The other day one of our local “tool hounds” brought me a bunch of tools, one of which interested my eye. This was a small (I mean really small) back saw that had a blade with an edge length of only 4 ½ inches, with a blade depth of just 7/8 of an inch. The saw has an apple handle that is missing the front horn on the bottom of the handle (and also has a hang hole bored in the middle of the handle). But the handle is obviously an open one, and the upper horn is full length, with no cracks. The spine of the diminutive blade has the standard Henry Disston & Sons stamp, with a “Philad'a” mark. The front of the mark reaches to within ¾ of an inch of the front of the spine. The spine, however, has not been cut back at the front, and is clearly on a blade that was no longer than perhaps 6 inches. It was attached to the blade with two screws—one an original Disston slotted screw assembly, and a second that was clearly an added screw and nut.
Upon removing the handle from the blade, I discovered two things. First, the original screw assembly utilized the narrow shank screw that was used by Disston until about 1887 when the Glover patent for saw screws came into effect. This suggests that the saw (or at least one of its screws) dates to before 1888