 6 of them were in Pennsylvania), and immedia­ tely before the Civil War, in 1860, there were ten times that number : 20,658.20 As early as 1 790, when England was only begin­ ning to adopt sawmills, one Massachusetts factory was turning out up to 250 mill-saw blades a year for gang-saws. The effect on American productivity was immediate : a man and a boy could cut 4,000 feet of timber, fifteen feet to twenty feet long and one i nch thick i n ten hours. Even so, the early mill-saw in the Uni ted States was only a single, vertical, reciprocating blade saw, so slow that a sawyer had ample time to squat on the log and eat his lunch . Wind, river and tides turned the m ill-wheels. Saw blades were held in tension i n tough wooden frames, driven up a n d down b y cranks on a revolving shaft attached through cogs to the ever­ turning mill-wheels. Later models, gang-saws, had several blades together. The saw frames were them­ selves inside further frames secured to the mill found­ ations. From the M i ddle Ages onwards many variations in sawmill mechanics evolved. Log carriages could be moved on rollers, by cogwheels, in greased channels by windlass ropes or by suspended weights. In 1 9th

19 Albion, R. G . , Forests and Seapower ( Timber Problem of the Royal Navy, 1 652- 1 862), Cambridge, Mass, 1 926, pp 70, 1 02-3; Wood, Sir H. T., History 0/ the Royal Society 0/ Arts, London, 1 9 1 3, p 247 ; Bale, op cit, p 6 ; Beamish, R . , Memoir 0/ the L�fe 0/ M. I . Brunei, 2 Vols, London, 1 862, Vol I, p 1 1 2 ; Sawmill Magazine, op cit, pp 1 1 2-1 3 20 Defenbaugh, J. E., History 0/ the Lumber Industry in America, 2 Vols, New York, 1 906, Vol J, pp 477, 491 , Vol n, p 6 ; Albion, op cit, p 233 ; Mercer, op cit, p 1 6


24. Mechanicalframe-saw as used in the 15th and 16th centuries


Story of the Saw : Modern times

25. Sheffield saw-makers organise, 1797


century mills the horizontal carriage slid along the mill floor, driven by rack and pinion which was itself moved through ratchet wheels driven by the motion of the saw-frame. The mill-wheels were of many sizes - flutterwheels, overshot and undershot wheels, tubwheels - adapted to achieve the correct velocity from varying volumes of water. One basic principle was common to sawmills of all ages : the timber moved against the saw, never vice versa.21 The 1 9th century witnessed the application of steam and gas power to sawmills, to circular saws and later to bandsaws. M ill men were fairly slow to use electric power because of its initial cost and also because it was at first abused : . . . through the erection of motors not sufficiently power­ ful for their work or to sustain the occasional heavy over­ load to which they are subjected. As late as 1 9 1 0 an English mill expert wrote :22 Steam and gas are still the powers chiefly used in saw­ mills. However, the electric motor, with its constant stand­ ard speed and great adaptability (for working isolated machines or machines with intermittent duty for in­ stance) inevitably came into its own. The significance of these changes in sawmill tech­ nique for the history of saw-making itself is obvious. The much greater speeds and strains and the higher productivity constantly demanded by sawyers from their saws meant continuous pressure for improve­ ment in quality and design. Old, romantic, backwoods reciprocating sawmills have long since gone ; cheaply built and cheaply run, they remained a profitable proposition until the early 1 9th century, when the vast increase in demand for boards and planks was met by steam-powered circular saws.

Handsaws Complete monopoly of timber conversion was never asserted by reciprocating gang-saw mills. Laborious, slow and wasteful, ancient pit-sawing methods showed remarkable persistence and staying power. Towards the very end of the last century ( 1 894) an English observer stated :23 In isolated districts . . . these pit-saws are in considerable use, even at the present time. Even in the United States handsawyers were ripping boards until the 1 820s. Pit-sawing thus long outlived the sawmill that once had threatened to supersede it. Saw pits in 1 9th century England were up to fifty

26. 15th century carpenters. From H istory of


feet long, four to six feet wide and five or six feet deep . Two strong timbers ran the whole length (side­ strakes), with cross-pieces at either end (head-sills) and intermediate cross-pieces, shifted under the log while sawing (transoms) . These strakes, sills and transoms were all replaced in sawmills by the movi ng log carriage.24 One man worked down below in the pit, very uncomfortably, and his partner in the more favourable position on top. The appellations 'top­ sawyer' and 'pitman' survived for many years. The framed, two- or three-man pit-saw used in primary timber conversion, had a thin, narrow blade, 21

Mercer, op cit, pp 25-6, 28; Bale, op cit, p 36 ibid, P 1 39 23 i bid, P 36 24 Holtzapffel , c . , Tu rning and Mechanical Manipulation, 2 Vols, London, 1 846, Vol U, p 703 22


Story of the Saw :

Modern times

flexible and adj ustable - large toothed for ripping down the grain, and finer toothed for shipyard and joinery work. Two men could cut ful l length sixteen­ foot boards by placing logs on the transom. American , shipyard workers of the last century used a version with all the teeth raked downwards and with no pit. Instead, the logs were sawn Chinese fashion ; that i s, the top sawyer stands on one end of the l og, which is rested against a trestle. The pitman does all the real work, pulling on the downward stroke. In China and Korea before the Communist revolution an American­ type bucksaw with two toggles was used. An Italian fresco in Pisa (Campo Santo) shows this kind of pit­ sawing as early as 1 3 50.25 Open, as opposed to framed, pit-saws were prob­ ably not extensively employed until the 1 780s, because their manufacture demanded smooth, broad steel

2 7. 'Les Charpentiers' by Richard Tassel, 1580-1660

plates of good quality - not easy to produce i n a blacksmith's forge, or even with a water-powered trip-hammer. Rolling and slitting mills were known in the 1 6th century i n what later became Belgium (Liege) and also in Germany. In 1 588, the Elizabethan engineer Bevis Bulmer was licensed to build the first in England. Their development was very slow and by the 1 8th century there were still not more than twenty rolling mills capable of making quality open pit-saw blades in the country. It was steam-power that altered the picture in the 1 780s.26 By the mid- 1 9th century open pit-saws had generally replaced the 25

Mercer, op cit, pp 1 7, 24 ibid, P 34. N ote D r Mercer's claim that the rolling mills were altering the situation i n the 1 760s seems twenty years too soon . See for instance, Schubert, op cit 26

28. English Saw Yard.

M S Diccionario de Construccion Naval, ji rst half of 18th century 29. Elementary mechanisation. Bergeron, M anuel

du Tourneur, Paris, 1816

framed variety in American and British shipyards - though not in Europe and not in the lumbering industry. Open pit-saws were thick, long, tapered two- or three-man saws, with upper handle (tiller) fixed and lower (box) adjustable. A rare copper engraving of the 1 6th century by Antonio Tempesta of Florence depicts an open pit-saw in use Chinese fashion in a satire on building called The Age of Brass. Several references to it as a whipsaw occur in 1 7th century Massachusetts records, though mistakenly, and in 1 9 1 5 a U nited States manufacturer revived them for the Russian market. 27 Primary timber conversion demanded another kind of saw, the cross-cut or thwart saw. Not used for making boards, they played a less vital but important part. Two-man thwart saws had vertical handles at each end at right angles to the blade. Single models had a hollow grasp handle, as on general saws today. The long and very unsteady blades had unusual 27

M ercer, op cit, pp 2 1 , 23, 28. Essex County ( Mass United States) Probate records, 1 654 : 'one Whip-saw, 5 shillings ; one Crosscut saw, 3 shillings'


Story of the Saw : Modern times

tives, the keyhole saw and the tenon saw. Significant in the building of material civilisation in the New World was the open handsaw ; it was exported from Britain (chiefly from Sheffield) even long after the 1 830s when local producers were firmly established in the United States. Shipping b i lls in the Spear and Jackson archives in Sheffield show that the firm, having successfully weathered great financial troubles in 1 820-2 1 , was exporting saws to the continent of Europe (Calais, Hamburg, Antwerp) via H uI I and to the United States (New York) via Liverpool. In July, 1 826, three casks valued at £75 went to France at a cost of £3 7s 7d (duty 1 6s 6d). In November 28

M ercer, op cit, pp 31-4

3 1 . Early 15th century saw.


30. Sf Simon with M-toothed cross-cut saw.

Chasse de St Hippoiyte, c. 1477

teeth, widely spaced to avoid clogging in the kerf, and set at right angles to the blade without any hint of rake, thus cutting either way. One type had double ( M-shaped) teeth raked in both directions. Thwart saws must have been the principal open, two-man saws in use for many decades before the late 1 8th century when the successful manufacture of open pit-saws became feasi ble. Certainly, open cross-cut saws did yeoman service in Britain and Europe from the early 1 5th century onwards. County records i n Massachusetts refer to them often i n the 1 7th century, and after about 1 880 they began to replace the axe i n the U nited States a s the major tool for tree-felling.2 8 So much for timber conversion . The basic shaping and fitting tools of the 1 8th and 1 9th centuries were the Anglo-American open handsaw and its deriva-

Poems of Christine de

32. Noah building the Ark.

Bedford Book of Hours


Story of the Saw : Modern times

of the same year a single cask valued at £ 1 00 went to New York for £ 1 I s 8d (duty l Os) and again i n December another cask went t o J. S. Rousevelt and Sons for 1 6s 3d (duty 8s). The casks of blades were about five feet high and four feet diameter and they were very securely packed. Until railways were built, the casks went to Liverpool by packhorse over the Pennine Moors, and then to New York or by clipper round the H orn to San Francisco. From these distri­ buting centres they served settlers of the entire Far West in the mid- 1 9th century. Usually, though not always, Americans fitted their own handles to Sheffield blades. These were wide, smooth-ground crucible steel blades, often about two feet by ten inches, with triangular, pointed, raked teeth, cutting on the push. Some time i n the early 1 8th century ancient pistol­ grip open handles on tangs began to be replaced on saws as well as planes by closed handles common to­ day, of which the American pattern was slightly different from the British. Keyhole, compass and tenon saws are essentially special smaller varieties of one-man open handsaws,

33. A Baslow (Derbyshire) inn sign from ' The Joiner's A rms' (demolished some 200 years ago). The handle ofthe saw was originally open, as evidenced

34. Holy Family. Saenredam, c. 1590

by the rivet marks on the cross-bar

and were evolved in early modern times. They share the same characteristics : being extra stiff or extra wide because they are all unframed, and cut on the push stroke. (There are Chinese, Japanese and Turkish open handsaws that cut on the pull.) Keyhole saws have straight, bread-knife type hand­ les, riveted to the blades, which are extra narrow for fine carpenter's work and therefore extra thick for sta­ bility. Their teeth are not set. A good example is shown in Durer's picture Melancholia ( 1 5 1 4) . A larger variety of key hole saw is the compass, sometimes called a locksaw with un set teeth and pistol-grip handle. Tenon saws and their derivatives have short, rect­ angular, thin blades with teeth slightly set, and streng­ thened by a stiff metal strip along the top edge. This prevents them from entirely penetrating the wood. (From which they earn the name back saws.) Since the 1 8th century they have had hollow grasp handles, slotted and riveted on the blade. In 1 960s as in 1 760, tenon saws serve these same purposes : to cross-cut


