VINTAGE WOODWORKING HAND TOOL NOTES

THE W & S BUTCHER COMPANY
Renowned manufacturer of tools, knives & razors

Last updated: 3 November 2016

The W & S Butcher Company was a leading Sheffield manufacturer that was formed as a partnership between brothers William and Samuel Butcher in 1819, began manufacturing edged tools in 1822 and continued in business until 1950. William was designated the senior partner - hence the W. Butcher stamping on tools - and was the driving force in determining production ventures and manufacturing methodologies. The company business really took off in the early 1830s with the introduction of knife and razor production, and the establishment of export trade to America. Robert Wade, an American from New York, played an important role in that venture first as their agent then as a partner in the W & S Butcher Company that subsequently traded as Wade & Butcher in America.


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Butcher Company mark
Recumbent B in circle - right facing arrow - Maltese cross

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Butcher Company mark
Another example

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Stamping on a plane cutting iron

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Stamping on another plane cutting iron


Examples of Butcher Company products

Woodworking chisels

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W. Butcher 3/8" wide heavy mortise chisel

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Stamping on blade

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W. Butcher 3/8" wide paring chisel

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Stamping on tang (top)

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Stamping on tang (bottom)

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W. Butcher 1/2" wide paring chisel

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Stamping on tang (top)

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Stamping on tang (bottom)


Folding Pocket knives

Wade & Butcher pocket knives were held in high regard because of their reliability and ability to hold a fine cutting edge.

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Wade & Butcher folding knife

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Engraving on blade tang

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Knife box label


Bowie knives

Butcher Bowie knives garnered a great deal of fame for the Company. They are now among the most desirable in the Bowie knife collecting community.

Butcher Bowie knives were much favored on the American frontier. Some may have been used by the Texians during the fight for Texas independence in 1836.

Check the third paragraph from the end of this article relating to the Madame Candelaria Bowie knife in the San Jacinto Museum -- follow the W & S Butcher link to a picture of that knife.

Surviving examples show Butcher Bowie knives were also used by Prospectors during the California Gold Rush.

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Typical Wade & Butcher Bowie knife
6" clip point blade, nickel silver guard, 4" pick bone handle

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Stamping on blade tang
(indicating post 1891, pre 1914, manufacture)

The McKinley Tariff Act of 1891 specified that all goods imported into the United States must have the name of the country of origin inscribed on them. In 1914 the Act was amended to require "Made in ....." (country) be added. In 1921 the Act was amended for a second time specifying that the inscriptions be in English only.


Straight razors

Wade & Butcher razors were held in high esteem, particularly in the American frontier west, where they were undoubtedly used by barbers, miners, soldiers, cowboys, et al.

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Wade & Butcher plain utilitarian razor

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Stamping on blade shank

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Embossed razor case


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