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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Moore Brothers, Jamestown, New York

Moore Brothers ad, 1911
Moore Brothers was a manufacturer of hand saws, files, and auger bits, located in Jamestown, New York. According to their advertising, the business began in 1868. Fred Dalson Moore (1853-1928) and his son Fred D. Moore Jr. (1886-?) and grandson Fred D. Moore III (1910-1960) ran the business. Fred Dalson Moore patented a file for sharpening auger bits, 1 June 1886, US Patent 343136. Moore Brothers advertised their files frequently in trade publications from 1911 to 1914. A 1914 article in Building Age described their output:

Some interesting information relative to the leading lines of saws and files made by Moore Brothers Jamestown NY is contained in a 44 page catalogue which is being distributed among the trade. Special attention is called to the makers XX hand edge taper files which are made from the highest grade of steel and produced on machines operated by practical file makers. Special stress is laid upon the durability of these files and to the satisfaction which they give wherever introduced. The greater portion of the catalogue is devoted to the various lines of saws turned out by Moore Brothers who have had 46 years [1868] experience as saw and file makers. In connection with the various illustrations is brief descriptive matter together with sizes prices etc. Not the least interesting feature of the catalogue are the testimonial letters from some of the many who have handled and used saws and files of this concern, the list representing a wide range of territory.
Picture by Gary S.
Moore also used the name Empire State Saw & File Works in 1902, and used XX as a brand name for files and saws, as well as Empire State for saws. The etchings on Moore's hand saws were unusually informative, with one reading (commas added): Made from Jessop and Sons English Steel, Patent Ground, Furnace Bottom Temper, Double Extra London Spring Steel Warranted. Although usually referred to as Moore Brothers, the 1928 Jamestown city directory called them Moore Brothers Saw, File & Tool Corp. At some time between 1939 and 1942 manufacturing ceased and the name went back to simply Moore Brothers, with the business described as wholesale hardware dealers in 1942. Moore Brothers Catalog No. 36 is on Archive.org.

Moore Brothers was on the far side of Broadhead's Mills
Moore Brothers’ works was on East 1st Street, which has several surviving brick factory buildings but which has not been photographed by Google Street View. The addresses changed from 11-13 E. 1st (1901), 195 E. 1st Street (1932), 116 E. 1st St. (1936), and 118 E. 1st St. (1942). It’s possible that More rented space or was in the same building but the street was renumbered, common in the early 20th century. The works was next to the small Chadakoin River, and on the opposite bank was the well-known Crescent Tool factory.
Moore Brothers ad, 1914

Moore Brothers auger bit file


  1. I just bought a Moore Bros. two-man crosscut felling saw, NOS from an antique tool dealer. It's 6' long, and clearly never been used. It has Atkins handles; I read a Sawmill Creek forum post (with no authenticating references) that stated that Atkins (a major lumbering saw maker in Indianapolis) bought out Moore Bros. at some point. Jamestown NY is just 2 hours from where I live; a nice find!

    1. Hi Brad, I'd love to see that saw, if you'd be willing to share pictures! my email is willlisak@gmail.com