Hand Tools Archive

Re: Washita stone aquisitions & questions...

david weaver
By the way, the first stone could be older than I think. I've never seen that label before and don't know when Pike really had commercial presence large enough to have a nice label like that and a more standard size stone. The older stones are, the thicker they seem to be (1 1/8" stones are thicker than the more recent offerings). The sperm oil reference probably makes it older, too, but that may have followed on for a while after kerosene and distillates were available. Not surprisingly, I'd guess that was on the back to prevent dummies from using linseed oil or other oils that would dry to sharpen cheaply. I did see in old shaving catalogs that the original pike washita stones of lilywhite type would've been a large percentage of a craftsman's wage (they were about $2 at the turn of the century). Soft arks were about half as much, and many of the original silicon carbide stones were close in price to the washita (yuck!).

I did a little quick looking and there's not a lot out there - dating more exactly it would require finding labels in catalogs.

Anything before 1932 won't have norton on it anywhere as that was the year norton purchased pike. A reference in a norton article says that pike itself started in 1823 making scythe stones. And washita stones would've made great scythe stones, for sure.

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