Unusual Panel Saw by the American Saw Co.

American saw Co. Saw blade etch - featured image.

This article was authored by Wiktor Kuc and Joe Steiner.

Some time ago Joe Steiner (former partner at Sauer & Steiner Toolworks) sent me this email:

“Hey Wiktor,

I don’t know if this interests you but here are some pics of a saw from a co. that is the first example I have seen (maybe you have some examples) but which I would think are relatively scarce. The saw was in rough shape and the etching was nowhere to be seen behind some very thick rust. I saw the handle in a pile of saws and it screamed special. Cleaned it a bit but didn’t want to go too far. It will never be a collector or even a user saw because of the unfortunate breakage on the nose but what a cool etch. I wonder if this was advertising in a useful form for their patented removable teeth in the circular blades that they may be more famous for. I don’t know if you want to include it in the stuff you have on the American Saw co site.

Panel Saw

American Saw Co. – Panel Saw

Specifics on the saw… 20″s now but has been broken so was a little longer, closed drop beech handle held on with 4 split nuts (2 on back MIA) and a graphic 1″ Warranted Superior medallion with eagle holding arrows below 8 (9?)Stars. Mr. FARMER was very proud of his saw because he signed it on both sides. The etch in the middle of the blade –  “MANUFACTURED BY AMERICAN SAW CO, NEW YORK XLNT WARRANTED SUPERIOR EMERSON’S PATENT JULY 16th 1867”.

I don’t know if there was something special on that date but his patents weren’t on this date. I love the “XLNT”, short for excellent?

Joe Steiner”

The Saw

This handsaw was made by the company, known for their mill saws and saw maintenance tools. The handle is nicely shaped in traditional English style, with a well defined “lamb’s tongue”. Unusual etch in bold font with Emerson’s patent “loudly” pronounced and emphasized.

I believe this is very rare example. I have been asking some serious saw collectors about saws made by American Saw Co., but no one has seen this kind of saw. This rarity and unusual etch makes this saw, in my view, an important and valuable collectable item.

So, here it is…

Blade Length PPI/Mark/Type Nib Design Type Blade Mark/
Handle Screws/ L. Screw Estimated Prod. Date
20 -22″ 10/No/
rip filing
none Panel Saw Etch Beechwood 3/1 1867 – 1870
20" handsaw by American Saw Co.

20″ handsaw by the American Saw Co.


Well, it was probably 22″ saw, before the toe was broken off.


Manufactured By American Saw Co. New York XLNT Warranted Superior Emerson’s Patent July 16th, 1867.

Emerson Patents

The patent date referenced on the etch, July 16, 1867, refers to patent No. 66,692 received by Emerson for an “Improvement in Saw”.

Illustration from patent No. 66,692 awarded to James E. Emerson on July 16, 1867.

Illustration from patent No. 66,692 awarded to James E. Emerson on July 16, 1867.

Patent’s narrative provides, in part, the following information:

“The first part of my invention consists in providing the saw with apertures or perforations, a series or plurality of which extend consecutively and in a definite line from or near the throat or point of juncture each pair of teeth, and which subserve the purpose of facilitating the sharpening of the saw, as will be hereinafter more fully explained.

The second part of my invention consists in a novel method of forming the saw with clearing-teeth, in connection with chambers or openings in the blade, for purpose of removing the sawdust from the kerf, and cutting off the ridge which remains at the base of the kerf in consequence of the “set” position of the teeth. … It is of course to be understood that this embodiment of several varieties of teeth in a single blade is merely to condense the illustration, the individual saws, as manufactured, necessarily embracing but one kind of working tooth.” 

It is obvious that the patent date in the etch has nothing to do with this saw and is pointing to a patent Emerson received for another of his many designs of circular and long crosscut saws and theirs teeth.  I can only speculate a purpose for which this handsaw was made. The following comes to mind:

The 1867 was a special year for Emerson.  The American Saw Company was formed in January 1866 and by the beginning of 1867 the management of the company decided to participate in The Paris World Exposition 1867.  The Exposition opening was scheduled for April 1st and Emerson was preparing to make a mark at this exhibition.

The Trenton Daily State Gazette reported on January 3, 1867 the following: “An interesting affair occurred at the American Saw Company’s works on New Year’s Day. The employees of that establishment were regaled with a dinner served upon a mammoth circular saw about twenty-two feet in circumference, now in course of manufacture for the Paris Exposition. In connection with this reunion around the festive saw, a handsome saw and swage of solid gold were presented by the employees to Mr. J. E. Emerson, the director of the works.”

