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126196 Eric and Julie <brio@g...> 2003‑12‑20 Saw from Thompson Griffin Beilby & Co.
I'm sending this post in the hope that it may provide some interesting
information on early Birmingham saw makers, and more specifically, on the
sawmakers Thompson Griffin Beilby & Co.

The story starts three years ago, when I acquired a 12" open-handled backsaw
from an online auction. The saw had apparently belonged to an old Maine
cabinetmaker. The brass back is stamped Thompson Griffin Beilby & Co., and
the general appearance indicated an early 19th century British origin.

This is a 12-point saw, so I would call it a carcase saw. It has a very
graceful, comfortable handle, and a brass back which is considerably lighter
than might be found on later saws. I've put a few images of the saw at
http://wdynamic.com/galoots/4images/categories.php?cat_id=18 - many thanks
to Jim E. for hosting the images!

Back in 2000, I posted a query to OldTools
and found that the maker was apparently unknown. Even with the help of the
list, the best lead on this manufacturer was Ken Roberts' listing of a
John Thompson, who was making saws in Sheffield in 1817.

Fast-forward three years, and imagine my surprise when I get an e-mail from
Don McConnell, telling me he'd found a trade directory listing for
Thompson Griffin Beilby & Co.; they were making saws in Birmingham in 1818,
in a shop on Great Brook Street. I had assumed that the saw was likely a
Sheffield product, so I was surprised to learn of the Birmingham connection.

Over the next few days, Don assembled a chronology of Birmingham saw makers.
I've put the complete chronology at the bottom of this message for archival

The result of Don's research indicates that Thompson Griffin Beilby & Co.
were known to be in business from 1818 to 1822, but were no longer listed in
the 1828 directory. I speculate that this is the same Thompson who was in
Sheffield in 1817, but this is uncertain.

In 1828, Thompson was listed with Thompson  Leonard, Dawes & Co., at a
location in Great Brook St. It is tempting to speculate that this is the
Thompson, in the same location, but with different partners.

In 1830, Thompson  Leonard, Dawes & Co. are still listed, and there is also
a Griffin Joseph, working in Ashted-Row. Could this be the same Griffin?

By 1835, Griffin has apparently disappeared from the scene, but Thompson,
Leonard, Dawes and Co. are still listed, with the addition of a street
number: 5 Great Brook St.

By 1839, Thompson and Dawes have apparently moved on, and the business is
listed as Leonard  Henry, 5 Gt. Brook St.

Finally, in 1852, Great Brook Street is no longer listed for any of the
Birmingham sawmakers, and all the Thompson Griffin Beilby players seem to
have moved on.

I am very pleased to know a bit more about the provenance of this saw, and
I especially want to thank Don McConnell for his extensive research on this
subject. I still can't believe that the Beilby name stuck in Don's mind,
that he recalled my query three years after the fact, and that he took the
trouble to look me up, tell me his findings, and then follow up with more
research. Hats off to Don!

- Eric B., in Fairbanks, Alaska, not far from the Arctic Circle, watching
              the sun set even though it's only been up for three hours.

Don McConnell's listings of Birmingham saw makers:

1818  (_Wrightson's Triennial Directory for Birmingham_)

Anderton, Richard, Cutlery Mkr, Saw & Edge Tool Mkr, Bordesley
Hill, Edwin, Saw Mkr, Steel Busk Mkr, Fazeley St
Powell, William, Spade & Fire Shovel Mfr, Pan & Saw Mkr, Moor St
Thompson, Griffin &Beilby & Co, Saw Mfr, , Great Brook St
Wilkinson, George, Mfr Of Augers Saws Chisels Gouges Planes Iron, &c,
Alcester St

1822 (_Baine's History and Directory of Yorkshire_)

Paviour & Fenney, Great Brooke St.
Staniforth  John, Woodcock St.
Thompson, Griffin, Beilby & Co., Great Brooke St.
Wilkinson George, Alcester Row

1828-9 (_Pigot & Co.'s National Commercial Directory_)

Betts  Wm., 41 Water St.
Betts  Wm., 10 Court, Ludgate Hill
Powell  William & Son (& spade & fire-shovel pan), 108 Moor St.
Staniforth  John, Woodcock St.
Thompson  Leonard, Dawes & Co., Great Brook St.
Wilkinson  George, Upper Witton Mill

1830 (_The History, Topography and Directory of Warwickshire_)

Betts  William, 41 Water St.
Betts  Wm., Ludgate Hill
Griffin  Joseph, Ashted-Row
Powell  Wm. and Son, and spade & fire shovel pan, 108 Moor St.
Staniforth  John, Woodcock St.
Thompson, Leondard, Dawes and Co., Great Brook St.
Wilkinson  George, Upper Witton Mills

1835  (_Pigot's National Commercial Directory_)

Atkin  Aaron and Son (and steel busk), 35 Barford St.
Betts  William, 58 Ludgate Hill
Crookes  John, 4 Court, Lench St.
Hadley  Oliver, 2 Court, Edmund St.
Powell  William, 101 Moor St.
Squires  Charles (& busk), 5 Freeman St.
Staniforth  John (& steel busk), 15 Woodcock St.
Thompson, Leonard, Dawes and Co., 5 Great Brook St.

1839 (_Robson's Birmingham and Sheffield Directory_)

Atkins  Aaron & Son, 96 Barford St.
Betts  Wm., 58 Ludgate Hill
Leonard  Henry, 5 Gt. Brook St.
Roston R., 1 Freeman St.
Staniforth  John, 15 Woodcock St.

1852 (_Slater's General and Classififed Directory of Birmingham
        and its Vicinities_)

Atkin & Sons, 58 Ludgate Hill and 116 and 117 Barford St.
Darby  Henry, 17 Freeman St.
Squire  George, 88 Steelhouse Lane
Staniforth  John, 16 Woodcock St.

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