Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Hand tool manufacture during the Industrial Revolution : sawmaking in Sheffield c.1750-c.1830
Author: Barley, Simon L.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3445 4498
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2008
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This thesis is the first study of one of Britain's mcuor hand tool industries, saw manufactming, between it., Sheflield Oligins in the mid-18d • century and its rapid development, at the expense of the older centres of the industry in London and Binningham, to a dominating position by 1830. 'I'he reasons for this pre-eminence are shown to lie in factors the combination of which was unique to Sheflield: the most imp0l1ant were the production of a new form of steel (crucible cast), extensive water powered metal-working f~lcilities, special local grindstone production, and a centuries-long tradition of secondary metal-wares, especially cutlery. Saw manuf~lcturing, previously unknown there, was taken up from 1757 onwards by a small number of Sheflield's most prosperous and innovative entrepreneurs, one of whom, Joseph vVilson, has left an archive of largely unexamined documents that have enabled the historical reconsuuction of his businesses from 1746-1775. Wilson's records, and otller original sources, show that saw making was usually closely associated with steel making, and that the use of crucible steel, together with the rolling of the steel plate for saw blades, at once lowered the price of saws by about one tlIird. Rapid expansion of the industry followed, and by about 1830 tliere were more saw-making firms in Sheflield (almost 70) than in the whole of the rest of Britain combined. Fmther documents from two firms of the 1820s have been used to show that Sheflield's saw makers were mctior exporters to Europe and North America. 'The scale and speed of the saw industry's rise are used to argue tliat regional development during the study period could be extremely rapid and yet be unrecognised in national, aggregated statistics, lending support to those who argue that if the whole picture could be examined, economic growth of imp0l1ant parts of the economy from 1760-1830 was neither gradual nor slow. Sheflield's sawmakers were fi'om the 1760s making a wide range of tools. Their sophisticated marketing techniques, offering many diflcrent qualities of products aimed at purchasers from working carpenters to gentlemen of leisure, closely resemble tllOse of other retail trades of the period. Former research into other branches of hand tool manufacture would provide more detail about the essential tools of the era before machinery.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available