By the end of February the saw was ready and for one day was displayed in Trenton for public viewing. The Trenton Daily State Gazette posted following announcement on February 28, 1867: “The Mammoth Saw Manufactured in this city by the American Saw Company will be on exhibition at Brearley, Cogill & Co’s hardware store, this day and evening only, corner of State and Green street. This saw is seven feet and four inches in diameter and is designed for the World’s Fair in Paris.”

The 1867 was also a year during which Emerson was awarded seven (!) patents. Just in March alone, as he was finalizing preparation for the Expo, he received two patents.

It is clear that “our” saw is a commemorative of Emerson’s patent No. 66,692 and most likely was designed for marketing purposes. It is also possible, that the saw was designed to be a gift to a special attendee of the Paris Expo or to other prominent personality, associated with American Saw Company. It is unquestionable that the saw was made with special care and the whole design is a convincing argument of that.

How this saw landed in Canada where Joe Steiner found it is a puzzle for another article…

English style handle in beechwood, three flat-head screws with split nuts and one medallion.

English style handle in beechwood, three flat head screws with split nuts and one medallion. “Farmer” – carved on the handle. Most likely the owner of the saw.

"Farmer" - carved on the handle's back side as well.

“Farmer” – carved on the handle’s back side as well.

Warranted Superior medallion and three flat-head saw screws.

Warranted Superior medallion and three flat-head saw screws.

This medallion kept me at attention for a long time. There are variety reasons for that and I will explore them next.

The Medallion

Important note: the following analysis are my own (Wiktor), and for any silliness in my observations the reader might find here, I am the one that should take blame, not Joe Steiner. Critique and disagreements are welcome and should be also directed to me.

Here is the medallion from a panel saw made by the American Saw Company (for The Paris World Exposition 1867?) and discussed above.

Rare design of an eagle.

Rare design of an eagle.

Question: Where this medallion came from? Why the eagle is so different from the other we usually see on majority of American saws? Was it made in US or in England?

One of the observations I have is that this medallion is very rare. It was used on a saw discussed in this article and no other examples are known to me.

To analyze a bit further I reviewed all saws I have and then multiple websites, forums and blogs on Internet. I also used Google Image Search but no other examples showed up, except one.  Here it is:

The same type medallion found on Internet.

The same type medallion found on Internet.

Although at first glance this medallion appears to be identical, there are small variations that, after close examination, are apparent. With that in mind, I assume that the creator of this medallion continued to use the same motive of eagle, but it was probably a different die, made at different time. He actually, in my view, came very close.

Smaller version - face and sides.

Smaller version – face and back sides.

I found this medallion on a TreasureNet website/forum at this location. It was posted there with a request for info. Unfortunately, no explanation or further elaboration is available there.

My next step was to review again the type of Warranted Superior medallions used in US in early years. Below I gathered a few examples of Warranted Superior medallions from American saws – late 1840 to late 1860:

Warranted Superior medallions with "American" eagle.

Warranted Superior medallions with “American” eagle.

On occasion some saw makers and manufacturers use the same type of eagle with their name.  Here are some examples:

Branded medallions with "American" eagle.

Branded medallions with “American” eagle.

To round up this review and assure the readers, I am perfectly aware of other forms of eagle use by some saw manufacturers in US.  Here are some examples:

Branded medallions with different eagle designs.

Branded medallions with different eagle designs.

NOTE: The pictures of the medallions shown above came from different sources. Majority of them are my own. A few were taken for a Saw Medallions Reference Guide compiled by “summerfi” at Thanks much for this resource.

Well, we are back, at the same point where we started and questions remain:

Where this medallion came from? Why the eagle is so different from the medallions we usually see on American saws? Was it made in US or in England?

Here again, is the medallion in question.

Rare design of an eagle

Warranted Superior medallion with rarely-seen eagle design.

At this point I realized that there is one more forum I have to visit – the Although I knew that members there are mostly interested in English saws, it was still worth a shot. Here is what I found…

Medallion from a backsaw, branded as A. Rosling made by Bearshaw & Son.

Medallion from a backsaw, branded as A. Rosling made by Bearshaw & Son.

Medallion from a dovetail saw, stamped A. Rosling. This brand name was used by Beardshaw & Son and the saw is posted on the forum by the member with id “kiwi”. The saw was found in Canada.

Medallion from a saw made by Taylor & Son, Sheffield, UK

Medallion from a saw made by Taylor & Son, Sheffield, UK

Taylor & Son medallion posted on the forum by the member with id “dyounmoses”. Unfortunately, no description of the saw or where was it found was given.

The three medallions came together in perfect harmony. As you can see, the design of this medallion is almost identical. The differences are so minor that I am tempted to consider one source of manufacturing of these medallions. The minor difference, which definitely exist, are a result of different dies made over time to satisfy different needs and different customers.

