Cincinnati-Made Riding Saw Turns Up in Australia
Posted On: 04/28/2017 - 11:54am, Posted By: Scott Gampfer, Associate Vice President for Collections & Preservation
Some years ago, the reference staff at the Cincinnati History Library and Archives received an inquiry from a museum in Queensland, Australia about an unusual riding saw that was manufactured in Cincinnati in the 1880s.
The Farmer’s Manufacturing Company of Cincinnati was one of several 19th century manufacturers that made man-powered machines for sawing logs. This company’s device was called “The Giant Riding Saw Machine.” The company was listed in the Cincinnati city directories in the 1880s. The 1883 directory entry states that Farmer’s was “Manufacturer and Proprietor of the Giant Riding Saw Machine” and its factory and offices were located at 150 W. 8th Street.
Companies such as the Farmer’s Manufacturing Company, sought agents for the sale of their goods in countries as distant as Australia. Brennan & Geraghty, an Australian business located in Mayborough in South Queensland, imported one of the “Giant Riding Saw Machines.” Mayborough was a major timber town, so such a machine if successful could have proven very useful.
Period advertising stated that the machine, “is warranted to saw a 2 foot log in three minutes…” With the frame of the saw secured to a log, the operator sat on the seat, pushed with his feet while using his hands to pull the handle. The resulting forward and backward motion of the blade then cut through the log. In actual practice however, the machine proved to be virtually useless on the hardwoods common to the Mayborough area. Instead of disposing of the machine, Brennan & Geraghty simply put it in storage.
In 1975 the National Trust of Queensland purchased the Brennan & Geraghty Store complete with trading stock, ledgers, invoices and advertising material dating from the 1870s through the 1970s. The “Giant Riding Saw Machine” was among the contents of the store when acquired. The store and its contents were preserved and later opened to the public as a museum.
The reference staff was able to provide many interesting details about the Farmer’s Manufacturing Company, along with copies of advertisements for the riding saw, to the staff of the Brennan & Geraghty Store in Mayborough.