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J.A. Fay & Co. Scroll Saw

This large scroll saw, known as a "full sweep" saw, has the upper blade guide suspended from the ceiling. J.A. Fay & Co. was one of the largest makers of woodworking machines in the second half of the 19 century. and continued into the 20th C. as J.A. Fay and Egan, after a merger with the Egan Co., also of Cincinnati. The saw is in good working condition. The original paint is faded much more than the flash photos suggest. The only damage is a broken corner of the flange at the bottom of the base, including a bolt hole. As heavy as this machine is, bolting down three of the four corners works just fine. The table, column and base can be easily separated for transporting.

rear view The massive table measures 32" wide by 38" deep.

the suspended upper blade guide The shaped post mortised into the top plank and the rear brace are all original. I added the two 2x4 side braces to reach my high ceiling. The top plank should be mounted around 102 inches from the floor.

right side view.

left side view. Very faint lettering on the column reads "Reissued Aug 25, 1863".

A cast iron plate with patent dates is affixed to both sides of the machine

front view The tray under the left side of the table holds spare blades.

The octagonal saw stock with patented oiler mounted between the adjustable bearings

The fast and loose pulleys The belt shifter can be used only when the machine is belted through the floor

The upper blade guide mechanism is fully adjustable to align with the blade.

The patented blade guide and adjustable foot side view

The adjustable hardened steel blade guide and brass foot.

The front left corner of the base is broken.This is the only damage I have found. All bearings and the blade guide mechanism work fine and show little wear. The iron strap is part of the belt shifter

the oiling mechanism is packed with cotton waste

The access cover lifts off to oil the pitman bearing.

The access cover removed to reveal the flywheel and allow access to oil the adjustable bronze bearing on the pitman end.

the small blower The blower bearings are fine.

cutting wood

An illustration of this saw in the 1880 book, Grimshaw on Saws, Robert Grimshaw. Note the decorative circular cast iron plate on the side of the column, the flat belt driven blower, the painted patent reissue lettering on the upper part of the column, the iron mounting for the upper blade guide, and the 3 suspension rods. These features change in various cuts of this machine. The "Old Woodworking Machines" site has this broadside, showing the saw with an all wood upper post as in this machine, but a different looking blower. Incidentally, if you haven't found the OWWM site yet, check it out. They have accumulated an amazing amount of info on 19th C. woodworking machines, including histories and lots of photos and reprints. The next time I find myself in a motel room with a high speed internet connection, I plan to spend the entire night exploring their site.

The following five patents for this machine were granted to John Richards, of Columbus, Ohio.

Patent No. 35390 – May 27, 1862 - Improved Guide and Support for Scroll Saws
The upper blade guide is adjustable in width of its groove to fit the thickness of the blade. It also slides up and down to accommodate the thickness of the wood being sawn and is provided with a presser foot. The blade is not strained in this arrangement.

Patent No. 35391 – May 27, 1862 – Improved Scroll Saw Stock
The tubular (octagonal) saw stock with blade attachment.

Patent No. 35392 – May 27. 1862 – Improvement in Scroll-Saw Mills
This patent basically covers the combination of the above guide and stock in one machine.

Patent No. 36729 – October 21, 1862 – Improvement in Lubricators for Scroll-Saw Stocks
A tubular octagonal lubricating device mounted between the two bearings of the scroll saw stock.

Patent Reissue No. 1527 – August 25, 1863 – This is a reissue of No. 35390. The method of guiding an unstrained blade is further explained.

John Richards went to work in Cincinnati, for J.A. Fay Co. around 1866, and several years later moved to Philadelphia, to manufacture woodworking machinery under the name, Richards, London & Kelley. He also is the author of an 1872 book of great value to students of the history of wood working machinery – A Treatise on The Construction and Operation of Wood-Working Machines. This book is available online at Google books, if you have broadband (I don’t), and well worth the download time.

Richards mentions in the above book that this saw was introduced in 1865, under his patents, and that over 1000 had been built (by 1872).

Price: SOLD
This item can be safely stored until your next trip to Maryland

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Contact: Richard Van Vleck - Email: richard@americanartifacts.com

© 2009, American Artifacts, Taneytown, Maryland.