Since two of the medallions are used on English saws, is this a proof the medallion was manufactured in England and then sold in US? That would be a quick and convenient conclusion, but I am not ready for it. What we have here is what we see – a design shared by three different saw makers.

And this is a good example of the difficulties that any research of sawmaking, when taken to this level of details, is faced with. There is not enough data to resolve some nagging questions – it is that simple.

To add some more to this realization, here is the last straw. Just as I was hoping to be done with this presentation, I remembered that there is one more source I should check – the site. I remembered one saw on that site – a very high-priced, old, and beautiful saw. And there it was – a dovetail saw, made (most likely by Disston) for Dilworth, Branson & Co.
And what do we see on this saw… ? We see this:

The medallion from the backsaw made for Dilworth, Branson & Co.

Medallion from a backsaw made for Dilworth, Branson & Co. Courtesy of

This is the best resolution I can get at this time. Nevertheless, this is the same medallion design as the one on “our” saw.

The Dilworth, Branson & Co. was a name used by one of the oldest, if not the oldest, hardware house in US. Here is a snippet from Iron Age magazine, Vol. 61, April 21, 1898, p. 41:

“James M. Vance & Co. are recognized as the oldest Hardware concern in Philadelphia, and are probably the oldest in the United States. The present firm has no data as to the exact year in which the business was founded but they find among their records receipts dated in 1777.

The founder of the business was Samuel Dilworth, and after his decease the business was carried on by his sons, William and Charles. They were succeeded by William Dilworth, who afterward admitted Samuel Branson and the firm name then became Dilworth & Branson. About 1847 they admitted to partnership two young men, James M. Vance and Henry D. Landis, who were in their employ, the business after that date being carried on under the name of Dilworth, Branson & Co. In 1858 Messrs. Dilworth and Branson retired, and the business was continued under the name of Vance & Landis.”

Taking the above information into account, the saw was made most likely sometime between 1847 and 1858.

So here we are, with dates for “our” medallion ranging from 1847 to at least 1867 or beyond, and this is without taking into account the saws made by two English firms.

The resolution – NONE… Conclusions – NONE…

The questions still remain:

  • Who was the maker of this medallion?
  • Is it possible that the medallion was made in England by one and the same firm?
  • How did it end-up on saws made in US and England?
  • or Was it made in US?

If you have a comment, data, or any other observations, please post them here or email to:  We will be very happy to hear from you.

Wiktor Kuc and Joe Steiner
July, 2014

A Smithy & A Foundry-man — Regional Meeting

Header Image for 2014 Regional Meeting

Early American Industries Association
Regional Meeting – Perry Hall, Maryland

A Smithy & A Foundry-man

Lectures and Demonstrations on the American Blacksmith
& Foundry work: casting & molding metal
Saturday, September 13, 2014 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
At Windy Hill Forge in Perry Hall, Maryland
3824 Schroeder Ave * Perry Hall, MD 21128

Event Fee: $20 (early bird discount register by September 6) or $25 onsite registration
Lunch included: Maryland Crab Soup, BBQ Chicken, Homemade Salads, Corn on the Cob, Homemade Root beer & Lemonade
Free & ample parking.

Visit: for more info & directions or
Contact: Ray Zeleny: 410-256-5890

Event Itinerary:
8:00 AM Morning Tailgate, Registration & Continental Breakfast
10:00 AM Welcome
10:15 AM American Blacksmith Lecture and Demonstration

  • Ray Zeleny, Owner of Windy Hill Forge & The Cast House, Member of EAIA, MWTCA, & PATINA

12:00 PM Lunch: Maryland Crab Soup, BBQ Chicken, Homemade Salads, Corn, Homemade Root beer & Lemonade
1:30 PM Foundry Sand Casting Lecture and Demonstration

  • Robert Eagan, Owner of American Alloy Foundry, Member of EAIA

3:45 PM Closing Remarks
Local Overnight Accommodations:

  • White Marsh, Maryland 21236
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott,
  • Marriott Residence Inn
  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • Hampton Inn
  • Home2 Suites by Hilton.

Additional Local Places of Interest & Events:


  • Please fill out and return he form here to register for this event.  (Make checks payable to: Ray Zeleny Send to: 3824 Schroeder Avenue ▪ Perry Hall, MD 21128)

Spread the word:

  • Please help spread the word on this event to others. You can download and share a PDF version of this content in a flyer format here.


9th Annual Tool Discovery Day

Shelburne Musuem Shaker barn full of tools

9th Annual
Sunday, July 20, 2014
11am to 3pm

The Chester Ranlett Tool Museum , Route 6, Eastham, MA
Located behind the Swift-Daley House Museum and adjacent
To the Eastham Post Office. Plenty of parking.

