Monday, May 28, 2018

Vanished Tool Makers: E Westman, Butcher Saws and Tools, Toronto, Ontario

Another guest post from Mic;
When I was gearing up for my first hunting season (whitetail deer) my dad told me he had an old meat saw for cutting the carcass in half if I should be fortunate enough to get one on my first time out. Dad wasn’t a hunter, so I have no idea how he came to possess a meat saw. Lady luck did favour me that year (a handsome buck just over 205 lb on a sunny Thursday morning), but when I examined the century old meat saw with its wooden handle and steel (now somewhat corroded) construction, I decided to opt for a more modern stainless steel meat saw instead. The old saw was certainly well built though, and a closer examination of it showed that it had been forged in Toronto, Ontario by E Westman. A stamp of what appears to be a horse shoe with either A1 or AI appears on the frame of the saw. This frame holds a 24 inch blade. The date of manufacture is not listed.

Elijah Westman was born in 1837 in Ireland (County Laois). He came to Canada with his family, including brothers Samuel, William, Joseph and James. He ran a 19th century manufacturing shop (butcher saws and tools) at 177 King St. East, Toronto

In 1885, E. Westman was recorded to have 6 employees. Eventually the business ended up moving to 65 James St., Toronto (listed address from a Toronto business directory in 1900). Besides running his business, Elijah served as a school trustee for the city. He died on Nov. 1, 1906 in Toronto. His spouse, Margaret Plunkett Westman, died shortly after on Dec. 30, 1906. They had 6 children (Samuel, Clara, Henry, Elijah, Charles, Albert) during their marriage although Albert died at the age of 12 in 1892. There is no record to be readily found indicating what happened to the business after Elijah passed away. If you know more than what I have found, please post a comment. Thanks, Mic

1 comment:

robpaul said...

I have a meatsaw with a 19" blade, stamped "E Westman, Maker, Toronto", but this is an over-stamp on top of the original "J Flint, St Catherines, warranted". [J Flint operated his saw works in St Catharines 1855-1870 when he sold the business to R H Smith who continued saw production there, initially (I think) under the Flint name, (for maybe up to 10yrs) before switching to his own name ] It appears that Westman used some parts, or maybe re-branded complete saws, from the St Catharines Saw Works, at least for some of his products