35. The earliest dated evidence 0/ a closed h andsaw handle. A carpenter's gravestone in th e churchyard 0/ St lohn-sub-Castro, Lewes, Sussex, 1747


Story of the Saw : Modern times

36. 18th century Swedish handsaws

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

37. Early 18th century Dutch saws/ram the Peter the Great Collection, Leningrad. Abo ve : hacksaw. Belo w: handsaw

38. 18th century Swedish hacksaw. A nother example, the blade much worn by repeated sharpening

. 610


& jn � 61.5


39. Early 19th century handsaws. Smith's Key to the Manufactories of Sheffield, 1812


Story of the Saw : Modern times

40. Backsaw used in the 1 770s by Samuel Crompton, inventor of the spinning mule

41. Shop sign showing c rossed saws and gridiron, London, c. 1 780

42. Swedish compass saw, 1 9th century


44. Late 18th century Swedish shoulder saw . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..

43. 18th and early 19th century Swedish tenon saws

45. French scie a araser ( 1 75 1 - 1 769)

46. 18th century Dutch floorboard saw, used/or cutting floorboards in position


Story o f the Saw : Modern times

48. Buck saw withjixed bladefa voured by the French in the 18th century. Buck saws and bow saws are still widely used, especially in Scandina via

47. St Joseph and the Holy Child, c. 1525

generally, and to cut smooth edges of tenon and dovetai l joints and mitre fittings . Dovetail saws and sash saws are specific types of tenon or back saw, the latter usually backed with brass.29 Like primary conversion saws, shaping and fitting saws have also evolved a framed species - they are bow saws and their family. In essence bow saws are thin, narrow, slightly raked blades strained between the lower ends of two wooden arms, the top ends of which are joined by twisted cord ; constant pressure from the cord (variable by adjusting the toggle-stick) tends to prise open the lower ends of the frame thus straining the blade. A s w e have seen the Romans h a d a version, b u t whether they could vary the tension is unknown. Buck saws are s imilar to bows, and the two co-existed through­ out the M iddle Ages and down to the 1 8th century ; thesp; two types are often confused in historical prints and paintings. The chief distinction is that bow saws have an adjustable blade to cut in any direction and out of the plane of the frame. The depth of cut of bow saws was thus not limited by the cross-brace im­ peding movement. Buck saws on the other hand were strictly l i mited with the fixed blade to the cross-cutting of narrow, thin articles - although according to Diderot's Encyclopedie, they were favoured by French 1 8th century carpenters. In North, Central and Eastern Europe, China and Korea, woodworkers preferred bow saws to open handsaws for cross-cutting and ripping alike. A 29

ibid, pp 1 1 1 , 1 3 9

49. French carpenter's sign, 18th century


Story of the Saw : Modern times

50. 18th century French coping saw

complete early i llustration - with toggle-stick and adjustable blade - is i n a Venetian woodcut of 1 482.30 In the same saw family are the Buhl saws, named after a 1 7th century craftsman of Itali an extraction an i nlayer of brass and tortoiseshell - who worked at the t ime of Louis XIV . (A. C. Boule, 1 642- 1 732.) He designed his saws for speciali sed, delicate work and throughout the following two centuries they were used for marquetry, clockmaking and scrollwork. Modern fretsaws, all metal and mass produced, with very fine adjustable blades fastened by screws, are the direct progeny of these Buhl saws 30

51. Fe/toe saw, used by wheelwrights and chairmakers

ibid, pp 1 45-5 1


A frame-saw well over a century old, one of many of its k i nd, used in a Cali forni a Gold Rush in 1 8 5 1 , has been discovered i n a gravel-pit of a worked-out goldmine at Yreka Creek , and is now in the Siskiyou County Museum in California. The b lade bears a Sheffield manufacturer's stamp (Spear and Jackson) and is i n an excellent condition ; but unfortunately the tough oak h andle had begun to rot. The green oak branch was bent in a half-circle to provide the spring that held the b lade in tensi o n - not at a l l unl i ke the modern tubular steel frame-saws or log saws.31 The 1 8th century veneer saws were heavy two-man frame-saws easily confused with p it-saws except for their fine blades. These saws became obsolete i n the

52. 18th century veneer sawing.

53. Sabot maker's saw

1 820s with the adopti on o f BruneI's powered circular veneer saw (patented in 1 806) which coul d cut fifteen to twenty veneers to the i nch (as opposed to six to twelve by hand) and this gave birth to the fashion i n veneers for interior decoration during t h e first half o f Queen V ictoria's reign . O n e o f the most special ised of a l l the handsaws, and probably totally extinct, were felloe saws (wheelwright's or chairmaker's saws). Fel l oe saws were very much l ighter, small one-man frame-saws with no handles ; they were used at least unt i l the 1 890s. a1

Forest and Mill, Vancouver B C, Vol 1 1 , No 8, 27 April

1 948, p 8

Roubo : L'art du menuisi er ebeniste, Paris 1 774


Story of the Saw : Modern times

Circular saws Changes in h andsaw design were comparatively minor steps in the story of the saw compared with the inven­ tion and adaptation of circular saws. The underlying principle of circular saws to cut by continuous action instead of merely reciprocal action, was quite re­ volutionary . Perhaps i t was even of greater signifi­ cance than the i n vention of sawmills, for once the principle of cont inuous rotary action was established in the use of circular saws, this, in turn, led i nevitably to t h at of cont i nuous non-rotary action i n the band­ saws. G ang-saw (reci procal) mills, circular saws and bandsaws are the three greatest innovations in the evolution of the saw since the Iron Age. According to the latest evidence available, the first Englishman who 'mastered the inherent difficulties of making the circular saw into a workshop tool ',32 was a Southampton carpenter named WaIter Tayl or ( J 734- 1 803) . He was, in fact, preceded i n the invention of the circular saw by a sai l-maker from his home town, Samuel M i ller. M i ller's patent (No 1 1 52) was registered on 5th August, 1 777, for ' an entirely new machine for more expeditiously sawing a l l kinds of wood, stone and ivory ; and the saws are made of a circular figure'. The saw was to be driven by a h orizontal windmill , and an automatic l og carriage of sorts was provided for.33 There i s nothing to show that M iller ever constructed his machine, and it seems that Taylor's claim remains valid. An earlier type - in reality a milling cutter used for mak ing clock teeth and watch wheels - was used in England by Robert Hooke in about 1 670. Also in the Netherlands, C : c. Jonge Calff patented some­ t hing l i ke a circular saw on 25th June, 1 645. But circular saws proper were nurtured in R oyal Navy shipyards, by Taylor, Bentham and BruneI . WaIter Taylor was fortunate in his natural inheri­ tance because he came from several generations of skilled artisans. In 1 762 he took the opportunity of a Royal Navy contract for the manufacture of ships' blocks at Southampton to apply mechanisation. He used a horse-drawn mi ll for sawin g, but as the demand for blocks increased, he switched first to a watermill (at Weston on t he river Test) and then to a better mill with more summer water, an ex-Norman cornmill, on the river Itchen (Wood M il l ) . Here, in 1 78 1 , four years after Miller's patent, he used circular saws. According to local opinion the saws :

. . . proved of ineffable use in expeditiously cutting t imber for any purpose, particularly lignum vitae shivers, to an exact thickness . . . formerly done in a tedious way by the manual labour of the workman with the axe, mallet and chisel. Hampshire Repository, 1801

It is very likely that Sir Samuel Bentham ( 1 7571 83 1 ) visited Taylor's mill once or twice between com­ pleting his apprenticeship in 1 778 and taking out his own great comprehensive patent, No 1 95 1 , for labour saving devices in naval dockyards. In April, 1 793 Bentham himself admitted : Working by a rotative motion has already been used, as I understand, in a few instances such as cutting t imber into boards, or i n cutting logs for firewood, cutting mortices for ships' blocks, cutting the teeth of cog wheels and other slight indentures in metal.

His own contribution was segmental circular saws, later developed in the 20th century, to a great art and science. Saws of 'considerable diameter' he wrote,34 . . . may be mor e advantageously composed of annular segments, fastened on the face of the f1aunch.

Brother of the more famous Jeremy Bentham, Samuel possessed great administrative talents. The story of his work as Inspector-General of Naval works, is to some extent the administrative history of the Napoleonic war. He designed and buiIt warships in the Crimea for Catherine the Great of Russia. He was sent to Russia again in 1 805, partly to build British ships there and partly because his flood of ideas and efficiency were too much for his seniors to stomach. His patent specifications h ave amazingly wide range, including machines for p laning, moulding and dove­ tailing and crown and cylinder saws as well as the segmental circular saw. Yet he had the extra talent necessary to recognise talent in others - and in BruneI particularly. Sir Marc Isambard BruneI ( 1 769-1 849), the builder of the first Thames tunnel (not to be confused with his equally famous son, Isambard Kingdom BruneI, the shipbuilder, bridgebuilder and railway engineer), was thirty-two years of age when, in 1 80 1 , he designed ships' block-making machinery for Bentham at Ports­ mouth. BruneI was not yet Vice-President of the 32 Dickinson, Dr H. W., The Taylors of Southampton i n Edgar AlIen News, V o l 35, No 404, Feb 1 95 6, pp 38-41 33 Sawmill Magazine, op cit, p 1 1 3 ; Bale, Stoneworking Machinery, 2nd ed, London, 1 898, p 25 34 Dickinson, op cit


Royal Society, but he had travel led extensively in the United States (1793-1799) and had the chance to see many frontier sawmills. In 1802-3 his designs were accepted by Bentham on behalf of the Royal Navy and the machines were built by yet another great figure of the Industrial Revolution - Maudsley. The BruneI operations at Portsmouth dockyards are one of the earliest examples of the use of machine tool s i n mass production . B y 1808 h e was turning out 130,000 blocks a year, enabl ing ten unskilled men to do the work of one hundred and ten skilled artisans. He saved the Admiralty £ 1 7,000 a year at a time of crisis in British naval history during a large-scale war in which there were chronic supply shortages. Elm logs, from which the blocks were made, were cut i nto required lengths by two cross-cutting machines, one circular and one reciprocal - in a combination that an expert of a century later said 'would not do discredit to a designer even of the present day' .35 Cir­ cular saws were fixed to move around the logs and cut ti mber almost their own diameter. The blocks were then cut to rough shape on circular saw benches. The very heart of BruneI's labour-saving scheme was clearly the circular saw. In 1805 Br�nel advanced a very futuristic scheme for bending timber under heat, and several minor im­ provements in sawing machinery to do with log carriages ; while in 1806, as we have already noticed, he patented a highly successful veneer-cutting machine. Two years later he was asked to design special saw­ mills for Woolwich by the Ordnance department. His own sawmill at Battersea was opened in the spring, then he had patented a circular saw. BruneI's circular saws of 1808 were intended 'to cut out thin boards or slips with as little waste as appears practicable' . The two essentials were, that these saws should be very thin and very stable. In 1812-13 two more BruneI patents were sought for minor improve­ ments in frame-saw mills, and in the same year he was asked to improve Chatham Docks toO.36 An ex­ tremely modest man, he wrote ; 'I cannot claim the merit of original i n vention i n sawmills ' . BruneI was justly admired for a l l h i s achievements by his contemporaries. Maria Edgeworth said of his block-making : Machinery so perfect appears to act with the certai nty of instinct and the foresight of reason combined.

