A to G
BUCKLAND - Netheravon is a small village on the river Avon in the centre of Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. For a village of its size it had an abundance of blacksmiths and edge tool makers. James Buckland employed several men making edge tools, the Sheppard family were blacksmiths, also employing a number of men. Sheppard sons took over many village smithies elsewhere in Wiltshire. The Buckland family appear to have disappeared from the Census at the end of the 19th century - Sheppard took over the business, and later tools have the Sheppard stamp plus the original Netheravon stamp used by Buckland. I have two Buckland billhooks, and one hoe by Sheppard.
CALDWELLS - the only billhooks I have seen by this company are nasty modern stamped ones with cross rivetted handles, but the company The Stockton Heath Forge was founded in 1770 in Warrington, and the Caldwell family have been involved since the early 20th century, or even earlier. When I spoke to Mr Caldwell Sr in the 1970's he was fiercely proud of the company's heritage, so I will not insult his memory by putting an image of a modern tool on this site, and wait until I obtain an example of an old one.... Interestingly, the Stockton Heath Forge stamp apppears on the board of stamps I obtained from Morris in Devon in the 1980's, so Morris made some of their tools.
CARTER Charles of Kirkburton - near Huddersfield in Yorkshire, the Carters were edge tool makers in both High Burton and nearby Kirkburton. Established in 1740 by Jeremiah Carter in High Burton: the 1834 Piggots directory list three edge tool makers at Kirk Burton: Henry Carter, John Carter and Robert Carter. This is a well used Yorkshire pattern.
CARTER - Richard Carter Ltd is still making edge tools, including billhooks, in Honley, near Huddersfield. By 1870 the company was known by its current name. The No 2 Yorkshire billhook shown is stamped RICHARD CARTER, KIRK BURTON and has a stamp with IC in a heart (which is probably the original stamp of John Carter).
COCKERILL - John Cockerill was an English entrepreneur that established businesses in Belgium in the early 1800's, notably his works at Seraing near Liege, c 1817. He traded throughout Europe into Russia, and died after a business trip to Warsaw in 1840. Although an established steel maker, he was also a main importer of tool steel from Spear and Jackson in Sheffield. A John Cockerill Shovel in the Stonehill collection is stamped with Aetna Works, Sheffield (which was in Savile Street, and also the home of S&J from 1837). It is probable that Cockerill is a brand name created by S&J in honour of one of their most important customers, possibly to aid their joint sales in Europe. At one time in the 20th century, they produced hand-saws with the John Cockerill brand name on them, below the S&J logo.
FINCH - the Finch Foundry in Sticklepath operated from to 1814 to1960. After closure it was saved from demolition by the efforts of Bob Barron, who founded the Finch Foundry Trust in 1966. The site is now in the care of theNational Trust. From 1814 the firm operated as William Finch, and from about 1835 as Finch & Sons (at the time of the 1851 Census, William, his five sons, and his grandson all worked there). After William's death in 1862, the firm was known as Isaac & John Finch. When Isaac died in 1873 it became John Finch, and after his death his wife, Emlin, ran the business in her name until 1882. From 1883 to 1885 it was run by their son George, and after his premature death by his widow Rebecca. She died in 1891, and the firm was run jointly by her sons, and became known as Finch Brothers until the last of the brothers, Albany George, died in 1945. It then became Finch Brothers Ltd until closure in 1960.
GREAVES ISAAC - were listed in Piggots Directory in 1829. When I visited Sheffield in the 1970's Lambert Forgings still had hundreds of their original tools in their backroom, having just bought up some original stock. They also has tools by William Greaves of Sheaf Works, better known for their Electro Boracic Steel coopers' and carpenters' tools.
GREAVES WILLIAM - also stamped Borax Works, Sheffield and Electro Boracic Steel, with a number 8 near the socket. On the reverse of the blade it is stamped SECCO. The blade shape appears to be similar to those found in South America, as is the large diameter round (parallel) socket, and may well be intended for export. Secco may be the model code: manufacturers often used a word code for export tools so that non-English speakers could order the correct tool.