Three circular saw blades

Made:
1758-1773 in United Kingdom
circular saws for violin manufacture, 3 of.  Front view of whole object against graduated grey background. circular saws for violin manufacture, 3 of.  Front detail view of object in gloved hand against blue background. circular saws for violin manufacture, 3 of.  Front detail view of object against blue background.

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circular saws for violin manufacture, 3 of. Front view of whole object against graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

circular saws for violin manufacture, 3 of. Front detail view of object in gloved hand against blue background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

circular saws for violin manufacture, 3 of. Front detail view of object against blue background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Three circular saw blades, 2⅛”, 2⅞”, 3” diameter, two with key-way slots to the spindle slots, and one with a more pronounced saw teeth set, unsigned, United Kingdom, 1758-1773

James Watt eventually employed 16 people to run a shop in Glasgow making numerous items. In spite of saying that music was ‘the source of idleness’, he built musical instruments for sale, including flutes, an organ and a guitar for the wife of one of his early business partners, John Roebuck. In so doing, he introduced many innovations in making production quicker and cheaper. These three circular saw blades, used in violin-making, are possibly the earliest known examples of this now widely used cutting tool. They survived in Watt's workshop, left untouched upon Watt's death in 1819, and acquired in its entirety by the Science Museum in 1924.

Details

Category:
James Watt's Garret Workshop
Object Number:
1924-792/551
Measurements:
small: 2 mm 54 mm, .3kg
large: .5 mm 75 mm, .2kg
medium: 1 mm 73 mm, .4kg
type:
circular saw blades
credit:
Major J.M. Gibson-Watt