Compact 1874 Handsaw

Compact 1874 Handsaw

Compact 1874 Handsaw etch
Compact 1874 Handsaw ad

Compact 1874 saw handle

According to advertising, the Compact 1874 full-sized toolbox handsaw was designed in that year by Henry Disston. He must have been in a creative frame of mind, because this was the same era Disston and his staff designed the skewback handsaw, the ACME handsaw, and the refined handle with the lamb's tongue shape found on No. 7 and 8 handsaws. On a larger scale, Disston also was developing the planned community of Tacony to house his factory and its workers.

The Compact 1874 Handsaw was designed to fit into a carpenter's traveling toolbox. Full-sized handsaws were too long to fit inside most toolboxes, so shorter panel saws were often used instead. The 1874's handle sits so far into the blade that the overall length of the saw is four inches shorter than other full-sized saws. A look at the narrow width between the handle and the teeth under it should give you the impression that those teeth are not going to get much use if you cut a board more than a couple of inches wide. The handle interferes. The result is the saw doesn't get much more length into its stroke than a 22" panel saw, something that would cost less and had fit in the carpenter's toolbox all along.

The saw appears in some 1918 catalogs, but not the 1918 catalog that is widely reprinted. That catalog has a 1918 date on it, but a closer look at the copyright page shows the catalog is really a 1923 edition of the earlier catalog. The facsimile below is from one of the earlier 1918 catalogs. All of which is to say the Compact 1874 Handsaw was discontinued between 1918 and 1923. The saw is not in the 1914 catalog either, so the production time for this model was brief. The Compact 1874 was priced the same as a 26" D-8 saw, $22.50 per dozen wholesale in 1918.

The compact saw seems to have been offered for sale at two points in the company's history, the mid-1870's (but not shown in the 1876 reprinted catalog) and the mid-1910's. I suspect it was put on the market twice and failed to sell both times. That said, it is an interesting saw.

Compact 1874 handsaw
Compact 1874 saw blade sans handle
Slit top of handle

Information taken from Disston 1918 catalog:

1918 catalog illustration

The above is an evolution of the Compact Saw originated by Henry Disston in 1874.
The "let in" or close-up handle allows full sweep of the blade, reduces the length over all,
occupying small space in the kit. Same quality as D8. Apple Handle.
Length, over all, 26 inches..........................$22.50 per dozen


######### [BACK HOME] #########