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  1. #51
    A_S
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    Some more information about Derbyshire Hones:

    Mr. Farey enumerates 138 stone quarries in Derbyshire, some of which produce an ashlar of a good and durable quality for building. Some excellent specimens of these are seen in the principal seats and public edifices in the county; and great quantities are exported, particularly from the mill-stone grit quarries in the parish of Crich. Grindstones made of the mill-stone grit are in great request, and are exported in great quantities by the canals to the south-east parts of England. Of late there has been a great demand for the coarse grind-stones from Gregory quarry at Overton in Ashover. Mr. Farey enumerates 19 quarries in Derbyshire, from which the grind-stones are procured. Coarse whet-stones for sharpening scythes, called scythe-stones, are procured from 13 quarries in this county; the finer whet-stones from seven others. The finest whet-stones, called hones, for setting a fine edge on knives, razors, &c., are procured from quarries at Conor-park and Woodthorp near Wingerworth. The Heage whetstones are used by the petrefaction workers at Derby.

    From: 'Produce and manufactures', Magna Britannia: volume 5: Derbyshire (1817), pp. CXCII-CCIII. URL: Produce and manufactures | British History Online Date accessed: 07 September 2009.

    Regards,
    Alex

  2. #52
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    Do we have any members here from Staffordshire? The reason I ask is because sorting through the information I've gathered I've come across a discrepancy that could do with some clarification. In the Knight article that I linked to on the first page of this thread, the grindstones hailing from Bilston, Staffs are described as occurring in a very small spot of limited extent and thickness above the coal layer. Although the stone was described as being of great excellence and as having a very fine grit, I wasn't initially interested in it as even a fine grindstone is likely too coarse for razors. However, I then found an article that specified that grindstones quarried near Bilston were used for sharpening straights, I assumed that this meant the grindstone catalogued by Knight. The discrepancy arose when I found this article which describes twelve prolific layers (whereas Knight has it as limited) of very hard (whereas Knight says not too hard) and valuable stone, including amongst them the best grindstones and whetstones in the world. History, gazetteer, and directory of ... - Google Books

    So now I'm not sure whether I should be looking for one stone from the Bilston area or more? I like the sound of the best whetstones in the world, but my OCD demands that I need to know exactly what I'm looking for.

    Regards,
    Alex

  3. #53
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    Devon: Home of the Best Sharpening Stone. Earlier on in this thread I mentioned this article, I was hoping for a hard-copy, but seeing as I never heard back from the SOB's at Wiley Interscience who maintain the archives, I went ahead and downloaded the article. Unfortunately, it doesn't make any mention of the Devonshire Oilstone, or any other stone from Devon that may be of interest to us. It is in fact, a very (and I mean very), brief account of the industry of the Devonshire Batts scythestone quarried in the Blackdown Hills of Devon. Wiley Interscience are rather stringent concerning the copyright of material downloaded from their site, so I shant post the whole article but just mention some of the more salient points.

    The stones occurred in the Upper Greensands around the Blackborough area, the layers selected for use as whetstones being those containing sandstone concretions with extra silica. The industry surrounding these stones was very long-lived, and unlike the Devonshire Oilstone there was a considerable trade in them. The earliest recorded account of these stones is found in the Bridgewater Port Book in 1690, detailing a shipment of 200 scythestones bound for Bristol. The industry survived well into the first part of the twentieth century, even competing successfully against the introduction of synthetic Carborundum Stones in the period of 1908-1911. The industry finally coming to an end in 1929, following the retirement of the last miner. Apparently, the size of the industry was such, that the waste rock discarded by the miners could be seen as a massive white band below the horizon from which the stones were quarried, and was visible for miles around the region.

    One point of note in the article, is that the stone coming from this area is referred to as both scythestones and whetstones. Whilst many of the terms we use to name hones today are interchangeable, the terms had a distinct order in earlier writings, ranging from grindstone as the coarsest, then going up to the finest through: scythestone, whetstone, hone and finally razor stone (although, even early on, hone and razor stone meant the same. The term hone used for describing the finest stones, and razor stone being a type of hone rather than it's own separate entity.) I'm not sure whether the use of the terms whetstone and scythestone in the article means that finer stones, i.e whetstones, were quarried longside the scythestones, or whether the authors simply use the two terms to mean the same thing.

    EDIT: You can read more about the Devonshire Batts and the local Scythestone Industry here, http://www.blackdown-hills.net/~pari...ough/index.htm

    Regards,
    Alex
    Last edited by A_S; 10-03-2009 at 04:49 PM. Reason: Added link.

  4. #54
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    I know I gave up looking for this stone the other week, and I'm not going to expend any more energy on actively looking for it, but it seems that the enquiries I made have been doing the rounds among a number of local interest groups. I was recently contacted by a member of The Devonshire Association regarding the Devonshire Oilstone, but unfortunately the news isn't good. The subject was raised at their last meeting, and no-one, (including the former keeper of mineralogy at The Natural History Museum), has ever heard of it. Later on this month there will be a meeting of the Devonshire Association Geology Section, and the question will be raised again, but I really don't think that it's likely I'll find out anything more.

    Regards,
    Alex

  5. #55
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    Going through the various pieces of correspondence and literature that I acquired during my fruitless search for the Devonshire Oilstone I came across another two hones hailing from England. There is an oilstone that was found in Truro, Cornwall (this may be the same as a mysterious white hone from the South of England I've been trying to find, that's described as being extremely fine), and also a metamorphosed slate honestone that was found near Hestercombe in the Greater London area (metamorphosed slate often having a finer grain than Low-grade slates or slate/schist).

    Regards,
    Alex

  6. #56
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    One more new discovery of an English hone to report, this one coming from High Halden in Kent and described as a hone of a particular quality, resembling the Turkey stone. I've finished going through all the correspondence I've accumulated and that's it for the different types of hones I've "rediscovered."

    Kindest regards,
    Alex

  7. #57
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    Seems like I spoke a little too soon about not having other British hones to report, found some notes I scribbled down that were separated from the rest. There was a mine in Ayrshire called the Sundrum Mine which furnished a baked and hardened shale hone and the Isle of Man exported a hone-slate. As far as building slates were concerned those from the Isle of Man were considered to be vastly inferior to those coming from Wales, I don't know if this applies to the hones as well.

    Kindest regards,
    Alex

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    Evritt (03-26-2010)

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    This post is breathing hard. Stay tuned.

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