The Russian government wooed him, as it had Bentham, and he received from the Tzar a ruby en-

54. Sir Marc lsambard Brunei, 1 769- 1849, by James Northcote

circled with diamonds which sti l l remains in the famiIy. BruneI's machines cut timber at ten to twelve feet a minute (tended by a single man). He cut the price of sawing straight timber to one-sixth (from 3s a hund­ red to 6d) and of cutting iron pins (gun-carriage axles) to one-twelfth (3s to 3d) . This was a startling result, 35 Bale, Woodworking Machinery, p 6 ; Singer, op cit, L V, p 427 36 Note Edlin, H . L. , Woodland Crafts, London, 1 948, p 1 9, says B runei was at Chatham i n 1 799, wh ich is unlikely, as he only returned to England from the U nited States in March of that year


Story of the Saw : Modern times

even for the Industrial Revolution. For his work at Woolwich Arsenal he received a grant of £4,500. His own mill at Battersea was unfortunate and became a less happy affair. He greatly reduced the price of furn iture but lost most of his fortune, and the mill was even gutted by fire i n 1 8 1 4. There was much opposition to BruneI from hand sawyers and others. BruneI was vilified as a 'foreigner' (he was born in France) who received government finance, for his 'expensive, strapbreaking, crank­ breaking' mach inery. Tt did not matter that later on a mill was erected at Rotherh ithe by a Scot (Renn ie) wh ich proved much less efficient, whi le Brunei's de­ signs were used in Tri n idad ( 1 82 1 ) and British Guiana ( 1 824). The fairest conclusion on BruneI i s in his own statistics, submitted i n November, 1 8 1 1 , to the N avy Board in favour of mechan ising the dockyards. A summary is given here.37

B ru ne i ' s statement of N o vember 1 81 1 BruneI claimed that four sawmi lls would supply all the needs of Portsmouth, Plymouth, Chatham, Woolwich, Sheerness and Deptford yards. 2 He took an average works of 600 men (300 pai rs of sawyers) whose average datal wages would be 6s 4td per day a pair (3s 6d for top-sawyer, 2s 1 0td for p itman), but whose piece-work averaged higher at l Os per day. One pai r could cut 220 feet of t imber per day 220 x 300 = 66,000 feet per day Of this total three-fifths was 'of a type fit to be cut by a sawmill' ( i .e, 40,000 feet) 3 He then analysed the cost of cutting this 40,000 feet a day by machine a mill of eight frames (average thi rty-six saws) could cut 1 ,260 feet per hour i .e, 1 0,000 feet per day four mills would thus be needed £ 1 1 ,400 Cost of one mill yearly expenses (interest on capital, wear and tear, and running etc) at 23i per cent of the above = £2,650 average cash value of sawn timber at 4s 2d per 1 00 feet for 1 0,000 feet (one day's work ) = £20 1 6s 8d for one year (300 days) = £6,250 deduct yearly expenses


profit :

£3,600 per year

Thus, profit on four mills would be fourX £3,600 = £ 1 4,400 per annum.

4 BruneI thus hoped to make a government profit of £ 1 4,400 a year on the cutting of this 40,000 feet of timber by mach ine.

Other inve nti ons Meanwhile i n ventors elsewhere had not been i dle. In France, L . C. A . Albert patented an 'endless saw' (scie sans fin) in 1 799. This was a disc with toothed segments attached. In England, George Smart's patent c ircular saw for cutting the staves of sold iers' wooden canteens was registered (No 24 1 5) in June, 1 800. The chief advances of the century in circular saw design were i n the quality and tensi on i ng of steel and the use of i nserted and d iamond i mpregnated teeth. Manufacturing and tempering a thin d isc of steel of 1 8 inches d iameter or more, with higher speeds of revolution for wood than for metal, and the design of high-speed bearings, presented early 1 9th century craftsmen with thorny problems. The rim speed of 4,000 feet per minute, although less than half that of modern saws - was very fast for badly-balanced, un­ ground, untensioned, fiat, heavy plate, with roughly punched teeth. It was i n the United States that the fi rst successful i nserted tooth c ircular saw was i nvented . America's first circular saw was hammered out in about 1 8 1 4 i n a blacksmith's forge at Benton ville, i n the State of New York, by Benjamin Cummins ( 1 772- 1 843). Six years later, on 1 6th March, 1 820, R . Eastman and J . Jaquith (Brunswick, Maine) patented a n ormal cir­ cular saw, and i n 1 824 Eastman alone secured a patent for a 'false tooth' saw. Instead of continuous teeth around the rim, thi s had four cutting sections of two inserted teeth each fixed at equal d istances.38 It has been claimed that from the end of the Napoleon ic war (\ 8 1 5) to about 1 83 5 circular saw engineering in England suffered a standstill. However, things were certa i nly different in the 1 840s. A price catalogue from the Spear and Jackson archives, of March, 1 845, adverti ses 'patent engine turned, cast steel circular saws' of d iameters from 2 inches to 48 i nches (price range, 2s 6d to £ 1 2) , with considerable variety and spacing of teeth. 3 7 Frere, E. Notice historique sur la vie et les travaux de Marc lsambard BruneI, Rouen, 1 850, passi m ; Beamish,

op cit, pp 99- 1 03 , 1 05- 1 07 38 Bale, op cit, P 9 ; Disston, op cit, pp 1 4- 1 5


55. Spear and lackson price list 0/ circular saws, March 1845

56. Industry in Sheffield: saw-making in the 19th century

5 7. Sheffield's name for quality in saws is of long standing. The Cross of the Legion ofHonour was con/erred on Samuel Jackson at the Paris Exhibition of 1855

58. A nother decoration bestowed in 1873 : Joseph Burdekin Jackson is honoured by the Emperor Francis Joseph of A ustria. These honours and awards were typical of many earned by Sheffield cutters and saw-makers at this time

In 1 85 1 at the Great Exhibition, Spear and Jackson were awarded a G old Medal for, in the officia l words of the citation :39

Why was so much effort and imagination put into inventing i nserted tooth circular saws ? Chiefly, be­ cause their d iameter remains always constant, they

. . . a cast steel circular saw, of the large size of five feet diameter and of such signal beauty and perfection that it stands far above comparison with any other i n the building. The m ere excellence of its quality and workmanship however would not, the jury are aware, have enabled them to distinguish it by a council medal, if they had not been able to satisfy themselves that its merits are the result of a new and pecul iar process of manufacture.

During the 1 850s machines and ideas in the United States were introduced and adapted to English needs. For i nstance, in 1 859, Spaulding of Sacramento, California, solved the vexed problem of holding in­ serted teeth firmly in place, with his curved sockets. This discovery contri buted much to the increased popularity of inserted tooth saws. But on the other hand, inserted tooth saws for stone-cutting were de­ veloped in Britai n by George Hunter (I 865). The leading firm i n the United States, Henry Disston and Sons, I nc (founded by a man who had previously worked at Spear and Jackson's in Sheffield), were making huge i nserted tooth saws at the turn of the century for stone and timber converSion .

39 Spear and Jackson archives ; also Yorkshire Evening News, 5 May 1 953, p 2

59. Early form of inserted-tooth sa w: holder and wedge-fitted tooth. Original hoe patent registered in the USA c. 1 8 70 was for a solid tooth insert, later developed into a t wo piece spring shank and a bit or tooth


Story of the Saw : Modern times

60. An obsolete Slack 's machine knife grinding with tilting table and fixed wheel occupies the foreground. Behind it is the saddle-type machine on which the grinder sits astride. Such machines were formerly employedfor grinding saws

run for years and keep their cutting edge. Teeth, being carbon steel or chrome plated stay sharp longer yet are easi ly file sharpened.

Stone-working saws

' The ancient Egyptians had used bronze saws with jewelled teeth for difficult stone-cutting operations, but 1 9th century stone-cutting demanded the evolu­ tion of the diamond-tipped circular saw. Some of the honour goes to a Frenchman named Jacquin, who perfected a working saw in 1 88 5 . Previously, a model which was exhibited by a compatriot in Paris in 1 854 led to nothing. The use of industrial diamonds for tipping the teeth of circular saws developed i n the late 1 9th century, mainly in the United States, superseding the older frame-saws. The diamonds were black ones from Brazil . The d ifficulty was to hol d thejewels i n posi­ tion .40 In the two largest diamon d stone-cutting saws in the world at present ( I 960) which were made in the late 1 950s by the Scots firm, Anderson-Grice of Carnoustie, and by Spear and Jackson of Sheffield,

the segments heavi ly faced with i n dustrial d iamonds are brazed to the perimeter of the steel body. The long story of the saws as a stone conversion instrument dates from the building of the Pyramids. After many centuries of evol ution metal saws began to take an important part i n cutting and shaping hot and cold metals also. A machine saw was used in an English cannon foundry in England in 1 603, for cut­ t i ng off the gunhead after the cannon had been cast.H G r an ite was being machine-sawn i n Aberdeen i n 1 739, and marble (by waterpower) i n Ashford, near Bake­ well, i n 1 748. Samuel M iller's patent of 1 777, which has already been mentioned, was for a circular saw to cut, among other things, stone. Sir Samuel Bentham in 1 793 and Joseph Bramah i n 1 802 patented stone­ working machinery, and in the U nited States OIiver Evans of Philadelphia had in 1 803 a ' double-acting high-pressure steam-engine' driving 'twelve saws i n heavy frames, sawing a t the rate o f 1 0 0 feet o f marble 40 41

Bale, Stoneworking Machinery, p 36 S inger, op cit, Ill, p 365


in twelve hours'.4 2 An English made marble-sawing machine of the early 1 9th century at Kilkenny on the river Nore in I reland, had a 1 0 feet diameter, twelve­ float water-wheel driving two frames, one of twelve and one of eight saws, and a frame of five polishers. The saw blades were of soft iron and had to be re­ placed weekly. The 'real father of stoneworking machinery' how­ ,ever is said to be lames Tulloch ( Mi ll bank, London) who built the most complete stone-working plant with reciprocal and circular saws in 1 824. Also in that same period of alleged stagnation in circular saw design, G. W . Wilde patented a friction disc in 1 8 3 3 . A smooth circular metal plate for marble sawing, it was fed with san d and water, but was without teeth. The early ci rcular saws for stone were the ripping­ bed variety. This consi sted of several saws mounted ,on one rising and fal ling spindle to regulate their depth of cut, with the stone on a moving carriage fed for­ ward by screw or counterpoise. During the last two decades of the 1 9th century improved machines were introduced with large diameter blades for sawing, facing and edging stone, and with fitted teeth. The i n­ ventor of stone cutting fitted teeth saws, George H unter, worked closely with Sir W. F. Cooke on all sorts of improvements in stone-cutting machinery. H unter claimed in 1 865 that his teeth were especially suited for cutting thick rock slabs ( Bath, York or Portland), for u ndercutting stone, slate and coal in situ, and for facing stone. The teeth were made from a bolt of best rod steel, the head forged like a trumpet shape, turned at the edge and hardened, and set i n steel sockets. Saw shafts had a d iameter o f 1 5t inches and the whole apparatus stood some seventeen feet from the floor, as blades had a thi rteen foot d iameter. H unter designed two of these monster saws for the Tyne Navigation Commi ssion, which were built by Powis, lames and Company, under the supervision of M. Powis Bale, a leading authority and author oflater years.43 In 1 898, Powis Bale predicted some possible future use of bandsaws - perhaps even d iamon d tipped - at s low speeds (say, 250 feet per minute) for curved stone­ cutting such as Gothic arches. The nearest thing to bandsaws used in 20th century quarries had been wire-saws. Their principle is as old as the Stone Age - simple abrasion . They are in essence endless, three­ stranded (0 · 1 6 inch to 0 ·22 inch) steel cables, driven by ordinary 1 0 hp engines. They have been used

with success since 1 926 in the Un ited States slate quarries (the US Bureau of M i nes issued reports to enco urage their use in marble quarries too, in 1 9303 1 ) . They have also been used with success in slate, marble and limestone q uarries in I taly , France and Belgium.44 Yet despite such inventions, old folkways persist with charmi ng though i nefficient d isregard : operators of reciprocati n g swing-saws and wire-saws refusing to recognise the advent of circular saws (with or without inserted teeth and d iamond tips), are sti l l faithful t o these older ways in a t least o n e British q uarry.

