Harvey W. Peace

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I’ve been collecting hand saws manufactured by Harvey W. Peace and the Vulcan Saw Works for several years. This web site is a collection of information I’ve obtained over this period. This web site is a work in progress and is by no means finished. I will update the site as I discover new information. If you have any information on Harvey Peace, have an interesting Peace saw in your collection, or have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at jclark@hyperkitten.com.

Biography of Harvey W. Peace

Harvey W. Peace ca. 1884

Originally published in The Civil, Political, Professional and Ecclesiastical History and Commercial Industrial Record of the County of Kings and the City of Brooklyn, N.Y. From 1683 to 1884. HARVEY W. Peace– Were we called upon to name one among the manufacturers of Brooklyn, who had, in early middle life, won for himself a high and honorable position as a manufacturer, solely by the exercise of industry, enterprise, and the mental abilities which fitted him for being a leader and employer of men, our first thought would be of the name of Mr. Peace, as the most striking exemplar of the success which comes from the exercise of those qualities.

HARVEY W. PEACE was born in Sheffield, England, Aug. 10, 1831. His father and grandfather had both been brought up in the saw business all their lives. When he was yet very young, his parents moved to Dore, in Derbyshire, about six miles from Sheffield, but still retained their connection with the saw-works in Sheffield. Mr. Peace obtained his early education in Dore, but at the age of thirteen began to work, a part of the time, in the same manufactory with his father and grandfather. At the age of eighteen, he was a very skillful saw-grinder. At that time (1849), he came to America with his father and family, the father having received an invitation from Messes. R. Hoe & Co. of New York, to take charge of the saw-grinding in their extensive works. In this establishment, young Peace remained for twelve years (except a trip to Europe, in 1857, for health and recreation). In these twelve Years, he had become a complete master of his business, and with his industry, temper- ate habits, and economy, had been able to save a little capital, to start the business of saw manufacturing for himself. Accordingly. in 1861, he commenced, in a small way, in Center street, New York, taking a younger brother as a partner. Finding their location not a good one, at that time (it was just a t the beginning of the Civil War), they removed, the next year, to Johnstown, Fulton county, New York, where they remained about a year. By this time, business -in some directions, and the manufacture of saws was one of them- had greatly revived, and was much better in the seaports than in the interior. Once more, therefore, they removed, and this time, to what proved a permanent location, to Ainslie street, Brooklyn. At first their quarters here were small and narrow, and proved so inconvenient that they moved to a better location on the same street, in 1867; the times were favorable for the development of an extensive business, and though averse to anything like speculative action, they went forward, “hasting not and resting not,” increasing with each year the quality and the quantity of their saws, till one building was added to another, and one kind of saws to another; and now (with the exception of the file-works of Mr. C. B. Paul, a friend of theirs, and one whose manufacture is an almost indispensable adjunct to their own), they occupy several lots in the block bounded on two sides by Tenth and Ainslie streets. They make every description of saw known to the trades, and for such as require handles or frames, they manufacture these necessary attachments. We have described elsewhere the processes of saw manufacture, the four classes of workmen, the saw- maker, saw-grinders, saw-handlers, and saw-finishers, and it only remains to be said here, that in all this great enterprise, employing a force of more than 200 men, and producing annually nearly a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of goods, Mr. Harvey W. Peace has been the informing and controlling spirit; his judicious and enterprising managements has brought order out of confusion, success out of threatened disaster, and his house has now but two rivals in the United States in the extent of its production, and none in the quality and excellence of its wares. It is well under- stood everywhere, and among all classes of purchasers, that the stamp of ” Harvey W. Peace” on any saw, or case of saws, insures the purchasers that the goods are of the very best possible quality.

In his relations to his fellow manufacturers, Mr. Peace has always been kindly and helpful; often taking large risks, to keep them from disaster, and where they have succumbed to the hardness of the times, furnishing them with employment in his own establishment till they could recover themselves.

In all the relations of civil and social life, Mr. Peace has shown himself a good citizen, a tender and kind husband and father, and a pleasant neighbor, Though not a member of any church, he is a regular attendant on the Methodist church – the church of his parents. In politics he is a decided republican, though never an office-seeker or office- holder. He wields a powerful influence in his ward, but has invariably refused to be a candidate for any public position. In regard to the tariff, he favors a moderate protection of our struggling manufactures, but insists that the duties should be taken off from raw material which cannot be produced here, and reduced on such raw material’ as is equally a product of our own and foreign countries; thus placing us on an equality with foreign manufacturers.

Company History

August 10, 1831 Harvey W. Peace is born in Sheffield, England.

