Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Vanished Tool Makers: P.S. Stubbs, Warrington, Lancashire, England

Somewhere I picked up this old pair of duckbill pliers made by P.S. Stubbs.  Peter Stubbs started making files in 1777, but a year later bought the White Bear Inn where he acted as innkeeper, brewer and malt maker.  In 1803, he left inn-keeping to focus on the tool business, particularly file-making.  

After his death in 1806, his sons carried on.  The company remained family-owned until the 1960's when it was purchased by James Neill Holdings Limited.  The name was used as one of their file brands (along with John Bedford & Sons), but is no longer offered by their successor, Spear & Jackson.

For more information, visit the Davistown Museum.

Graces Guide to British Industry


Graham Clayton said...

When did the name change from "Stubbs" to "Stubs"?

Mister G said...

Good question! Someone will know...

Larry & Erica Beattie said...

Interestingly, I just discovered a box of 12 files with clear cover molded with PSStubs.
The orange end cap has a paper label "Stubs 12 only" "Needle Files Assorted" "16 CM.cut 2".
A larger label seems to have been applied across the body of the kit with "Tools from NEILL" and other tags "Eclipse" "B??Tool" "Moore Wright" "Stubs" "Elliott Lucas".
The foam anti-rattle/packing slug is deteriorated.
This is going to come in handy for 3D printing and finishing.

Mister G said...

Nice to find good tools! With a plastic cover and foam packaging the pack must be fairly recent- maybe 70s-80s?

Larry & Erica Beattie said...

It must have been sometime in the early 80's or so that these may have been purchased in the area of Washington or British Columbia. My father was quite a collector back then and yard sales or frequent trips to the US to model shows netted him a large assortment of small hobbyist tools. Was always on the look out for unique items.

Mister G said...

Thanks for the story! I'm sure you'll find them to be much higher quality that what you can buy today... and it's nice that these tools are still useful with modern technology like 3D prints. Chisels, files, drills etc are still needed in printing prototypes.