Bandsaws The first man to use band or ri bbon saws for cutting metal was G eneral Tulloch, who i ntroduced band­ saws i nto Woolwich Arsenal after being very impress­ ed by one he saw at a French exhibition in 1 85 5 . Bandsaws had been i n vented h a l f a century before by William Newberry, (patent No 3 1 05) London, 1 808. Specified as 'machinery for sawing wood, splitting or paring ski n s . . . ' they were basically an 'end less' ser­ rated steel r i bbon, stretched around pulleys. New­ berry's patent is an example, u n usual in history, of the birth of an idea almost 'fuII-grown' . A later i nventor, W. S. Worssam, wrote4:> about this bandsaw : Newberry appears not only to have conceived the prin­ ciple of the bandsaw and the details of the mechanism for operating it, but al30 to have foreseen nearly a l l the various purposes to which the creat ion of his m i nd might be appl ied. Newberry did not antici pate metal-cutti ng. His plan included : bandsaw ri bbon with flanged pul leys to carry it ; support guides to mai ntain the line of cut ; wedge devices for tension ; a canting table (adj ustable table angle) for sawing material ; rol ler-feed for straight pieces ; and even a radial arm for cutting wheel fel loes. 42

Bale, op cit, pp 25-7


Society of Arts, Journal, Vol XV, p 1 9 ; Bale, op cit, pp 43-4, 5 1 44 Bowles, 0 . , Significant Features of Wire-Saw Operation in Europe, I n formation Circular No 648 3 , U S Dept of Commerce, B ureau of M ines, August 1 93 1 ; also his Tech­ n ical Paper No 469, The Wire-Saw in Slate Quarrying, U S Dept etc, 1 930 ; ( both publ i n Washi ngton, D C) ; Weigel, W. M., Application of the Wire-Saw in Marble Quarrying,

A merican l nst of Mining and Metal Engineeri ng, Tech . Pubn No 262, New York, 1 930 45 Worssam, W. S., History of the Bandsaw, Manchester, 1 892, pp 7-8


Story of the Saw : Modern times

61. William Newberry's bandsaw, 1808

It had two defects only : the web (bJade) was difficult to remove, and the pul1ey rims were not cush ioned to protect the blade.46 This remarkable and revolut ionary invention, which coul d totally transform the sawi ng process, never got beyond the patent and model stage. Four years later, in September ] 8 1 2 - the year of Napoleon's d isastrous march on Moscow and of Luddite machine-smashing riots by the unemployed in Britain - a French civil servant developed a new type bandsaw. He worked as a sub-engineer in the Highways department, and was caned Touronde. His plan, wh ich he did not patent, provided cloth tyres to cushion the pul 1ey rims. Then followed an apparent hiatus of about th i rty-five years, at the same period as the al leged setback in circu lar saw engineering. Band­ saws were simply not good enough. Steel was not of sufficient quality, and above all , the webs snapped too easily. The techn ique of brazing metal joints was still not properly understood . E arly bandsaw webs were

narrow (not over one i nch wide) and the machines were treadle-operated and wooden-wheeled. In 1 842 another French engineer, Thouard, sub­ mitted a forty-two page patent specification for a bandsaw to cut two pieces (stone or wood) s i multane­ ously, one piece by the up and one by the down blade. The web was jointless, made from a ri ng ; its produc­ tivity rati o to reciprocating saws was 1 : 30 ; but when built in 1 846 it snapped too readily. Thouard's fai l ure did not deter a female compatriot, Mademoiselle Crepin, 'a l ady with mechanical proclivities of no mean order' ,47 frompatentingher own version of New berry' s machine in the same year. I n this machine the pulley rims were covered i n leather and the gui des improved. (French patent N o 223 82 in the Brevet d' Invention, IX, p 84, 1 846.) The lead ing Frenchman to develop Newberry's i dea quicker in France than Britain was the Parisian veneer expert, Peri n . It was his machine at the Pala i s d ' Industrie i n 1 855 that i mpressed General Tulloch s o much . Per i n snapped u p M ademoiselle Crep i n ' s patent, t o develop her mach i ne for l i ght work (for which, i ronically in the l ight of its l ater h istory, band­ saws were originally intended). H is use of spring steel as wel l as a simple but effective method of rejoini n g in case o f fracture, was patented i n 1 85 3 . He acrueved power-saving, continuous and therefore economical sawing, and (for his day) great speed - 5,000 feet per minute. That bandsaw performed feats 'impossible by any other known mechanical means' .4S A series of British bandsaw patents fol lowed, be­ tween 1 855 and 1 876. Two of those i n 1 856 suggested treatments of blades : lames Barbour (London) said the web should be hammered before mounting to make i t sprin g i n to shape after rounding the pulleys ; William Exall (Readi ng) said the blade needed heat­ treatment (by blow-pipes, l amps or ord inary fire), and tempering between steel rollers. Henry Wilson in 1 858, i nvented spring bearings to allow movement in the pul leys on expansion and con­ traction, and thus prevent fracture ofthe web. Thomas Greenwood of Leeds exhibited a patented model adapted to curvil i near cutting (ships' r i bs) i n 1 862, and i n the 1 860s and 1 870s special designs to make band­ saws a heavy i nstrument were evolved, including 46

Sawmill Magazine, Vol n , No 5 , lan-Feb J 926, pp 7-9 ;

Worssam, op cit 47 ibid, p 9 48 ibid, p 1 0


Finnegan's horizontal band saws for heavy logs ( 1868)

economical oftimber and adaptable, bandsaws would

and McDowell's triple machines mounted in one bed

inevitably becomemore general for primary ]og conver­

for mass-production (l 876).

A cloth-cutting band­

sion.51 It was certainly a Sheffield firm that opened the

saw was patented in 1874. This was a toothless,

Canadian market for band saw blades ; but in the United States, where the bandsaw had been indepen­

self-sharpening steel band.49 By 1900, bandsaws were an accepted tool in most

dently invented in 1849, by Lemuel Hedge, blades

large engineering works for metal-cutting operations.

were much wider than in England. Disston's made a

One such bandsaw employed at Woolwich Arsenal,

6 inch blade for a Philadelphia Exhibition of 1 876.

could cut cold metal to a depth of 1 2 feet. Combina­

The English inventor Worssam h ad visited the United

tion machines for sawing both wood and metal already existed, geared for the necessary speed change.

A cata­

Stateshimselfat the outbreak ofthe civil war, 1 860-6 1 , and had found n o bandsaws working a t that time.

logue of Spear and lackson for 1900 advertised cast

Between the two world wars smaller bandsaw ma­

steel bandsaw webs for wood at various prices accord­

chines (blades 1- inch - 2 inches wide) were employed

ing to width, with a net additional charge per saw for

universally in English mills for curvilinear and irregu­

brazing. For instance, Spear and 1ackson advertised a

lar sawing. Two larger machines were band re-saws

1 t inch web 24 feet long (unbrazed) costing 22s (l I d a

(blades 4 inches to 6 inches wide), replacing the old

foot). Brazing cost a further I s 9d. Perin's prices of

frame and circular saws for resawing deals and

four years previously, advertised by Worssam, were

flitches into thin boards, and the bandmills (blades

very similar - 23s 3d. Webs for metal-cutting were

6 inches to 18 inches wide) for general log conversion

considerably dearer ; a similar length cost at that time

with a fast rate of cut. 52 The battle of the bandsaw had been won, although

£3 1 2s, excluding any trade discounts. In 1903 , after three years further production, Spear and lackson

in one respect it was not yet over.

found themselves able to reduce the costofwood band­

In this battle the mechanical problems for all their

saw blades by well over a third ( 1 ! inchwidth down to 8d

complexity had proved less intractable than the human

per foot). This was proof of the increasing popularity

problems associated with economical, trouble-free

of these machines in face of strong opposition . in

running. Bandsawing demanded blades capable of

England to their use for heavy, straight timber work.

withstanding exceptionally severe tensional and tor­

Worssam claimed in 1892 that the chief causes of the opposition were first and foremost, the strong hostility of British workmen, and their failure to learn the great care and dexterity needed to manage band­ saws, as opposed to the simpler circular and recipro­ cating saws ; and secondly, the imperfectly flat and inaccurate cut of bandsaws compared with orthodox machine-saws, especially into hard and expensive woods. It was said that they were easily deflected vertically and longitudinally by knots, cross-fibres and stiff-heart. Worssam complained that Sheffield manufacturers were allowing the French to capture the bandsaw market and, moreover, to use British steel to do it. He was pessimistic, finding 'insur­ mountable obstacles' impeding the spread of the bandsaw for log-conversion.50 Nearly twenty years after Worssam's pessimistic findings, Powis Bale took a more cheerful view ( 1900). He admitted that the lack of wide saw blades of high quality and the prejudice of users had delayed the pro­ gress of bandsaws in Britain, but dismissed this as an aberration of the past. Because they were rapid,

sional strains and constant rolling



around the pulleys. Spring-tempered, tenacious, lively steel was indispensable ; but so also was the 'saw doctor' or 'filer', the man with knowledge and experi­ ence enough to maintain at concert pitch the larger blades on ever more elaborate, permanent-site instal­ lations now coming into general use. Worssam, in his day, characteristically declared it impossible to tell by ordinary examination if a wide blade were even�y tempered. He advocated entire dependence on the name of a good manufacturer. Worssam further declared that blades must be ab­ solutely parallel in width and thickness, that joins must be perfectly brazed. Tensioning, or the spread­ ing ofthe centre of the band by rolling and hammering (a technique developed in the 1860s), was an absolute 49 50 51

ibid ibid, pp 1 3-14 Bale, M. P . , Handbook 0/Sawmill and Wood Converting London, 1 9 1 9 ( 1 899), P 70 Todd, R. W., The Practical Saw Doctor, London, 1 926,

Machinery, 52

pp 1-2


Story of the Saw : Modern times

essential to ensure smooth, stable run n i ng and mini­ mise cracking. A n d these improved band saws required for their successful manufacture and operation a num ber of auxil iary machines for rolling i n the ten­ sion, brazing and scarfing, automatic sharpen ing and setting and the grinding of pulley wheel faces.53 What advantages were to be derived from all this effort ? In a word - economy. U sed in metal-cutting, cabinet-work (giving severe competition to old frame­ saws for the contour sawing of chair backs, tables, barrel ends) and timber conversion ali ke, whatever the size or scale of the work, bandsaws reduce costs i n time and power. I n the timber i ndustry they were able to give more boards from the log because they cut a less wasteful kerf; and their smooth rap i d and 53

Patents by Orton, Robinson, Panhard-Levasseur

continuous action proved to be even more economical than circular saws. Modern vertical bandmill machines are able to convert miles of t imber with great economy at speeds up to 400 feet a minute. The slower band re-saws and horizontal bandmills may also be classified as high production machines. Comparative statistics of circular saws and bandsaws are indicative : Width of cut Depth of cut approximately approximately Circular saw Bandsaw 6 inches 0 ·075 i nch 0 · 1 3 5 inch 1 2 inches 0 · 1 60 inch 0 ·085 inch 24 inches 0 · 250 inch 0 · 1 00 i nch This considerable saving can be i mproved further by cutting 24 inches depth with a bandsaw of, say, 1 9 gauge - only 0 ·042 inch thick.

