T to Z
R TIMMINS & SONS were makers of heavy steel 'toys' - toy in this context means any small metal object, including hand tools. The company, founded in 1790 by Richard Timmins, was situated in Hurst St, and later in Pershore Street, Birmingham. In 1889 they were taken over by another Birmingham maker, W & C Wynn of Suffolk Street (also listed as edge tool makers) and who moved to Commercial Street in 1872. For a few years both companies continued to operate under their original names. In 1892 they were incorporated as Wynn, Timmins & Co, and in 1897 the premises in Commercial St were renamed Century Works. The company survived until 1969, when they were taken over by Balfour Dawins Ltd of Sheffield, and the works in Birmingham closed*.
This double edged billhook has a tubular handle, possibly the socket for a wooden handle, but the absence of a hole for a fixing screw or rivet implies that it may have been intended to be the handle (as found on billhooks from, or exported to, some other countries). It is also marked with three circular stamps.
* Thanks to Jane Rees, and Grace's Guide for supplying information on the two companies.
WARD & PAYNE (late David Ward & Co) were founded in Sheffield in 1803. An advertisement from 1851 shows them as manufacturers of files, steel, engravers & joiners tools etc. In 1926 they became a private company, and in 1961 are listed as having 200 employees. Billhooks bearing the W&P and anvil logo are not uncommon.
WILLIS - Alfred Willis was the blacksmith at Bramley in Hants and marked his tools as such. He specialised in making billhooks from old farriers' rasps - like the one marked AB above, the teeth marks of the rasp still show, and so demonstrate the level of skill required to thin the blade and bend it to shape without resorting to cropping and grinding... This one from MERL collection at Reading... I am still looking for one....
YATES - John Yates of the Edge Tool and Plantation Hoe Works Birmingham, also later part of EVA Industries - situated near Martindales' Works and now believed to be a tradename owned by them (see also the Chillington Hoe Company)