Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tool Billheads: Saws

In their modern adaptions, saws can be divided into two categories: reciprocating (handsaws) and continuous action (circular and band saws). Reciprocating are the oldest and can further be divided into rip and cross-cut saws. The beginning of modern woodcutting dates back to the introduction of the power mill. The earliest mills were driven by wind power, but by the 14the century water power was more popular. America's first sawmill was built at the Falls of Piscatauqua on the line between Maine and New Hampshire in 1634. Other mills follows in New York and in Delaware. These first mills were all the vertical reciprocating type. Increased requirements of the mill men necessitated a constant search on the saw manufacturers for improvements in design and durability.

While the hand saw is old history, the reinvention of the circular saw was the next great progressive step in saw making. The earliest patent on a circular saw was granted to Samuel Miller in England in 1777. Other patents follows, but T. Brunel is credited with first bringing circular saws into important service by employing them for cutting ship's blocks. Brunel also patented a veneer saw in 1805.

The first circular saw in America was produced by Benjamin Cummins about 1814 at Bentionsville New York. The general use circular saws for manufacturing lumber is supposed to have originated with a patent granted to Robert Eastman and J. Jaquith of Brunswick Maine in 1820.

Early circular saws were crude with square mandrel holes and were made on special order. From 1840 the development of the inserted tooth had saw manufacturing take off. By 1859, Spaulding while experimenting in Sacramento CA discovered that curved sockets hold hold the teeth firmly and securely.

Following the developments of the circular saw, came developments in the band saw. The band saw became popular with the mill men due to its thinness which meant smaller kerf and more boards per log. (taken from The Saw in History by Henry Disston & Sons).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Billhead of the Month - J.W. Fiske

1875 billhead for J.W. Fiske manufacturer of ornamental iron and zinc work, stable fixtures, copper weather vanes located at 21 & 23 Barclay Street and 26 & 28 Park Place in New York City. Wonderful left side graphic of what I think is a garden urn. The billhead was printed with its corner folded down so that when it is unfolded there is a separation in the graphic. Items purchased were a manger, and rack.

Joseph Winn Fiske was born in 1832 at Chelmsford MA. In 1853 he traveled to Australia to make and sell hardware and tools. He returned to the U.S. in 1858 and set up shop in New York City making metal products. He opened a second outlet in Massachusetts that sam year. In 1864, he closed the store in Massachusetts, but the factory remained until 1900. The New York City retail outlet survived until 1956 when both the factory and retail outlet moved to Patterson NJ. Fiske became one of the preeminent manufacturers and retailers of ornamental iron and zinc objects. He manufactured cooper weathervanes, garden fountains, statutes, urns, etc.

More on Fiske: J.W. Fiske & Co. on Wikipedia

Some weathervane examples:

Corset Billheads / Letterheads

On Slate today there is an article about the history of the corset. Thought I would show the few corset billheads and letterheads.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Richmond VA billheads and receipts

I stumbled upon a notice from the University of Chicago's Special Collections Research Center blog which indicates the center is digitizing select archives. A neat one for billhead and receipt lovers i the archive of Fielding Lewis. Lewis owned a plantation on the James River, where he raised corn and wheat. Lewis was the son of Col. Warner Lewis and Eleanor Bowles of Warner Hall, Gloucester County, Virginia. He was also a great uncle of the famed Captain Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Around 1788, Lewis married Agnes Harwood, daughter of Samuel and Margaret Woddrop Harwood. With that marriage came the estate of Weyanoke on the James River.

I looked through the digitized invoices and receipts and was wowed! While not a lot of printed billheads, there were a few. Lots and lots of manuscript billheads which were also very interesting. I created a cheat sheet for the printed billheads below:

Box 2, Folder 6 - 1833 - pages 40 and 78 1833 – Thomas A. Rust – Richmond VA - hardware cutlery and saddlery - located at the sign of the lock

Box 2, Folder 4 - page 47 - Isham Puckett Central Hotel – preprinted – horse, day’s board, dinner, supper, lodging, breakfast, cigars and sundries at the bar and servants’ expenses.

Box 2, Folder 1 - pages 37-41 - F & E James & Co. - Richmond, VA -dealers in English, French, India, Scottish, Irish, German and domestic dry goods.