62. Robinson sixIoot vertical bandmill with log carriage installed in 1923, in the North Western Railway workshops, Moghalpura, Lahore. This bandmill was the /irst on the Indian sub-continent to convert timber in log form by endless band blades

Saws of 1 9 6 0

Leavin g out of this account surgical saws, the major change in which has been the production of a totally aseptic instrument, and omitting musical saws (the so-cal led singing saws) which had a short music-hall l i fe and were simp le, inexpensive handsaws played with a bow or padded drumstick, the b lade being flexed to produce changes in p itch - we now have a fairly well-balanced picture of the story of the saw from the earliest times. What general conclusions may be drawn ? 54 Saws of any period fal l into two general categories : reciprocating or conti nuous action . Reciprocating saws may be rip o r cross-cut saws, and may be open-bladed or framed, manual or mech­ anised . Reciprocating saws of many degrees of special isation and sophistication have existed at least since the New Stone Age. Continuous action sawing, either rotary or by end­ less band, has existed only since the l ate 1 8th century. The salient features of the evolution of the saw since i ts conception as a serrated flint artefact have been the invention of copper and bronze saws, prob­ ably in Mesopotamia, and their role in the emergence of the wheel. Iron saws with raked and set teeth, the framing of b lades and first mechanisation of recipro­ catin g saws - all belong i n the Iron Age and Roman period. The spread of the sawmills, the appearance of push saws and improvements in metal technology took place in the medieval and early modern period . The Industrial Revol ution and modern age witnessed the proliferation of design, the i nvention of con t in uous

action saws, both circular (including those with teeth of inserted pattern, segmental or h ard-tipped) and band, and the use of high quality carbon crucible steels, a lloy steels containing n ickel, chromium and vanadi um, separately or i n conjunction one with another, and high-speed steels. In modern times the employment of n ickel chrome strip for bandsaws became general, hard chrome plating of solid plate saws and of i n serted teeth was i n troduced as a means by which the 'life' between sharpeni ngs could be extended three or more times and, in cases where con­ tinuous cuttin g of abrasive material s was the pro­ blem, the employment of tungsten carbide tips for the teeth of circular saws provided an economic solution despite high i n itial costs. It is a far cry from n ickel chrome strip and tungsten carbide tips to traditional p it-saws and the fol k-lore of the 'most strenuous of all trades', the sawyer's : Strip when you're cold, And live to grow old.

S hort saws a n d l o ng Yet the demand for handsaws remains. Made in Sheffield are short saws of every description and long saws, including even the perenn i a l p it-saws : hand­ saws of open and framed construction, backsaws i ncluding the delicate dovetai l saw, compass saws not unlike those of the 1 8th century, coping and fret and 54

G uthrie, D., History a/ Medicine, rev ed London, 1 953,

p 1 49 ; Grove's Dictionary 0/ Music and Musicians, ed D r

E r i c B J o m , rev, London, 1 954, V o l VH, p 425


Story of the Saw : Saws of 1960

63. A modern tenon or backsaw, litted with brass or steel back ..................... ........................................................................ .........

64. Nest of saws .................... ..................... ............... .............................................

65. Grecian pruning saw


66. Pit-sawing in Ghana. Saws up to ten feet long are usedfrequently

a variety ofpruning saws ; and long saws such as the exactly-tempered, hand-sharpened cross-cut saw and mill webs strongly reminiscent of 'two dozen of mill webbes eache with twentyeight teeth' supplied by the founder of Spear and Jackson, John Love, to a sawmill i n 1 776. Also centred in Sheffield is modern plant for the production of another type of handsaw, the metal­ cutting hacksaw. They are made in two qualities : high­ speed steel and low tungsten steel, the former being essential for continuous sawing as well as for cutting

high tensile stock and the more d ifficult highly alloyed metals such as stainless steel , nickel chrome and manganese steels and Nimonics, whether sawn by hand or machine. Low tungsten blades for hand use may be either 'all-hard', preferred by the ski l led worker for their rigidity ; or 'flexible', these being hardened on the teeth only are practically unbreakable and are recommended for use by semi-skilled operators or where work cannot be held firmly. Choice of the correct blade is a matter for care and reference to trade literature. In general , the softer the


Story of the Saw : Saws of 1960

67. Tubular frame log saw. Example shown incorporates a patented adjustable straight-pull tensioning device

68. A utomated production of log saw blades or webs. Lines offile-sharpening machines are shown


69. Rolling steel sheet for short saws

material and the heavier the desired cut the fewer the teeth per inch of blade. Conversely, the smaller the workpiece or diameter ofrod or tubing and the lighter the cut the more teeth per inch. Of all this variety in handsaws, perhaps the most un usual is the tubular frame or log saw, the blade of which is now made by automated process at the Aetna works of Spear and lack son . Saws have again scooped the other edge tools in being the first to be so pro­ duced . The blade or web is fed from rolls of steel strip, continuously and at controlled tension . (It is this element of 'feed-back' that justifies the descrip­ tion, automation.) Toothing, setting and sharpening - all are done by automatic production line. The most recent development at this plant is the hard chromium plating of teeth - chromium-armoured teeth for last­ ing sharpness and rust-resistance. Tubular frame saws are used by the forester for fel ling and lopping and are beginning to take the lead as the householder's saw for outdoor use. However, this handy log saw, and in particular the older cross­ cut saws, in their turn face competition from the power-operated chainsaw, a necessary adjunct to the

equipment of the nation's foresters, the smaller wood­ land owner and the farmer. The manufacturing sequences involved in the making of best quality handsaws still demand here and there the skill of the hand craftsman. I n Sheffield, at Spear and lackson's Aetna works, Spearior quality hand and tenon saws and Mermaid quality circular saws are all made from steel melted in electric arc furnaces. The ingots to controlled analyses and free from impurities are hammered or roll-cogged to slabs (or 'cheeses', as circular saw slabs are called in the trade), cross-rolled to plates in a sheet mill and passed through blank ing press or paring shop in an annealed or soft state, and then go to the particular production department. The handsaw blank is tooth­ ed by rotary or reciprocating punch, hardened and tempered, tested, hammered flat and tensioned by highly skilled smithers, before going forward to be ground and glazed. A delicate, highly skilled crafts­ man 'sjob follows - setting the top third ofeach tooth by hand, using a special hammer. No machine yet devised gives j ust the right amount of curving offset to the tooth cut in the h i ghly tempered chromi um-vanadium


Story of t h e Saw : Saws of 1960

70. The Spear and Jackson Double Century handsaw with rose wood handle. Diagram below illustrates the effect of radial taper-grinding

or other special analysis steel blade. The teeth of the saw are then file-sharpened. The blade is now ready for acid etching, after which process it is stiffened by i mmersion in hot oil, cleaned in trichlorythelene and finally dry lacquered for protection against rust. Kiln dried hardwood handles have meantime followed a separate manufacturing journey from the initial routing process through sl itting and bor i ng to sanding and cellulosing, to be united with the blade i n assembly and packing bays. Quali ty handsaws are taper-ground . This is a modern way of performing an 1 8th and 1 9th century operation - it will be remembered that compass and keyhole saws of that period had thinner back edges than toothed edges. This taper-grinding produces a blade, say, four gauges thinner on the back edge near­ est the point, thicken ing towards the handle end, than along the whole length of its cutting edge. Saws that are radial ground to a taper in this way will not bind

i n a deep cut. Their teeth i n consequence requi re less set. The production of a handsaw for the skilled trades­ man of the 1 960s or the enthusiastic amateur wood­ worker, requires a manufacturing journey some twenty-seven processes long in which tradi tional skills mingle with metallurgical control and machine opera­ tion . Just such a product of this fruitful union of hand ski l l and mechanisation i s the Double Century panel saw, a 22-inch ten point handsaw with rosewood handle, pictured above, which was selected to mark the bicentenary in 1 960 of Spear and Jackson Limited.

Specia l ised circ u l ar saws The variety and size ranging of modern circular saws is enormous. Types include ordinary plate saws (in standard sizes ranging from 4 inches to 84 inches


in diameter) ; inserted tooth saws ; swage and hollow ground saws ; segmental cold saws and the so-called hot saws for metal-cutting ; tungsten carbide-tipped saws for cutting wood and non-ferrous metal ; and diamond saws for stone-cutting. Within this extensive range are saws indispens­ able for all stages of timber conversion as well as for work in the plastics, ferrous and non-ferrous metal industries. A mong the more u nu sual jobs such saws perform - performances that would probably surprise WaIter Taylor or BruneI - are cutting Ivorine for cameo brooches in Devonshire and buffalo horn in Warwickshire, sawing frozen stockfish i n Nigeria, tearing cotton in the Sudan, slitting slabs of saIt in Peru and shaping brake-linings in Canada. In the 1 920s, after a series of earthquakes in Japan, circular saws and mill webs were exported in hundreds from Sheffield for reconstruction work. The skill of the mill operator in some eastern countries is of long­ standing and thin-bladed saws and special tooth forms are demanded and successfully employed. Meanwhile, the smaller swage saws developed essen-

tially for box-making meet requirements of a special kind, as for instance in East Africa where this is a basic tool of the ind ustry cutting cedar for pencil slats. It is this very u niversal ity of the saw, its successful employment for tasks so varied in conditions so diverse over so long a period of time, that has compl i­ cated the manufacturing problem. For there can be no effective standardisation of product when the pro­ duct itself is so trad itional and its successful em­ ployment in exacting cond itions often more an art than a science. Local prejud ices and preferences have grown up and it is as true of mill men as of professors ofeconomics that, to paraphrase, when six saw doctors are gathered together there will be seven opinions ! Local knowledge and experience should be given due weight for a saw must operate successfully on timbers the structure of which varies enormously . Thi s is why attempts to reach agreement on stan­ dard toothings are usual ly frustrated. Yet in the manufacture of circular saws - as has been noted al­ ready in the making of handsaws - a sequence of

