H to M
HALE BROS also stamped 1916, this is a thick nose military billhook made during WW1 for use by soldiers in Flanders and to cut saplings to make fascines and hurdles for revetments to support trench walls. Hale Brothers were located at Moorfield Works in Sheffield, and made a wide range of carpenters'tools. Their corporate mark, a Horse's Head, was granted in 1842 - they were still making tools in the mid 1930's. In 1975, the firm (or their name) was part of the Kutritre Group.
HELSON - Thomas Helson (Snr) was born in 1782 and worked at the Iron Mills in Dunsford Devon - he was retired in 1851 and his son Thomas (Jnr), born 1816 ran the business, employing at least four other edge tool makers. In the 1851 Census he is shown as having a son, John, then six years old, who presumably suceeded him. Alec Morris's father moved from Gilpins to work there approx 1930 and took over the business a few years later.
HOWARTH JAMES (later Howarth and Sons) - better known for axes and carpenters' tools, this billhook is unusual in its shape and its strapped handle. It is almost like a single bladed Yorkshire pattern, if such a thing was ever made.... Howarth was born in 1811 into a family of edge tool makers. He was in partnership with Henry Taylor from 1834 to 1842, but started on his own shortly thereafter. His sons ran the business after his death. The firm closed in 1913, and Robert Sorby & Sons later acquired the trademark in 1922.
IBBOTSON THOMAS - There was a Thomas Ibbotson & Co making edge tools at Whitechapel in Liverpool from about 1841 to 1900. This one is also stamped Sheffield: the company started in Charles Street in 1823, moved to Paternoster Row in 1825 and were taken over by William Marples in 1909. Marples continued to use the name well into the 20th century. I do not know if the Liverpool firm had any connection to the Sheffield one: possibly not as the 1859 London Gazette entry announcing the dissolving of the partnership of Thomas senior, and Thomas the younger and William only mentions Sheffield. This hook appear to be a Westmoreland pattern.
JACKSON - Cirencester was the centre of edge tool making in Gloucestershire, with several edge tool makers and cutlers operating there until the late 19th century. The last was J H Jackson, who also had an ironmongers shop at 22 Cricklade Street, with examples of his tools hanging from the wall above the windows. The image is of a socket handled Cheltenham pattern. Jackson is the only edge tool maker listed in the 1889 Kelly's Directory. There is a stream that runs through the town, but it is likely all the forges were hand forges, not using water power. The ironmonger's shop closed about 1970.
KILLICK - the Killick Family from Barnes Green, Itchingfield were blacksmiths and edge tool makers. Silas Killick (1852 - 1915) is best known for his billhooks. More information on Kent and Sussex makers can be found on the site of Ian Swain. This example was bought in March 2014.
LODER - Frederick George Loder was working in 1923 and 1930 at the Holbeam Works situated on the river Lemon at West Ogwell in Devon. His father, John, ran the forge before him and is listed in the 1891 census. A John Loder (possible relative) was listed in 1851 as the head blacksmith in Dunsford, then the site of the Helson edge tool works (which later became Morris of Dunsford). The village had a hand forge making tools from the late 18th century until 1830, when the cornmill was converted into a hammer works with two trip hammers powered by the water wheel. When the works closed the hammers were removed to the Science Museum in London for preservation.
MARSDEN BROTHERS George and Robert Marsden are probably best known as suppliers of ice skates to Queen Victoria. Situated at Bridge Street Works, in Sheffield, they claimed to have a history dating back to 1696, but I suspect this is through the acquistion of older firms, rather than actual fact. In 1839 Joseph Fenton and George Marsden joined together to form Fenton & Marsden, late W Stanley. Circa 1846 Silverwood formed a partnership with Fenton & Marsden, and between 1852 and 1856 the Marsdens bought out Silverwood, re-naming the firm Marsden Brothers (I suspect the earlier Marsden, in partnership with Fenton, and later Silverwood, was their father). In the early 20th century the firm was bought out by John Wilson. who soon after were adsorbed into Robert Sorby. This rather nice No1 gentleman's hook appeared on ebay in June 2014, sadly too expensive to add to my collection.
MATHEISON Alexander Matheison originally of Saracen Lane, Glasgow are better known for their carpenter's tools, especially their chisels and planes. The company was in business from 1822 to 1966, moving to new premises, the Saracen Works in East Campbell Street in 1854. They became a dormant subsidary of Record Ridgeway Tools Ltd (Sheffield) in 1957. This double edged billhook, possibly the Glasgow pattern, sold on eBay in May 2014 is fitted with an octagonal boxwood chisel handle. Possibly original, it is more likely to have been rehandled by someone who thought the chisel handle was more typical of Matheison's tools...