Early foot shears
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  1. #1
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    Default Early foot shears

    Today I attended the Cabin Fever Expo in Lebanon Pa. and bid on a really interesting very small ornate foot shear.. I have to say it was the smallest most interesting of any foot shears that I have ever seen ...I tried like hell to win it but someone seemed to want it more. I wish I would have taken some pictures of the shear...there was no makers tag and I'm really not sure the age but I am almost certain from the castings and style that it would be from the 1800's..it got me wondering more about who was making small foot shears back in the 19th century and does anyone have any pics they would like to share of one they may have in their collection?

  2. #2
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    many years ago when I first started in the used machinery business there was allot of really old machinery still in use. It was normal to see lots of 1880s stuff that was in use and original to the building they were in. Utica and down the Mohawk valley was a boom area back then, tens of millions and millions of square feet of brick buildings were built in a short amount of time. I marvel at the shear number of bricks that were made, moved and laid in the 100 miles between Rome and ALbany. These towns still have lots of these big buildings but the majority have been torn down, so picture the erie canal almost continuously lined with factories for 100 miles.
    anyways, I remember several small foot shears like you are describing, with bases that look like treadle sewing machines. a couple were in old printing shops and might of been 20 inches wide, maybe smaller, so they may of been used for printing, but not sure how since both those shops were letterpress iirc.
    anyways, I have the impression that there were many small makers of small machines like that and they did not brand them because that type of item was branded and sold by local supply houses. I used to have a early 1900s Syracuse Supply catalog and products were described as their own brands.
    BTW, My Girlfriend's Grand Father was Syracuse Supply's machine tool salesman in the 30s and probably was the salesman who sold the first Bridgeport Mill.
    Last edited by surplusjohn; 01-13-2018 at 08:43 AM.

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  4. #3
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    I agree with John- there were dozens of small manufacturers making cast iron shears, brakes, sheet metal equipment, and small manual ironworkers and punches, and many did not bother to brand the tools. I have a couple of shelves of old catalogs, most from local industrial suppliers all over the country, and from 1900 to 1940 or so, they all featured unbranded small scale cast iron machinery like this. Once in a while, a brand was so well known they would use it nationally, but most big towns had a two or more big distributors, who put their own name on everything from anvils to lathes.

  5. #4
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    Ries, I used to have an extensive library like yours and enjoyed looking at prices and how things changed. One thing I used old catalogs for was for establishing indexes for appraisals. Sometimes you had to show how a cost and a value changed in relation to inflation. IE inflation is no consistant for everything. a cast iron products cost and value have changed very differently from a plastic products


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