1841 The 1841 Sheffield Census (piece no. 1338/8, folio 10b). lists a William Peace household living on Division Street, Sheffield West. The entry contains William age 30, wife Hannah age 30, “Henry” age 9, and Caroline, age 8. (SheffieldRecordsOnline)

1844 At the age of 13, Harvey Peace begins to work part time with his father and grandfather in their saw manufactory.

1849 Peace family emigrated to America. Harvey’s father starts to work as a saw grinder for Richard Hoe, a tool maker, and later, a printing press manufacturer. Harvey works at the Hoe shop until 1861.

1850 The 1850 Census record from Williamsburg, Kings, New York, includes an entry for the Pease household. Included are Harvey’s Father William (born ca. 1811), age 39, and Mother, Hannah age 39. Harvey was the oldest of eight children, five sons and three daughters.

1860 The 1860 Census records contain an entry for the peace household. Included are Harvey Peace, age 29, his wife Hannah, 20 years old, and their son William, age five months. Harvey and Hannah were married within the year, and their personal estate was valued at $200. Harvey’s occupation is listed as “Polisher”.

1861 Harvey Peace, along with his younger brother, starts a saw making business on Centre Street in New York

1862 After the onset of the Civil War, Peace moved his business upstate to Johnstown NY in Fulton County.

1863 His business increasing, Peace moves his business back to Brooklyn to Ainslie and Keep (Keap) streets, in Brooklyn. During this time Peace organized as the Harvey W. Peace Company.

1867 Peace moves to a better location at Ainslie and 10th street. Peace’s factory would eventually occupy most of the block, sharing room with the file-works of Mr. C. B. Paul, a friend of theirs.

1870 Harvey W. Peace is listed as a “Saw manufacturer” on 10th and Ailslie, Brooklyn, according to The New York state business directory and gazetteer.

August 10,1870 As reported in the Aug. 10 Brooklyn Daily Eagle, at 4 o’clock this morning, the saw factory of Harvey W. Peace was entirely consumed by flames. Damage was reported at $5,000.

Sept. 3, 1871 Fire at The Harvey W. Peace saw factory. As reported by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of Sept 4, 1871:

Fire– or the second time within a few months the saw factory of Mr. Harvey W. Peace in Ainsley Street, near Tenth Street, E. D., was partially destroyed by fire, the presence of which on the premises, was discovered at ten minuted before three o’clock, yesterday morning. All but one of the three buildings were one-story frame structures, two of which were as good as burned up, a few posts of one only remaining in position, while the condition of the other was but little better, and will have to be entirely reconstructed. The fire originated in the tempering shop around one of the f urnaces, and the loss resulting is about $1,500, mainly on stock, which is covered by policies in three city companies, names not ascertained.

1874 The Vulcan Saw Works is listed at Tenth and Ainslie Streets, Harvey Peace , Proprietor. Manufacturing Saws, moulding and planing machines, knives, etc. Employing 80 hands. From ” Wiley’s American iron trade manual of the leading iron industries of the United States”

1876 Around this time it is believed that Peace had a business partner by the name of Hogan. The application for patent number 180,986, which describes an improvement in saw teeth invented by Alfred Boynton, the assignees are are listed as “Peace and Hogan”. The 1884 Peace price list and catalog states that “Hogan and McCargo” are the general agents for the Harvey Peace Company. At least three handsaws with the “Peace and Hogan” mark are also known.

1878 The “Catalog of The Iron Age Library” which contains a list of companies involved in all major areas of manufacturing. This list contains an entry for “Peace and Hogan”

1880 The 1880 United States Census contains an entry for the Harvey PEASE household. The census entry includes Harvey, age 48, occupation Saw Manufacturer, his w ife Hannah, age 40, five sons: William, 25, whose occupation is “Supt. Saw Works”, as well as Harry, 17, Harvey (B.), 11, Charles, 9, John, 2, and two daughters Lydia, 15, and Ann a (perhaps Hannah), 7.

1880 Grimshaw on Saws, published in 1880, includes an advertisement for the Vulcan Saw Works which lists their factories on Union Ave, and Thenth & Ainslie Streets , Brooklny, ED (Eastern District)

Dec 20,1883 In an editorial in the New York Times, Harvey Peace makes a case for the reduction of import tariffs on foreign steel. A reduction would help him compete with the two largest saw manufactures (Disston, and presumably Wheeler, Madison, & Clemson) that produce their own steel. In the editorial Peace claims to be the third largest saw manufacturer in the country, employing 140 men.