7 1 . Setting the teeth ofa best quality handsaw. No machine yet devised duplicates the flexible wrist and sensitive touch of a craftsman


Story of the Saw : Saws of 1960

72. Typical circular saws /or ripping and cross-cutting, showing manufacturer's standard tooth shapes

operations is fol lowed, albeit for small batch produc­ tion . The pared plate is given a batch reference number and is flattened before being individual ly toothed to specification . I ts centre hole and, ifrequired, pin holes, are trepann ed or bored out to be subsequently ream­ ered . Next follows a most important and formative stage in the making of a saw : the toothed plate or blank is placed in a temperature-controlled furnace and when brought to correct temperature is quenched quickly in oil, being held in a press to prevent distor­ tion . Brittleness must be overcome and so the blank i s transferred to a rotary circular press and tempered in a gas-fired furnace maintained at a known tempera­ ture. Brinell hardness tested, the saw blank moves to the smithing shop where any small distortions are hammered out by expert artisans and some tension hammered in. Smithi ng or tensioning demands a further word of explanation . Old fashioned though the spreading of the metal of a blade by beating with hammers

may appear, this art resembles setting in that it did not become common until less than a century ago . Even today it cannot be ful1y explained in terms of engi neering and metallurgy, of stresses and strains. Broadly speaking, a handsaw or bandsaw cuts better for having i ts centre in compression and its cuttin g edge i n tension . Similarly, a circular saw r u n s truer with a static internal stress cancelling out the centri­ fugal dynamic strains experienced when its teeth are cutting at the normal peripheral speed. The processes can be considered complete only after surface grinding has provided a uniform blade thickness and a surface free from oxide scale, for the heat generated by grinding may have varied the amount of tension present in the blade. Checking and final adjustment of tension, the highly s k i ll ed block­ ing operation, using l i ght hammers with slightly crowned heads, is now necessary to make certain that the blade is sufficiently loose at the centre, that it has the r ight amount of tension for its running speed . Present practice is to tension saws according to their


type for speeds up to 1 2,000 feet per minute (over 1 35 mph) at the rim. Setting and sharpening are further important pro­ cesses in the making of a circul ar saw. Only when these operations are completed is the blade ready for balancing and etching. The service l ife of the saw will depend on many factors. An electrically-melted alloy steel saw will retai n its tension because of its greater uniformity and consequently will run true for a longer time than a saw of cast steel. Simi larly, a saw that has teeth hard­ chromed will blunt less quickly and the i ntervals be­ tween re-sharpening will be longer. These are i mpor­ tant considerations for the sawmill operator. The Vancouver factory of Spear and lackson Limited catering for the lumber industry along the west coast of the N orth American continent produces saws of up to 1 08 inches in diameter and was the first to manufacture cut-off saws for pulp mills having inserted teeth tipped with stellite. Pared plates - no longer finished saws - are shipped from Sheffield.

Circular saws for cutting metals including high tensile steels must be viewed in shorter perspective. It was not until the second and third decades of this century that segmental ci rcular saws (foreseen in Bentham's great patent of 1 793) became a reality, supersed ing saws with high-speed steel inserted teeth which hitherto had been sat isfactory only for lighter steel sections and non-ferrous metal . The new type segmental saw, originating in Germany, was for heavy or l ight duty, having riveted segments inter­ locking around its periphery, each segment bei ng formed with roughing and finishing teeth of a pitch to suit the type of work . Such saws proved to be capa­ ble of withstanding the high rates of feed and speed of hydraulic machines developed at this time. The particular virtue of such saws is the replacement seg­ ment of high-speed steel. It reduced costs ; if damaged it was quickly replaced ; and worn teeth could be sharpened repeatedly, all segments eventually being replaced with a new set. Norma lly, re-sharpening is carried out by the user and full re-segmenting by the

73. Hardening the heated blade by quenching in oil. A 72-inch diameter solid tooth saw at red heat is quenched


Story of the Saw : Saws of 1960

74. Smithing: putting the tension into a saw blade. An 84-inch diameter solid tooth saw is shown 75. Not e very customer agrees with the manufacturer's tooth shape. A saw is given a shark 's tooth /orm


76. Sheffield companies cater for the needs of the Canadian west coast lumber industry. The new Spear and lackson ( BC) Limited factory at Burnaby, Vancouver 77. Modern sawmill, showing multiple trimmer fitted with saws supplied by the Spear and lackson Vancouver factory and made from Sheffield rolled plate


Story of the Saw : Saws of 1960

78. Fitting the teeth and holders in an inserted­ tooth circular saw

79. Standard type holder and tooth 0/ a modern inserted-tooth circular saw. See also 59

original maker of the saw. These so-cal led col d saws are, to a degree unusual , continuously in motion, for besides heavy duty sawing they are consigned to and from t he maker or service repairer for re-fitting, the centre or body being re-fitted a dozen times or more. For cutting ingots, bil lets, tu bes and bars, t he segmental saw has as yet no eq ual . I mprovement in the design of segments has however been possi ble and a patented segment having no intermediate rivets to link the segments has been successfully tried, its principal merit being t he greater economy resulting from i ts use. Teeth can be re-sharpened until the gullet is ground down much closer to the tongue of t he seg­ ment than was previously possi ble. New tooth shapes have also been found of practical advantage. Spear and lackson engineers have pioneered both these advances. It is appropriate here to record yet another and more recent development : the high-speed steel i nter-

80. Re-sharpening the teeth in situ by flexible drive jockey grinder


nal tooth saw of segmental construction. This saw i s new i n that the teeth are milled o n the internal diameter. Each toothed segment, taper-ground for clearance, is dowelled and screwed into position on an annular ring to form the saw. The sawing machine developed and patented by Sir James Farmer Norton and Company of Manchester, incorporates an eccen­ tric head within which this unusual saw is located. The combined movement of saw and head acc9m­ plishes the objective of cutting ferrous and non­ ferrous tube without 'fash' formation . Consequently the need for de-burring is avoided. The blade's construction provides for re-sharpen­ ing, repair and re-fitting of segments simply and quickly. I t is expected that the saw will have a longer life between sharpenings owing to the machine's peripheral sawing action - the feed of the blade is through the tube wall thickness only and not through the tube d iameter. Milling cutters, although in some respects similar to the segmental saw, do not form a part of the saw's 81 . Cutting cold metal by segmental circular saw 82. Fitting high-speed steel segments


a metal-cutting cold saw


Story of the Saw : Saws of 1960



57 feet long by 10 feet wide by 6 inches thick . A comparClfive 10 the saw family, the tungsten carbide-tipped saw here takes on a mammoth task

Culling aluminium plates

ne w comer

Close-up u/fhe fungs/en carbide-lipped circular

saw in use un the Wadkin machine shuwn abuve


h istory. H ot metal sawi ng, as d isti nct from cold saw­ ing, is however a part of this story - and a somewhat unhappy chapter, s ince the high standard of main­ tenance so essential for ful l operating efficiency i s not easily secured under shift working conditions in the large rol ling mill. The circular hot saw i s manufactured from carbon steel i n diameters up to 72 inches. Saws of this type are supplied i n the 'as-rolled' black condition or are bright ground. They are run at faster speeds than wood saws and are often put to severe and exacti ng duty. The machines on which these saws operate must therefore be robust and efficient, and they req uire adequate mai ntenance as do the saws used on them. Hot saws are of heavier gauge than any employed on timber break-down and conversion and have strong cross-cut type teeth. There is no set to the teeth ; for the saw cuts easi ly through the already red hot metal, the kerf being always wider than the nominal thick ­ ness of the saw.

In the universal beam mi l l at Lackenby, Durham, Dorman Long and Company use saws of the largest diameter for cutting to length beams 36 inches wide. The problem here as elsewhere is the rapid cooling of the work with the l i kel i hood of damage to the teeth of the saw. A new pattern tooth with flat top evolved after extensive study promises a solution to some of the problems of hot sawing in modern i ntegrated mills, and progress has also been made with hot saws hav­ ing swaged and tip-hardened teeth. Tunsten carbide circular saws of 50 inches d iameter able to cut alumi nium plate up to 57 feet long, 1 0 feet wide and 6 inches thick are successfully operating at the M onmouthshire works of the Northern Alumin­ i um Company. A specially built sawi ng machine, the first of i ts kind, has been installed there by Wadkin and Company of Leicester. The saw carriage of this machine alone weighs eight tons. The saw, driven by a 75 hp motor, travels beneath a 20-ton, 68 feet long

85. Final lapping by diamond impregnated wheel of a 50-inch diameter tungsten carbide-tipped saw


Story of the Saw : Saws of 1 960

86. The world's largest saw is this giant 1 1 feet 7t inch diamond-segmented saw employed in cutting rough-hewn

blocks ofPortland stone at the South Western Stone Company's quarries on Portland Bill in Dorset

87. A Spear

and Jackson team of

three smithers prepares to t ension the larges l sa w e ver made


88. The latest development in circular saws: an internal tooth tube saw. Segmental

in construction, taper-ground and of high-speed steel, this unique saw operates within the eccentric head 0/ a machine patented in 1960. Its purpose is to cut ferrous and non�ferrous tube without :fash'

beam holding the material to be sawn by means of eighteen hydraulic j acks. These particular saws sup­ plied by Spear and lackson are believed to be larger than any previously made. They are tensioned to run at rim speeds of up to ] 3 ,500 feet per minute. The teeth enter the cut at full operating feed speed of 1 80 inches per minute without damage to the tungsten carbide tips. Smaller cemented carbide saws had already proved their suitability for non-ferrous metal cutting and such saws are extensively used in the air­ craft industry, for instance, and in the furniture trades for cutting especially abrasive timbers and the many synthetic and composite materials. The record of modern saws having specialised applications wou ld be incomplete without referring

again to the world's two largest diamond stone-cutting circular saws. Around the peri meter of the 1 1 foot 7t-inch diameter blade are some two hundred sockets each contai ning three carats of d iamond held within a sintered matrix. Successfully run by the South Western Stone Company on Portland Bill, in Dorset, these saws cut rough quarried blocks of Portland stone 5 feet deep and 6 feet wide. Their manufacture was a j oint enterprise by the Anderson-Grice Com­ pany of Carnoustie, Scotland, Spear and lackson and the giant concern, The Steel Company of Scotland. Successful completion of the project meant enthral­ ling but exacting work for a team of Sheffield saw­ smiths. These saws reduced sawing time from sixteen hours to forty minutes.