All are welcome to a gathering of tool collectors, anyone interested in sharing their knowledge and experience or just enjoying a part of the past in a setting committed to preserving old tools used by a variety of craftsmen.

Plus Demonstrations:

  • Including
    Pewter Spoon Making

Bring your old tools to Trade or Tailgate or describe as a “whatsit”

  • Appraisals available by a team of Experts

11 am to 1 pm Tailgate

  • (call Irwin Sitkin @ 508 -945-3069 if you plan to set up)

1 pm Welcome by Mark Herman, Curator
1:15 pm Tours

  • Tool Museum
  • Beach Shack
  • Swift Daley House

“Whatsit” Session

Please get the word out to others. You can download a flyer for the event here.

Fireplace and Oven Workshop At Eastfield Village

980 x 550 To Look Good As a Featured Image

I spent the past week out at Eastfield Village for a 5 day workshop on building a traditional fireplace and beehive oven.

Group Photo of Half The Class

Group Photo Of Half The Class

The class was full of Carpentry and Preservation Carpentry Students from the North Bennet Street School in Boston.

Group Photo of the Other Half of the Class

Group Photo of the Other Half of the Class

We had a great time learning the ins and outs of building a traditional fireplace.

Group Photo Of 2014 Fireplace and Oven Class at Eastfield Village

Group Photo Of 2014 Fireplace and Oven Class at Eastfield Village

Most of the students were new to masonry work, so the results are a testament to the teaching and experience that Don, Billy and John brought to the class.

Inside a new beehive oven

Inside a new beehive oven

You can see a video recap of the week’s events on YouTube here:

If you’d like to learn more about this class and Eastfield Village, please check out another blog post I made on this topic here or visit the Eastfield Village website here.

Take care,



Oak Lumber Needed for Plimoth Plantation

Mayflower II in Plymouth Harbor

Reprinted news brief from 2013.

Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts—Plimoth Plantation announced today an appeal for white oak lumber to help repair Mayflower II, the full-scale reproduction of the Mayflower that sailed to Plymouth in 1620. The Museum hopes to promote an awareness of this need and to receive help in locating sources for these materials. Mayflower II is currently undergoing extensive repairs at dry dock in Fairhaven, Massachusetts at the Fairhaven Shipyard, and needs frames and planks replaced to make her seaworthy. These repairs are critical to the iconic ship’s return to her berth on the Plymouth, MA waterfront where she is a popular living history exhibit of Plimoth Plantation.

The 56 year-old wooden sailing ship requires very specific and often difficult to find wood to complete her repairs. The oak trees being sought are around 100 feet tall, over 4 feet in diameter and clear of any knots. “This wood doesn’t come from typical commercial sources,” said Peter Arenstam, the ship’s captain and manager of Plimoth Plantation’s Maritime Artisans program. “We are looking for very specific trees that need to be the right age, size and even have the proper bend.” The white oak is being sought to replace Mayflower II’s planks and frames. The final lumber for the planks will measure 24 inches by 30 feet and be 3.5 inches thick. The frame stock will measure 24 inches by 10 feet and be 8 inches thick. “These pieces are very long and must have no defects, making them not only extremely heavy, but very difficult to find,” according to Arenstam.

The Museum emphasizes that the sourcing of wood materials for Mayflower II must be carried out in a selective, environmentally-responsible way. All leads will be carefully considered to meet very specific requirements that will ensure the most effective use of resources. The Museum plans to implement a tree planting program to replace any trees which may be taken down to complete the ship’s repairs. Plimoth Plantation is making an appeal for white oak lumber or trees that would meet the specific requirements for creating frames and planks for Mayflower II.

Sarah MacDonald
Manager of Media Relations and Promotions
508-746-1622 x8206
Cell: 508-425-0561
NOTE: The Museum is asking to be contacted at or by calling Sarah MacDonald at 508-746-1622, Ext. 8206.

Eastfield Historic Trades Sampler 2013

Group Photo EV 2013




Web Site Upgrades

Harley Earl at the Drawing Board

Welcome to the new EAIA web site!


This site took a while to develop, but I hope that you will enjoy your visit.

Some highlights of the new site include:


  • All New Website
  • WordPress Based Support for Blogs
  • New Photo Galleries
  • New Opportunities to Contact Committees and other EAIA Members
  • Calendar of Events
  • Chronicle
  • Shavings
  • Ability to comment on posts, interact
  • View Facebook page feed
  • Fresh new look

If there is content or features you’d like to see on this new website, please contact the web committee here.

NOTE: Hyperlinks from the old site will not work. The new site has all the same general content and back issue of publications that we had on the old site, plus new content. Publications can be found via the publications page here.


Take care,
-Bill Rainford
EAIA Web Development Lead




Tool Rack -- Old Salem NC

Early American Industries Association

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