A Minty "Blue Ribbon" Saw
1832 -- Abel Simonds (1804-1874--a direct descendent of Samuel Simonds, who came to Massachusetts in the mid-1600s and became Deputy Governor of Massachusetts in 1673) and J. T. Farwell, start a new business in Fitchburg, Massachusetts--J. T. Farwell & Company, makers of scythes. (click here for a picture of the scythemakers circa 1850)
1851 -- The partnership is dissolved and Abel Simonds continues manufacturing on his own.
1864 -- Abel Simonds retires. His sons, George F. and Alvan A., along with Benjamin Snow, continue the business under the name Simonds Brothers & Company. They produce machine knives and mower and reaper sections.
1868 -- The business is incorporated as the Simonds Manufacturing Company, run by five Simonds Brothers: George F. (president), Alvan A., Thomas T., Daniel, and Edwin F. Simonds. A new factory is built. (another picture here)
1875 -- Alvan A. Simonds leaves the company.
1878 -- The company sells off its reaper and mower business and begins manufacturing saws, in addition to the machine knives.
1880 -- A branch office in Chicago is opened.
1886 -- A branch office in San Francisco is opened.
1887 -- Charles Glover of Hartford, Conn. patents a new type of saw screw on Dec. 27, 1887. This has nothing to do with Simonds at all, except for the fact that Simonds uses these patented saw screws on its saws and many of the medallions say "PAT DEC 27 1887". This has nothing to do with the saw, only the saw screws. Your saw was NOT made or patented in 1887. As far as I know, Simonds was not even making handsaws in 1887. There are no handsaws in their 1889 catalog. So if you are looking at this website to find out about a saw you want to sell on ebay (you know who you are), please don't say in your description that it was made in 1887, because it wasn't.
1887 -- Simonds Manufacturing Company has around 200 employees.
1888 -- George F. Simonds leaves the company to start the Simonds Rolling-Machine Company. Daniel Simonds becomes president.
1891 -- Branch office in Portland, Ore. opens.
1892 -- Branch office in New York City opens. A factory in Chicago is opened.
1898 -- Seattle, Wash. branch office opens.
1900 -- Simonds builds its own steel mill in Chicago so that the company can make its own steel, instead of buying from US and English steel producers, thus having greater control over the quality of steel.
1901 (approx) -- Simonds begins producing and selling handsaws and backsaws
1902 -- Picture of the company picnic.
1905-6 -- A new factory is built in Fitchburg on the site of the original factory.
1906 -- Branch offices in Montreal (including a factory) and St. John, New Brunswick in Canada open. A new factory for the production of files and hack saw blades opens in Fitchburg.
1911 -- The steel mill operation is moved from Chicago to Lockport, NY. It is run by electricity from nearby Niagara Falls. A branch office in Vancouver opens.
1913 -- Daniel Simonds dies. His son, Alvan T. Simonds (who graduated from Harvard and studied at the School of Metallurgy in Sheffield, England) takes over as president.
1922 -- Name is changed to Simonds Saw and Steel Company. Branch office in Detroit is opened.
1923 -- Simonds has over 2,200 employees.
1926 -- Simonds stops the manufacture of handsaws after only 25 years.
1931 -- Famous windowless factory opens in Fitchburg--the first of its kind (and the end of an era?).
To learn more about the modern-day Simonds Industries Inc., visit their website.
1889 Price List of the Simonds Saws and Knives. Simonds Manufacturing Company. Fitchburg, MA.
Fitchburg, Massachusetts Past and Present by William A. Emerson. Fitchburg, 1887.
Fitchburg Past and Present, New Illustrated Edition by William A. Emerson. Fitchburg, 1903.
Catalogue No. 19. Simonds Manufacturing Company. Fitchburg, 1919.
History of Worcester County Massachusetts, vol. III, edited by Ellery Bicknell Crane. New York, 1924.
Hand-Saw Makers of North America by Erwin L. Schaffer. Rockford, IL: Osage Press, 1999. The essential saw reference book!
This website is in no way related to Simonds Industries Inc.
It is purely for educational and recreational purposes.
I am not a Simonds expert, just a Simonds enthusiast. I cannot answer questions about saws or their age or value, so please don't email me with those questions.
Copyright © 2004 by Brian Welch.