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    Default Brown & Sharpe question

    I just acquired an old square marked "J.R. Brown & Sharpe Providence R.I."
    Can anyone here give me an idea as to how old this item might be? I've seen many Brown & Sharpe tools, but none have been marked like this.

    Thanks!

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    They were using that mark from 1852 to 1866 when they added Samuel Darling as a partner and changed it too D. B. & S.......... this is from memory after a glass or so of wine so someone may look it up to check.

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    Not enough wine Rivett! Your memory is correct.

    To be specific, Joseph Rogers Brown took Lucian Sharpe as his partner in 1853.
    In 1866 they teamed with Samuel Darling of Bangor Maine to to form Darling Brown & Sharpe as the name for their precision small tool line - not machinery.
    In 1868 the J R Brown & Sharpe machinery line was reorganized to Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co.
    In 1892, Samuel Darling's widow was bought out, his name dropped and Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co was the only name used throughout the entire line.

    This thread gives me the opportunity to hear from those on this forum about the following:

    What was JR's first logo?

    I believe it is Rivett who has a vernier caliper in bronze marked "JOS R BROWN" followed by what is likely "MAKER".
    I have about a dozen items marked "J. R. Brown & Sharpe" that are 1850 to 1853 or a little later.
    I have one tool (somewhere???) marked "Joseph R. Brown & Sharpe".
    And I have one tool (a center drill gage) marked " Joseph R. Brown & Sharpe Makers".

    I'm guessing:

    1. "JOS R BROWN" is the first logo,
    2. "Joseph R. Brown & Sharpe Makers" is the second,
    3. "Joseph R. Brown & Sharpe " is the third followed by
    4. "J. R. Brown & Sharpe", then
    5. "Darling Brown & Sharpe",
    6. "Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co." and so on.

    Anyone have a study? Anyone have other logos? How about a different time line?

    And here is a little more to pique discussion. Before JR went on his own when his father left the family business in 1841, there first was the "David Brown" logo of his father (Clocks) prior to 1833 and then "D. Brown & Son" in 1833.
    In 1850 J. R. invented his famous linear dividing engine and started his new machinist (wasn't it called "mechanics" tools then?) company we've been discussing above.
    In 1851 he created the vernier caliper mentioned earlier.
    It is written that Lucien Sharpe was Brown's apprentice for 5 years, so it must be that Sharpe stared with Brown in 1848 presumably under the name D. Brown & Son.

    Please correct and add information!!

    Last edited by AntiqueMac; 11-30-2009 at 12:25 PM. Reason: typos

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    Thanks, AntiqueMac & Rivett! I knew that if anybody would know history, you guys would. I'm going to clean it a little, then I'll post a picture.

    Thanks again!

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    "BROWN & SHARPE MFG. CO. MAKERS" on my 4 1/2" x 36" master surface plate(with floating leg) dated 1886.

    Rob

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    Rob,

    Wow! Interesting and definitely a much more modern use of "Makers" than I would have ever thought. Since a logo identifies who made something, normally and especially in the earlier days before store branding, I would have thought its use would have died out as a redundant word. I can grasp the need early on when so many tools were apprentice/shop made for their use and stamped with the craftsman's name to mark ownership.
    Anyone else have a modern'ish "Makers" on their logo?

    Eric,

    Waiting to see pictures!


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    Default Pictures

    Here are a couple of pictures taken after cleaning with Scotchbrite and elbow grease. In addition to the "J.R. Brown & Sharpe Providence R.I." markings, I also discovered what may have been a previous owner's mark: "G.M.S. Sanborn". Also, I was interested in seeing how "square" this square is. Using a CMM, I measured the angle of the blade to the crosspiece, and the result was 90.02 degrees. Not too bad for "old school" tools!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails hpim5100b.jpg   hpim5106b.jpg  

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    That is what is known as a Ames Patent center square, patented in 1852 it was first made by Gavin Holiday and then Brown & Sharpe started producing them a few years later so this would date from about 1860 to 1866.... in other words Civil War era......

    how long is it? Holiday's was I think 6, 9 and 12".... I have a 9"....... later they made in 4" (the rarest size) 6, 10, 12"...... I can't remember if there was an 8".... AntMac?

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    The graduated portion of the blade is 8" long. Both edges have graduations on them. On one edge, the first inch is graduated in 1/48ths, and the remainder is in 1/12ths. (I've NEVER seen a machinist's scale graduated with those increments.) On the other edge, the first inch is in 1/32nds, and the remainder is in 1/16ths.

    Thank you so much for all the information you've given so far!

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    About the Ames Patent square Rivett asked: "I can't remember if there was an 8".... AntMac?"

    Yep, the sizes were 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 inch. That refers to the blade length. The length of the heads were 3, 4, 5.5, 7 and 8.75 inches respectively.

    And, I agree with Rivett that the 4 inch size is pretty scarce if not actually rare. But, I bet there aren't too many 12 inch sizes around either.

    And for those that want to know the details, the "Center Square" was patented by Nathan Ames on July 6, 1852 (pat. # 9089). The first indication I have found of it being produced commercially was in an 1855 advertisement by G. Holliday ("Gavin" in Lynn, Mass) in an issue of Scientific American. I have never seen or heard of one marked with an 'Ames' logo.

