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Richardson Brothers Saw Works - Newark, N.J.


 

Historical Overview

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Christopher and William C. Richardson established their business under the name of C. & W. C. Richardson.  It was located in Newark, N.J. and the year was 1859. 

According to Alexander Farnham, who studied extensively and published two books on toolmakers of New Jersey, in 1866 the business name was changed to Passaic Saw Works - Richardson Brothers.

Early advertisement, under the name of C. & W. C Richardson (before 1866), describes company as making "Warranted Cast Steel and Extra Cast Steel Saws of Every Description" and also Knives, Cutters, Moulding Irons & Springs of all Kinds. A Good Assortment on Hand of Circular Saws, Scroll & Fellow Webs, &c."  The company was located at 15 Railroad Avenue - opposite Market St. Depot. 

Early saws from this period are found to have die-stamps shown to the right. This particular stamp is from a backsaw with brass back.

The medallion from this saw shows early, most likely second in order, design without patent date.  The text reads "Richardson Brothers", "RXB", and "Newark NJ".  In the beak eagle holds a banner with word "Challenge".  This design was used until 1878, when Maltese Cross trade mark was registered and appeared on new medallions.

This suggests that the saw was made before Washbourne patent of 1867.  However, there is no sufficient information to date these saws with great precision.  In case of Richardson Brothers, there is also appearance of slow adaptation  of new saw screws designs and this factor needs to be taken into account.

According to Alexander Farnham, who studied extensively and published two books on toolmakers of New Jersey, in 1866 the business name was changed to Passaic Saw Works - Richardson Brothers.  Also, the 1873 advertisement in "The Successful Business Men of Newark" shows their business name as Passaic Saw Works - Richardson Brothers.

In 1874 William F. Ford published "The Industrial Interests of Newark, N. J.", a unique review, based on personal interviews with individual manufacturers in the city.  He described Passaic Saw Works as follows:

"RICHARDSON BROTHERS, (Passaic Saw Works) Railroad Place and Commercial street. Newark has but one saw manufactory, but this one alone has been sufficient to place the city in the front rank as regards the production of the best American saws. 

The result named has been due to the exertions of the firm named above.  Mr. C. Richardson began the manufacture of saws in Newark during the year 1859.  His brother was associated with him in the business, whence arose the firm name.  The brother has since died, and Mr. C. Richardson is now sole proprietor.  From its inception, however, he has been the master-spirit of the enterprise, and to his practical skill and originality this branch of American industry is greatly indebted.

The firm manufactures all styles and varieties of saws.  Original designs have been introduced, some of which are patented.  Mr. Richardson's main secret of success has been his improved methods of tempering steel, of which are of his own invention.  One, in particular, was perfected in 1867 - Apparatus for Tempering Steel Plates, and at the time created quite a commotion among saw manufacturers.  In the works are used improved styles of machinery of Mr. Richardson's own designs and patents.

In addition to the manufacture of saws, Mr. Richardson makes an extra quality of hay and straw knives, mowing and reaping knives, cane, mincing knives, and circular and straight machine knives for cutting rubber; also, moulding and plowing irons, slate and mitre cutters, and plastering rods.

These goods find a market in all parts of the country, and the firm supplies nearly all the leading New York hardware houses. Shipments of butcher saws are occasionally made to the Liverpool markets. The working force of the factory numbers 50 men, and the wages paid weekly amount to $800.  At the present rate of production the goods manufactured annually amount in value to $70,000."

In late 1870s the name was changed again, this time to Richardson Brothers.


Die-stamp on the saw blade - Richardson Bro's

1872 map of Newark, N.J.  Approximate location of the Passaic Saw Works
- Richardson Brothers facilities on River Street.


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