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Thread: Catalogue of Hones Based on Area of Origin.

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    Default Catalogue of Hones Based on Area of Origin.

    I wonder if anyone would be interested in contributing to a list of hones based on their provenance. I found out about a number of different stones when I was researching the Devonshire Oilstone and thought it might be an idea to try and catalogue all of the different types. Therefore, this thread will be an ongoing effort, and everyone is welcome to add hones based on their own experience and research.

    IRELAND:

    Mangerton Mountains, County Kerry

    On the mountains of Mangerton, near the lake called The Devil's Punch Bowl, is a species of Whetstone, the grit of which is as fine as that of many common hones, and being shaped properly and afterwards boiled in oil, it serves the country people for whetting razors." It is described as being a bright Olive Green colour, darkening after being boiled.


    SCOTLAND:

    The Water of Ayr and Tam O Shanter Honeworks Limited. Ayrshire

    Opened in 1789 and still retailing old stock. Produced the Tam O Shanter and Water of Ayr Hones, which are also known as Scotch or Snakestones. Also retailed hones from other quarries including the Dalmore Blue from Craiksland Quarry and a fine stone from the Meikladale Mine. The Dalmore Yellow is a coarse stone, sold under the trade name Mikado, but I haven't been able to find out anything more about it's provenance, aside from the fact that it was retailed by the honeworks at a price of approximately 2/3 rds that of the TOS. There is some confusion as to the distinction between the the TOS and WOA stones, as both were sold under the same name early on. WOA is now considerded to apply to the darker, finer stones and TOS refers to the speckled stone. There is also a variant of the TOS, that is sold as the White Tam O Shanter. Also sold stones for "special purposes" under the names of "Montgomeriestone Hone" and "Soutar Johnny Stone."

    Troon Harbour Sill

    A 10ft bed of material similiar in appearance and quality to the TOS. Never commercially exploited.

    Ratho Quarry, Midlothian

    Working in 1810, but no further information is available about the type of stone produced.

    Meikledale Mine and Meikledale Quarry, Ayrshire

    These are two separate sites, sharing the name Meikledale.
    Meikledale Mine was a hone-stone mine opened in the 1920's, and still being worked intermittantly upto the later years of the twentieth century. The stone from this mine is described as being finer, but less pure than the TOS. Combo stones were made using a TOS and the blue Water of Ayr stone from the Meikledale Mine.
    Meikledale Quarry was a hone-stone quarry worked from about 1881 until the stone was cut off by a fault in 1926. It has now been filled in.

    Fiddish River, Banffshire

    Laminated marble from the river bed was used to make hones and whetstones.


    Enterkine Quarry, Tarbolton Parish, Ayrshire

    A hone-stone quarry recorded in 1900. A very hard and pale grey baked mudstone. William Alton may have been referring to this quarry when he wrote: " Hones, or whetstones of an excellent quality , are found at Gadgirth and many thousands of them are dug up and sold."

    Craiksland Quarry, Ayrshire

    The Dalmore Blue stone was quarried here, but was sent to the Water of Ayr & Tam O Shanter Honeworks Ltd. to be processed and retailed.


    D. Ferguson & Co. Glasgow

    Produced the Fergo-Glass Razor Hone. Based upon it's shape, I suspect that this hone was designed for straight razors, as opposed to DE blades, unlike the majority of glass hones. More details here Scottish Glass, FERGO-GLASS, D Ferguson & Co, Glasgow (Razor Hone)


    WALES:

    Inigo Jones & Co. Caernarfon, Gwynedd, Wales

    Operational since 1861, and still active today. Retails hone-slates under the trade name "Dragon's Tongue", as well as providing slates to other firms to be retailed under their respective trademarks.

    Richard Williams & Co., Portmadoc

    Processed slate from the Corris area which was then supplied to two firms in Cheshire. One supplying flat hones for export and the other producing safety razor blade hones for sale in the UK.

    Talacre and Gwespyn Quarries, Prestatyn.

    Produced mainly scythestones using a fine-grained sandstone but also produced hones. Closed in approximately 1950.

    Moel Siabod Mountain, Snowdonia

    The Moel Siabod Hone Quarry Ltd. was in business in 1895. Most likely quarrying a slate hone.

    Melynllyn Yellow Lake Hone Quarry, Conway

    At one point in time was owned by the company, AB Salmen. Produced the Yellow Lake Oilstone.

    Llyn Idwall, near Bethseda

    This quarry was the source of the Welsh, or Llyn Idwal, Oilstone. Reputedly very similiar to Charnley Forest Hones, albeit harder, but was in less general use on account of it's being more expensive. Records go back at least as far as 1798 and the quarry still existed in the 1980's.

    Cutler's Greenstone, Snowdonia

    The exact source of this stone remains unknown. It was a very hard green stone, used mainly for finishing surgical instruments, although there are accounts of it's use as a razor hone.
    Last edited by A_S; 10-04-2009 at 12:53 PM.

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    Miscellaneous/ Unknown UK Hones

    Cambrock Silkstone
    English hone, made for finishing razors and surgical instruments. Exact origins unknown.

    Kilburn Whetstone
    There are three Kilburns in the UK: one in Derbyshire, one in the Greater London Area and one in Yorkshire. Collectors I have spoken to have told me that they'd assumed this was just another type of scythestone coming from Derbyshire, due to the sizable industry in that county. However, the Kilburn Whetstone appears in an 1893 catalogue from Thomas Hazeon and Co. where it is listed separately to five types of scythestone.