Story of the Sa w : Saws of J 960

89. Stenner 42-inch band rack with hand operated carriage

Wide a n d na rrow bandsaws As mentioned already in the last chapter, modern bandsaws have advanced far since the days of Worssam, main ly owing to steel-making discoveries and the development of the modern strip mill. The nickel chrome strip of today 's bandsaws can bend through 1 80 degrees and re-straighten eight times a second. Steel strip of, say, 1 0 inches width is no more than one sixteenth of an inch thick ; yet, electrical ly­ driven with pul leys 6 feet in diameter, such toothed bands may be driven at up to eight thousand feet per minute on modern log mi l ls and re-saws. Narrow bandsaws for straight and contour sawi ng

of wood are operated on efficient machines to give accurate results such as are required in pattern shops. The bandsaw is nothi ng if not versatile and may be employed for re-sawing, for sawi ng large rad ius curves, cross-cutting with a mitre gauge, and bevel sawing. There are machines avai lable today fitted with electric b lade-welding eq uipment suitable for continuous operation i n woodworking shop and furn iture factory as well as many small machines designed for blades ranging in width from an eighth to three-quarters of an inch and intended for schools use and home work­ shops. Besides the bandsaw for wood there is the hard-toothed, flexible back blade for metal -cutting with raker set or wavy set teeth and the alternative


90 . A modern band re-saw rnade by Thomas Robinson and Son of Ra chdale

skip or buttress type tooth recommended for cutting most plastics, the softer non-ferrous metals, bone, meat and frozen foods. In cold sawing of steels also, bandsaws have not been left behind by their circular cousins. On the contrary, fusion bands run at surface speeds of 20,000 feet per minute and over and melt their way through the steel. All previous saws have been mechanical in their action and the fusion bandsaw presents the industry with a new cutting principle, more aki n to the oxy-acetylene flame. Circular fusion saws - friction discs - have also had success at rim speeds of fifteen to twenty thousand feet per minute. More durable than abrasive discs, their extended use in burning through tubes, steel sections and bars, is guaranteed. 9 1 . A battoirs use bandsa ws /or cutting carcases. Smaller bandsa ws, such as this Wadkin- Bursgreen machine with 1 6-inch wheels, are/ound useful by retail lraders for cutting meat into small joints 92. Recent development 0/friction discs pro vides the engineer with a new 1001. Here one is employed/or rapid cutting o/ tubes in the Spear and Jackson tubular frame saw department


93. A few links of Oregon chipper saw chain. The replacement of two-man cross-cuts by powered cross-cuts has revolutionised logging methods. The inventor of the Oregon chipper saw chain illustrated had studied the larvte of Ergates spiculatus the timber beetle, in de veloping the design of the left and right hand cutters 0/ his chain.

S haping history The saw of today is a tool of many sizes, shapes and functions, made out of a variety of materials. From its very birth it asserted its authority over the world of tools. Outranging the edged tools . . . because potent in cutting metal and stone as well as wood, the al l-important saw as a master tool . . . has outrivalled the axe and outclassed the wedge from the beginning of time.

The facts bear out this judgment by Dr Mercer. From the origins of Russia to those of the U nited States ; from the primitive forests of 1 0th century Kiev to the virgin lands of the equally harsh New World colonies of the 1 7th century ; and from the pyramids of Egypt to Portland stone of Dorset in England, the saw has been a creative influence in the economic and social history of the world . The saw enabled pioneers to carve our forests, subj ugate conti nents, construct material civilisation. The saw i ndeed enabled M an to master and shape his p hysical environment. To a great extent it is still doing so. 94. Felling in the forest by power-operated saw� chain

Selected bibliography

Thi s book list i s in no sense comprehensive and merely indicates works used in wri ting th is Story of f he Saw.

A lbion, R . G .

Forests and Seapower: the Timber Problem o f the R oyal Navy, 1 652- 1 862 (Cambridge, M ass, U S A, 1 926)


Works (trans H . G. Evelyn Wh ite, Loeb Classics Library, London, 1 9 1 9, Vol I )

Bale, M . Powis

Woodworking Machinery, its Rise, Progress and Conclusion ( 3rd ed ition , London, 1 9 1 4, ( 1 894))

Bale, M. Powis

Stoneworking Machinery (2nd edition, London, 1 898)

Bale, M. Powis

Handbook of Sawmill and Wood Converting Machinery, (London , 1 9 1 9 , ( 1 899))

Beamish, R.

Memoir of the Life of M. I. Brunei (2 Vols, London, 1 862)

Bible, The

The Book of Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, and The Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews


Significant Features of Wire-Saw Operation in Europe ( I n f Circ No 6483 , US Dept o f Commerce, Bureau o f Mines, August, 1 93 1 )

Bowles, O .

The Wire-Saw in Slate Quarrying (Tech Publn No 469, U S Dept of Com­ merce, Bureau of Mines, 1 930)

Defenbaugh, J. E.

History of the Lumber Industry in A merica (2 Vols, New York, 1 906)

Dickinson, Dr H. W.

The Taylors ofSouthampton, in Edgar A lien News, Vo1 3 5 , No 404, February 1 956, pp 38-4 1

Disston, H. and Sons, Inc

The Saw in History (8th edition, New York, 1 925 ( 1 9 1 5))

Dunning, G. C.

A Thirteenth Century Midden at Windcliflnear Niton, in Proceedings, Isle of Wight Natural History and Archaeological Society, Vol Hr, Pt H, 1 939



Edlin, H. L.

Woodland Crajis ( London , 1 948 ) Notice historique sue

Frere, E.

la vie

el les travaux de


lsalJlbard Bml/el

( Ro uen ,

1 850) Goodman, W. L.

History of Woodworking Tools ( Part 3 'The Saw', Practical Ed ucation, December 1 956 - April 1 960)

Greber, J. M .

Geschichte des


Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Vol VfI ( London , 1 954)

Guthrie, D .


Holtzapffel, C.

Turning and Mechanical Manipulation ( 2 Vols, London, 1 846)

Kolchin, B. A.

Work of the Medieval Russian Blacksmith ( M oscow, 1 952)

Mercer, Dr H. C.

Ancient Carpenters' Tools (Doylestown H istorical Society, Doylestown , Pa, U S A) 1 929

Neuburger, A.

Technical Arts and Sciences of the A ncients (Trans H . L. Brose, London, 1 930)

Sawmill Magazine

Drabble and Sanderson Limi ted , (Sheffield , 1 925, 1 926)

Schubert, H. R.

History of the British Iron (London, 1 957)

Singer, C.

( Editor)


(Zurich, 1 956)

o/ Medicine ( London, revised ed i t ion, 1 95 3 )

and Steel Industry







1 775

History of Technology (4 Vols, Lon don, 1 954-58)

Spear a n d Jackson Limited

M aterial from arch ives : Bills of Lad ing, Catalogue o r 1 900, man ual, etc.

Spear News

H ouse Magazi ne of Spear and Jackson Limited , Sheffield, No 3, September 1 957

Todd, Sir H. T.

History of the Royal Society of Arts ( London, 1 9 ( 3)

Weigel, W. M.

Application of the Wire-Saw in Marble Quarrying (American lnst of M i ning and Metal Engineering, Tech Pubn N o 262, New York, 1 930)

Wood, R. W.

The Practical Saw Doctor ( London, 1 926)

Worssam, W. S.

History of the Bandsaw (Manchester, 1 892)




B l oc k i ng, 60

A batto i r band saw, 72

B o u le, A . C . , 40

A brah a m , 1 1

Bow saw, 3 8 , 40

Albert, L . C . A . , 44

B ramah, l o s eph , 48

A l u mi n i u m p l ate cutti n g, 66

British Iron Age saws, 20

A mm o n ites, k i l l i n g of the, 1 4

Bronze Age saws, 1 1 , 5 3

A n ders o n - G r i ce C o m pa n y, 4 8 , 69

Bru n eI , S i r

A r k , b u i l d i n g of the, 3 1

B u ck saw, 3 R

A u so n i u s , 1 9, 2 1

B u h 1 saw, 40

A u stra l i a n abo rigin a l saws, 1 2

B u r i a l m ou n ds, 1 1

M . l . , 4 1 , 42-43

A utomatic prod uct i o n , 5 7


Cabinet makers, Egyptian , 1 5

Backsaw, 32, 3 6 , 5 3 , 54

CaIff, C . C . longe, 42

Bale, M . Pow i s , 49 , 5 1

Califo rnia gold rush , 4 1

Band rack mach i ne , 70

Carcase saw, 3 5

Bandsaw, 49-52, 5 3 , 70, 72�'

Carpenters, 1 5t h cen t u ry, 27

advan tages of, 5 2

F re n ch 1 7th centu ry, 28

cl oth-cutt i n g, 5 1

gravesto n e , 1 8t h cen t u ry, 3 3

com pared to c i rc u l a r saw, 5 2

Roman , 1 8

cut depths a n d w i d t h s , 5 2

sign , 1 8 th cen t u ry , 3 9

eco n o my of, 5 2

Celt i c saws, 2 1

m eat c utti ng, 7 2

' Cementation' process, 1 6

metal c u tt i n g, 4 9 , 5 1 , 70

Chain saw, 5 7 , 7 3

wood c u tting, 70

Chain s a w links, 7 3

Barb o u r, l a m es , 50

Chai rmaker's s a w , 4 0 , 4 1

Ben t h a m , S i r S a m u e l , 42-44, 4 8 , 6 1

Chatham Docks, 43

Bevel saw i n g, 70

C hrome plati n g of teeth, 53

B i b le, references to saw, 1 4- 1 5

Chromiu m , 53

B l ades, h acksaw, 5 5 , 5 7

Ci rc u la r saw, 2 7 , 42-49, 52, 53, 5 8 -69

B l ast-fu rnace, 2 3

A siatic req u irements, 59


brake l i ning shapi ng, 59


buffalo horn c utting, 59

Farmer, N orton and C o m pany, 6 5

compared to bandsaws, 52

Fel l i n g b y chain s a w , 7 3

cotton tearing, 59

F e l l o e s a w , 40, 41

cut depths and widths, 52

File sharpening mach i nes, 56

frozen fish cutting, 59

' Filer', 5 1

i vo rlne cutting, 59

Finnegan , 5 1

manufacture of, 59-6 1

F i re-saw, 1 1

metal cutting, 5 9 , 6 1 , 64, 6 5 , 66, 67, 69

F i s h teeth s a w , 13

salt slab s litting, 59

Flint saw, 11, 1 2 , 5 3

stone cutting, 4 8 , 59, 6 8 , 69

F l oorboard s a w , Dutch 1 8 th ce ntury, 3 7 Frame saw, 1 7 , 1 8 , 19, 2 1 , 22, 41, 53

Circular fusi on saw, 7 2 Claudius, 1 9

m echanica l , 25

Compass saw, 3 2 , 5 3 , 5 8

t u bular, 56, 57

Compass s a w , Swedish 1 9th century , 3 6

Fretsaw, 40, 53

Con tinuous action saws, types of, 53

F rictio n discs, 72, 73

Contour sawing, 7 0

F usion b andsaw, 72

C o o k e , Sir W. F . , 4 9 Coping saw, 40, 5 3


Copper s a w , 5 3

G ang- saw, 24, 27

Crepin , M adame, 5 0

G rafting saw, 1 9th ce ntu ry, 35

Crompton , Samuel , 3 6 Cross-cut saw, 1 8 , 29-30, 5 5 Cummins, Benjamin, 44

Greeks, 1 5 Greenwood, Thomas, 50 Grinder, j ockey, 64

Cut-off saw, 6 1

Grinding machine, saw, 48



Davi d , 14 Diamond impregnated teeth, 44 Diamond i n serted teeth, 48, 59, 6 8 , 69 Diderot, 3 8 D isston and Sons, Incorporated, 4 7 , 51 Dorman , Long and Company, 67