Box 1, Folder 17, pages 1-22 - 1827 William Neale & Co. Richmond, VA - looks like printed by Lieberman?

Box 1, Folder 16 - page 19 - 1826 William & D. Kyle & Co. – Richmond, VA – left side graphic of a wharf with goods.

Box 1, Folder 16 - page 69 - 1826 Hall & Neilson wholesale and retail dry good store – Richmond, VA.

Box 1, Folder 15 - page 1 - 1824 William Crane, his shoe and leather store – Richmond, VA – Left side signboard: constantly on hand: Philadelphia calfskins, morocco leather, shoemakers’ tools, shoe thread, hog skins, bag hides, horse collars, coach lace, fringe, and tassels, plated moulding, tanner’s oil, carriers’ tools, Spanish hides, etc.

Box 1, Folder 15 - page 23 - 1824 Thomas Neilson & Co. wholesale retail fancy and staple dry goods store – Petersburg, VA – double graphics – top center of the firms store- and left margin a large ship – looks like printed by J. Mase of Philadelphia.

Additional Neilson billheads in Box 1, Folder 14 - pages 1, 7/ Box 1, Folder 12 - page 48

Box 1, Folder 15 - page 67 -1825 JW & E Paterson Baltimore MD - iron.

Box 1, Folder 15 - page 75 - 1825 John M’Entire merchant tailor Richmond VA.

Robert Douthat receipts:

Box 3, Folder 6:

Page 81 - 1849 Word, Ferguson & Barksdale - Richmond, VA - dealers in staple and fancy dry goods - light blue colored.

Pages 105, 129, 175 - 1854 Mitchell & Tyler - Richmond, VA - dealers in clocks, watches, jewelry, silver and plated ware, military and fancy goods.

Page 131 - 1854 preprinted tax receipt to Peter Birchett - slaves, cattle, horses, watches, clocks.

Page 137 - 1855 Bulkley & Co. - Richmond, VA - importers and dealers in china, glass and house furnishing goods, lamps, fine ivory cutlery, plated goods, tea trays.

Page 144 - 1855 Exchange Hotel - Richmond, VA - left side hotel graphic- blue colored.

Box 3, Folder 7:

Page 1 - 1861 Spence & Garey - Richmond, VA - clothiers and merchant tailors.

Page 13 - 1866 Blunt & Moseley - Richmond, VA - druggist and apothecaries - same left side signboard: special attention to physicians' orders and family medicines.

Page 57 - 1877 Walke & Williams - Norfolk, VA - dealers in drugs, medicines, chemicals, essences, oils.

Page 59 - 1879 Dunlop & McCance - Richmond, VA - merchant millers.

Page 61 - 1878 Watkins, Cottrell & Co. - Richmond, VA - importers and dealers in foreign and domestic saddlery and hardware.

Page 99 - 1888 Carter & Ryland - Richmond, VA - grocers, commission merchants, and dealers in iron and steel - left side signboard: DuPont's gunpowders, Atlas powder.

Page 105 - 1898 Riverside Cigar Co. - Danville, VA - manufacturers havana cigars - leading brands: Oronoco Club, Riverside, Ozone and Opera Star.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Express receipts

It has been awhile since I have showed receipts on the blog. I became interested in express receipts when a few years ago I purchased a stock and bond book for Henry Clews. The first stock in the book was for Adams Express Co. I have been hooked on the history of the express business since and even bought some shares of Adams a while back - Adams Express is now a closed end fund. To read more on express history, check out AL Stinson's History of the express companies on google books.

Adams & Co.
American Express
Eastern Express Co.

Harnden Express
Howard Express
Lamping & Co. Express
Pacific Express Co.
Pioneer Express Co.
Southern Express Co.

Tobin & Co.'s Express
Union Line Express
United States Express Co.

Wells Fargo & Co. Express

Newest edition to my collection

My personal collecting has slowed considerably due to this falls unfortunate car issue and Gus, the dog, yet again in the hospital. Regardless, I always troll ebay UK for billheads and for ones I can get on the cheap. I bought this billhead about a month ago. It has a nice plate mark and left side graphic with all kinds of tools and iron goods.