    It is written that Holliday sold the rights to J. R. Brown & Sharpe in 1856. Since I have seen quite a few "G. Holliday" versions, I can't vouch for that date. Gavin would have had to have been a very prolific maker in that single year!

    One final note - some sources spell Gavin's last name 'Holladay'. My several versions of his center square are clearly logo'ed "G. Holliday Manufacture LYNN".


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    I have seen many more 12" ones than 4"... so I would say the big ones are more common than the little ones....

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    Eric M. - I'm sure you don't need any reminding, but you might want to go easy with the scotchbrite. It cleans by scratching off metal in a sometimes surprisingly aggressive way.

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    I knew that going into this, so that's why I used a little bit of "Fine" Scocthbrite, and a whole lotta elbow grease!



    Thanks again, AntiqueMac and Rivett for all your feedback.

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    Rivett, Regarding the 4 inch versus 12 inch sizes, my experience is just the opposite of yours. I have 3 different 4 inch versions and have sold another. And I have seen many more. But I have only seen a couple of 12 inch ones. On eBay, I have tracked several 4 inch sizes over the years, but have yet to notice a 12 inch size.

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    Default Ames and DB&S center squares

    Another plus for this forum...getting off the couch to clean (lightly) some otherwise neglected tools. Here's a 6" DB&S and a 10" Ames Patent/G.Holliday.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails p1000167_1.jpg   p1000169_1.jpg  

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    If you simply wish to make stampings more visible thru brown patina, just us one half of a wooden spring clothespin.

    Very gentle and it will do the job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AntiqueMac View Post
    Not enough wine Rivett! Your memory is correct.

    To be specific, Joseph Rogers Brown took Lucian Sharpe as his partner in 1853.
    In 1866 they teamed with Samuel Darling of Bangor Maine to to form Darling Brown & Sharpe as the name for their precision small tool line - not machinery.
    In 1868 the J R Brown & Sharpe machinery line was reorganized to Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co.
    In 1892, Samuel Darling's widow was bought out, his name dropped and Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co was the only name used throughout the entire line.

    This thread gives me the opportunity to hear from those on this forum about the following:

    What was JR's first logo?

    I believe it is Rivett who has a vernier caliper in bronze marked "JOS R BROWN" followed by what is likely "MAKER".
    I have about a dozen items marked "J. R. Brown & Sharpe" that are 1850 to 1853 or a little later.
    I have one tool (somewhere???) marked "Joseph R. Brown & Sharpe".
    And I have one tool (a center drill gage) marked " Joseph R. Brown & Sharpe Makers".

    I'm guessing:

    1. "JOS R BROWN" is the first logo,
    2. "Joseph R. Brown & Sharpe Makers" is the second,
    3. "Joseph R. Brown & Sharpe " is the third followed by
    4. "J. R. Brown & Sharpe", then
    5. "Darling Brown & Sharpe",
    6. "Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co." and so on.

    Anyone have a study? Anyone have other logos? How about a different time line?

    And here is a little more to pique discussion. Before JR went on his own when his father left the family business in 1841, there first was the "David Brown" logo of his father (Clocks) prior to 1833 and then "D. Brown & Son" in 1833.
    In 1850 J. R. invented his famous linear dividing engine and started his new machinist (wasn't it called "mechanics" tools then?) company we've been discussing above.
    In 1851 he created the vernier caliper mentioned earlier.
    It is written that Lucien Sharpe was Brown's apprentice for 5 years, so it must be that Sharpe stared with Brown in 1848 presumably under the name D. Brown & Son.

    Please correct and add information!!

    Are you neglecting D&B of Bangor, Me ?

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    At the time these things were written almost nothing was known about D & B and very few examples were known.

    I like your avatar!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rivett608 View Post
    At the time these things were written almost nothing was known about D & B and very few examples were known.

    I like your avatar!
    Not much has changed, but for a concern that was in business for months rather than years, the good people that have researched the origins had done a remarkable job. Who was it, anyways ? Might as well give them another shot of well-deserved praise.

    Martin Donnelly was the first (at least in my experience), to publicize the existence and value of these to the general Tool Public. I know I bought mine prior to that, because I sure did not experience a WOO-HOO moment when I acquired it. Which was God-Knows-When.

    No, I kept meticulous records, and would have been able to tell you, but for a Hard Drive crash. Still have that Hard Drive - probably with Windows 95 on it. It is in one of my FIVE enormous Storage Units. But don't anyone get their hopes up that they might be packed with wonderful Tools. They are packed, as I have just admitted to, with old broken crap I should have dumped years ago.

    And thanks for the kudos on my Avatar. I've been wracking my brain over one; other members have all the really cool ones taken. And posting an Avatar of an item you do not own is not my style - though there is in no way anything wrong with doing so.

    I wasted an hour with the Steel Rule on my scanner - all really awful pics. Finally succeeded with an old Digital Camera.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rivett608 View Post
    At the time these things were written almost nothing was known about D & B and very few examples were known.

    I like your avatar!
    I like yours, too.

    I am assuming it is of three ship models you have created from scratch, in ever decreasing scale?

    Many of us have long been searching for a family of elves like those you have clearly enslaved to build such masterpieces, but you have Wizard Skills few others possess.


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