1884 At this time The Harvey Peace Company employs more than 200 men and produces nearly $250,000 worth of good per year

1888-1890 The Brooklyn, New York Directory contains an entry for Harvey W. Peace. His occupation is listed as “sawmfr” and his locations are 469 Keap. and 105 Ainsile. Meanwhile, his son William also has an entry in this directory. His occupation is also marked as “sawmkr.” and his location is listed as 49 Ainslie.

1890-1891 The Harvey Peace Company is incorporated into the National Saw Company.

1894 The June 7 issue of “Iron Age” magazine contains this announcement: “Brooke, Mack, and Peace are now manufacturing a line of saws, including circular, milling, band, concave, grooving, resaw, veneer, and segment saws at 479 Keap Street, Brooklyn, NY. They are all practical men, holding positions from superintendent down with Harvey W. Peace Company until that establishment was consolidated with the National Saw Company.” It is assumed that Peace is William Peace, harvey’s son, and former superintendent of the Peace f actory.

1898 The Feb 5, 1898 edition of the Trenton Evening Times has an advertisement for the National Saw Company: E. B. Radcliff, President. J. Franklin, Vice President. Frederick B. Earie, Sec. and Treas. The National Saw Company. Main Office Newark, NJ. Operating Wheeler, Madden, & Clemson Mfg Co., Middletown, NY.; Woodrough & McParlin, Cincinnati, Oh.; Richardson Bros., Newark, NJ; Harvey W. Peace Co., Brooklyn, NY.

1903 Advertisements in Sept-Oct 1903 in the Altoona Mirror, a Pennsylvania newspaper, indicate that Peace saws are still sold: “HARDWARE! A full line of DISSTON AND PEACE Saws.”

1903 Advertisement for the S.M. Reynolds & Co of Davenport Iowa in the Jan 14, 1905 Tri-City Eening Star indicate that the Peace #35 was still being sold. The #35 sold for $1.15.

Sept 21, 1907 Harvey Peace dies at the age of 77 leaving a widow, five sons, and two daughters.

1914 in ” Precise leveling in New York city, by Frederick W. Koop, executed from 1909-1914, a monument to Harvey Peace is mentioned: “The pier containing the bench mark is said to be the base of the Harvey W. Peace monument. It is on the shore between the north side of Little Bay Avenue (Willets Point Road) and the edge of Little Bay, is about 16 feet west of the west side of the White Rock Lake Hotel and 3.7 feet above the ground.”

The Vulcan Saw Works

A history of the Vulcan Saw Works [Vulcan_Saw_Works | can be found here.]

Saw Models

A list of saw models [Peace_Saws | can be found here.]


The Harvey W. Peace Company incorporated a number of patents in their handsaws. Below is a list of known patents with links to the corresponding entries in DATAMP.

Patent Number Brief Description
104,847 Patented by William Hankin, an improvement in saw-frames. A frame saw incorporating this patent was produced by Harvey Peace under the name “Elliptic Saw Frame”. An advertisement for this saw can be seen here.
216,800 Patented adjustable saw with a cast iron handle and blade held in place with a screw. The patentee is William McNiece. I have an example of this saw with a blade marked “Harvey W. Peace”.
]| Adjustable Crosscut Saw Handle
274,708 Patented by H.W. Peace and Alfred Boynton, a new design of crosscut saw teeth featuring alternating clearing and cutting teeth. This may have been the idea behind Boyn ton’s “Lightning Saw”.
280,612 Patented by William H. Hankin, Jr. and Cornelius Tenney. Features a reinforcing plate attached to the underside of the handle. This is probably the most well-known feature of Peace’s “Perfection” saws. It is speculated that Hankin was partnered with Peace, or shared Peace’s Brooklyn factory. Saws bearing William Hankin’s name along with the familiar Peace arm and hammer logo, and the “Vulcan Saw Works” name have been found.
281,447 Patented by Frank A. Buell, July 17, 1883. This patent features a handle specially relieved to fit the hand of a right-handed user. This feature was incorporated into Peace’s top of the line P-68 and P-70 hand saws.
295,385 William Hankin’s patent for a sheet metal handle (all examples found have been made of copper), rivited on to the saw plate. Hankin’s design still called for a wooden grip attached to the sheet metal with screws.
298,115 Interchangeable blade mechanism for a compass saw
311,435 Lords’ Patent for a Metal Saw Handle. Combined with Hankin’s March 18, 1884 patent, these features were found on Peace’s No. 15 handsaw and later on the Disston D-24 Handsaw
re10135 Patented by Emanuel Andrews and produced by Peace in the P45 saw. This is an interesting take on the “let-in” style handle. I have seen only one example of this saw s o far.