Double Century handsaw,

58, 65

Dovetail saw, 3 5 , 53 Dtirer, Albrecht, 3 2 Dust removal methods, 1 8

H acksaw, D utch 18th cen t u ry, 34 H acksaw, metal-cutti ng, 5 5 , 5 7 H ampshire Repository, 4 2 H andles, s a w , 3 2 , 3 3 , 58 H andsaws, 1 9th century, 3 5 20th century, 5 3 - 5 6 Chinese, 3 2 Dutch 1 8 t h ce n t u ry, 3 4 Japanese, 3 2 manufactu re of, 56-57 pull, 3 2


Swedish 1 8th century, 3 4

Eastman, R . , 44

T urkish, 32

Egyptian bronze saws, 14, 17 copper saws, 1 3 - 1 4, 1 5 , 17 iron saws, 1 4, 1 7

H e arse graves, 13 H ebrews, Epi stle to the, 15 Hedge, Lemuel, ) J

Etruscans, 1 9

Hesiod , 16

Evans, Oli ver, 48

H older, 64

Evolution of the saw, 5 3

H o l l ow-ground saw, 59

Exal l , Wil li am , 5 0

Hooke, Robert, 42

Execution by s a w , 2 1

Hot saw, 59, 6 7

Exports of saws, 1 9th century , 30, 3 2

H unter, George, 47, 49



M u l t i p l e t r i m mer, 63

I n n sign , 1 7th ce n t u ry , 3 2

M u sical saw, 53

I nse rted t o o t h s a w s , 4 4 , 4 7-49, 5 3 , 59, 64 I n ternal tooth t u b e saw , 65, 69


I ro n Age, 1 6, 1 7 , 1 8 , 1 9 , 20, 2 1 , 5 3

Naval Board, 44

f ro n cast i n g , B ri t i s h , 2 3

Neo l i t h i c tool s , 1 1 , 5 3

I ro n casting, C h i nese, 2 3

Nests o f saws , 54

I ro n casti ng, R o m a n , 2 3

Neu b u rger, A . , 1 9

l ro n p rod uct i o n , 1 6- 1 7

Newberry, W i l l i a m , 49

I ro n saw, 5 3

N ew Testament, 1 5

l sa ia h , B o o k of, 1 5

Nickel, 53

l s le of W i gh t A rchaeol ogical Society, 2 2

N ickel-chrome stri p , 5 3 N o rthern A l u m i n i u m C o m pa n y , 6 6 , 6 7

J J ackson , J oseph B u rd e k i n , 47


J ac k s o n , S a m u e l , 4 7

O b s i d i a n saws, 1 1 . 1 3

J acq u i n , 48

Old Testam e n t , 1 4- 1 5

J aq u i t h , J . , 44

Open h a n dsaws, 2 1 , 22, 30, 5 3 p

K K e rf, saw, 1 8 Key h o l e saw, 30, 3 2 , 5 8 K i n gs, Fi rst B o o k of, 1 5

Pal re o l ithic saws, 1 1 Per i n , 50, 5 1 Pit-saw i n g, 2 1 -22, 5 5 Pit-saw s , 20, 2 1 , 2 3 , 2 4 , 2 7-29, 5 3 framed two-ma n , 27-28

L Lap p i n g, d iam o n d whee l , 67 Log saw, t u b u l a r fra me, 5 6 , 57

o pe n , 28-29 P i t-sawyers, m ed i eval , 20 see also Saw pit

Love and M a n so n , 1 7

see also Sawyers

Love, J o h n , 5 5

Pl ate saw, 58


P re-historic saws, 1 1 - 1 3

M c Dowe l l , 5 1

Pre-metal saws, 1 1 - 1 3

M ach i n e saw, 2 1

Price list, 1 9t h cen t u ry, 44, 45

M agda l e n i a n c u l t u re, 1 1

Pru n i n g saw, 55

Powis, lames and Compa n y , 49

G reci a n , 54

M a n u fact u re of modern h a n d saws, 5 7 - 5 S M eat c u tt i n g band s a w , 7 2

Pull saw, 32

M e rcer, H . C . , 73

Push saw, 22

M es o l i th i c fl i n t saws, 1 2 Mesopota m i a , 1 1 , 1 3 , 5 3 M etal c utti n g, 4 8 , 49, 5 1 , 5 5 , 5 7 , 59, 6 1 , 64- 6 5 ,


Que nch i n g, 1 6, 1 7 , 60, 6 1

66, 6 7 , 69, 70, 7 2 co l d , 4 8 , 65


h acksaw, 55, 5 7

Rad i a l taper g ri n d i n g , 5 8

h ot, 5 9 , 6 7

R a k e r s e t teet h , 7 0

M id d l e A ges, 20-22. 2 3

Rak i n g o f teet h , 1 7 , 5 3

M i l l er, S a m u e l , 4 2 , 4 8

Reciprocatin g saws, types of, 5 3

M i l l wehs , 5 5

Re-sharpeni n g teeth, 64

M i n oan bronze saw, 1 6

Rip saw, 1 8


Ro b i n so n band re-saw, 7 1

S pear a n d J ac k son L i m i ted , :

R o b i n so n ve rtical bandm ill , 52

Aetna W o r k s , 5 8

Ro m a n era, 1 5-2 1 , 5 3

automated p rocesses, 5 8

R o m a n h andsaws, 1 8

b i centena ry 1 960, 65

R o m a n i r o n frame-saw, 1 7 , 1 8

C a l i forn i a gold rush, 4 1

R o m an machi n e-saws 1 9 2 1 ' 5 3

cata l og ue 1 900, 5 1

� 2

H . D i ssto n and S o n s , l nc o r po rated , 47

R o y a l N aval s h i pyard , 4

Double Century h an d saw, 5 8 , 65

R us s i a n h a ndsaw, 22

exports to con ti n e n t 1 9t h ce n t u ry, 30 expo rts to N o rth A me r i ca 1 9t h cen t u ry, 32


G o l d M ed a l 1 8 5 1 , 47

Sabot maker's saw, 4 1

handsaw m a n u fact u r i n g, 5 8 , 64- 65

S a i n t Pau l , 1 5

J oh n Love, fo u n der, 1 7 76, 55

S a m u e l , Second B o o k of, J 4

largest sa ws, 48, 67, 68, 69

Sash saw, 1 9t h century, 3 5

l og saw b lade prod ucti o n , 53

' S aw-d octo r ' , 5 1 , 5 9

Mermaid c i rc u l a r saw, 58

Saw- m a k i ng, 1 9t h cen t u ry, 46

parent fi rm of, 1 7

Saw i n g-th o n g, 1 1

p r i ce cata l og ue 1 845, 44, 45

Sawmills :

p r i ce red uct i o n s , 5 1

B r u n e i ' s p l a n for, 44

steel prod uct i o n , 5 8

h istory of A me rica, 2 3 , 24

Spearior q u a l i ty s a w s , 5 8

h i story of B ri t i s h , 2 3-24

ten s i o n i ng l a rgest saw, 6 8

h i story of E u ro pean , 23 m ed i e va l , 2 1 , 22, 23 modern, 27, 5 1 , 5 2 , 63 spread of, 53 tech n i q ue, devel o p m e nt of, 24, 27 Saw p i t, 1 8t h cen tury, 29 Saw p it, 1 9t h ce ntury , 2 7 Sawyers, G h ana p it, 5 5 Saywers, m e d i ev a l p i t , 20 S awyers, M esopotam i a n , 1 3 S a x o n saw, 20 Segmental c o l d saw 59 6 1 , 64 ' Segments, fitt i n g of 65


world's l a rgest saw, 4 8 , 67, 6 8 , 69 Steam e n g ine, 23 Stee l s , a l l oy, 5 3 Steel blan k s , man u fact u re of, 5 7 Stee l , carbon cruci b l e , 5 3 Stee l C o mpany of Scotla n d , 6 9 Stee l , h igh s peed, 5 3 , 5 5 Stee l , l o w t u n gste n , 5 5 Steel sheet, rol l i ng, 5 7 Ste l l i te t ipped teeth , 6 1 Ste n n e r band rac k , 70 Stone c u tt in g : B i b l i c a l t i mes, 1 3 - 1 5 , 1 9 , 48

Service l ife of c i rc u la r saw ' 6 1 Set o f teet h , 1 8 , 5 3 Sett i n g h andsaw teeth, 59 ' S h ar k ' s tooth' fo r m 62

S h o p sign , 1 8t h cen t ry, 36 S h o u l d e r saw, S wedish 1 8th cen t u ry ' 37 S i berian b ro n ze saw 16


Roman, 1 5, 1 9, 2 1 Stonecutting saws, Egyptian , 1 3 - 1 4 Stonecutt i n g saws, mode rn , 48 -49, 50, 59, 6 X , 69 S u meria, 1 1 S u rgi cal saw, 5 3 S wage s a w , 5 9

S l a c k ' s k n ife gri n d i g m ac h i ne, 48 S ma rt, Geo rge, 44


S m it h i n g, 60, 62, 68

Taper-gri n d i ng, 5 8

Society of saw m a kers ' 26

Tay l o r, W a i ter, 4 2

Solomon , 1 4

Teeth, c h ro m e p l ated , 5 3 , 5 7

S o u t h Western Stone C o m pany, 68, 69

Teeth fitti ng, 64

S pa u l d i ng, 4 7

Teeth , i n serted , 64

S p e a r and lac k s o n (B C) L i m i ted, 6 1 , 6 3

Temperi ng, 1 6- 1 7 , 60


Te non saw, 30, 32, 3 8


Ten o n saw, 1 9t h cen t u ry, 3 5 , 54

Vanadi u m , 5 3

Ten o n saw, Swedish 1 9th cen t u ry , 3 7

Veneer saw, powered c i rc u l ar, 4 1

Tensioning, 44, 5 1 - 5 2 , 60, 62, 68

Veneer saw, two-man, 4 1

Thouard, 50

Vill ard d e Honneco u rt, 2 2

Thwart saw, 1 8 , 29-30 Tooth setting, 5 7- 5 8 Tooth : s e e a l s o Teeth Toothing, 5 7

W Wadkin and C o mpany, 66, 67 Wadkin-Bursgreen machine, 72

Tou ronde, 50

Wavy set teeth, 70

Tube saw, internal tooth, 65, 69

Wheel, emergence of, 1 3 , 5 3

Tulloch, Genera l , 49, 50

Wheel wright's saw, 40, 4 1

Tulloch , lames, 49

Wilde, G. W . 49

Tum u l i , 1 1

Wilson, Henry, 50

Tungsten carbide, 5 3

Windcliff push saw, 22

Tungsten carbide-tipped s a w s , 5 9 , 66, 67

Wire-saw, 49

Two-h a n d l ed saws, 2 1 , 22

Wood conversion :

Tyn e Navigati o n Commiss i o n , 49

Egyptian , 1 3 , 1 4, 1 5 , 1 8 medieval, 20, 2 1 -22, 2 3

U Un raked teeth, 1 3 , 1 7- 1 8 U r of the Ch aldees, 1 ]

modern , 2 3 -47, 49- 5 2 , 5 3 - 5 5 , 56, 6 3 , 70, 7 3 Roman, 1 5 , 1 8 , 1 9, 1 7, 2 1 -22, 3 8 Woolwich Arsenal, 43, 44, 49, 5 1 World' s largest s aw , 4 8 , 67, 6 8 , 69 Worssam, W . S . , 49, 5 1