    Magic Razor Hone
    Dark Blue Stone, originating in the UK, with a label that describes it as being an alternative to the Belgian Razor Hones.

    Red Bay Oilstone
    Red coloured stone. The one example I have seen was in a red box similiar to those used by the Water of Ayr & Tam O Shanter Honeworks Ltd. It was being sold as part of a large listing which included all the different types of Scottish hones, so it may come from that part of the world.

    Salmens Hone
    As well as operating the Melynllyn Yellow Lake Hone Quarry, and being the UK's largest importer of Turkey Stones, this company also retailed a dark-blue slate hone under their own name. The label depicts the Salmen's logo of a fish and an S inside an inverted red triangle, underneath this there is a picture of Britannia and script stating "Made in England".

    Waraho Water Razor Hone
    Dark, charcoal black coloured hone. Very similiar in feel to Thuringen stones. The box reads, "This Hone has been produced to meet the demand for an inexpensive yet effective Hone." Made in Great Britain, exact origin unknown.
    Last edited by A_S; 10-03-2009 at 03:57 PM.
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    ENGLAND:

    Cheshire

    Whetstone Ridge, Peak District National Park
    An environmental assessment of this area identifies quarrying as one of the most recent and most significant industrial activities to have occurred in the area. Whetstone Ridge is reputed to have been named due to the quarried stone being employed as a whetstone. Unfortunately, the report doesn't give any idea as to the number of quarries or their locations, but it does say they have all fallen into disuse.

    Cornwall

    Slates from the Delabole Quarries were used on a limited, local level as sharpening stones.

    Cumbria

    Banded Slate Whetstones from the Lake District have a history of use as Whetstones dating back to the Vikings.

    Derbyshire

    As well as having a massive scythestone industry, a number of hones and whetstones were quarred in this county. In History and Gazeteer of the County of Derbyshire, Glover, lists stones from the following areas as having, "a close, fine and sharp grit". Alton, Bolsover, Codnor, Heage, Pentrich, Sandy-Brook and Woodthorpe. Glover also mentions that ironstones from Codnor and Woodthorpe are used as hones. There is also a "whetstone-layer" in the East Derbyshire/ Nottinghamshire coalfields. The Produce and Manufactures entry in the fifth volume of Magna Britannia says that the very finest whetstones from the region, used for honing razors, come from Conor-Park and Woodthorpe.

    Devonshire

    Wheall, Jewell & Friendship Mine, Tavistock.
    The Devonshire Oilstone was found in the area around this mine. It is a slate hone that was first bought to wider attention by a Mr. John Taylor in the early part of the 19th Century. It is included in Knight's Catalogue of Grindstones and Hones, but apart from this record it remains very little-known due to the lack of a distributor. Knight describes it thus, "It has considerable local repute for sharpening all kinds of thin-edged broad instruments; it has not, however, become an article of commerce".

    Leicestershire

    Charnwood Forest, Mount Sorrel.
    The two most highly regarded quarries producing Charnley Forest Hones were those in Thringston Village and Whittle Hill. The Thringston stone was held in high repute by the whetstone makers working in and around Cole Orton who declared it to be the very best stone from this area; this type of stone was very difficult to access however and was therefore never widely appreciated. The Whittle Hill Quarry was also held in high regard, mainly because the hones from this area were less prone to detrimental inclusions. An article in the Loughborough Telegraph of April 12th, 1837, announced the opening of the Whittle Quarry, however Charnley Hones were well known long before this and records of their use go back to at least the 1600's. The exact date the Whittle Hill Quarry ceased to operate is unknown, it is generally accepted as being in the early years of the 20th Century, although the Rolls Razor Company retailed a kit in the 1930s which included a small piece of Whittle Hill Hone. Whether the quarry reopened, or a different quarry provided stone of similiar quality is unclear. Initially held in high regard, Charnley Forest Hones were eventually regarded as being inferior to Turkey and Wa****a stones, mainly due to their slow cutting speed, this loss of favour coincides with the increasing availability of an inferior type of Charnley Stone, which replaced the Whittle Hill hones in the hone market.

    Staffordshire

    Bilston.
    The History, Gazetteer & Directory of Staffordshire, 1834, describes prolific quarries of extremely hard and valuable stone found in twelve horizontal beds, some of which are said to produce the best grindstones and whetstones in the world. Knight also mentions a grindstone coming from Bilston in his catalogue of Hones & Grindstones. He describes it as a stone of great excellence. Being lighter in colour, much finer, (than Newcastle Sandstone), and of a very sharp nature, and at the same time not being too hard. It was confined to a very small spot, of limited extent and thickness. How Knight's Bilston Grindstone relates to those mentioned in The History, Gazetteer & Directory of Staffordshire is uncertain, as you can see there are a number of contrary points in the descriptions of these stones. It is also uncertain as to which type of stone is also known as the Staffordshire Blue, this was a grindstone that was also used as a whetstone because of it's relatively fine grit. Irrespective of their provenance, their is a tradition of using Bilston grindstones for sharpening razors, http://www.oldtowns.co.uk/Staffordshire/bilston.htm

    Yorkshire

    Moughton Whetstone Hole, Crummackdale.
    The Moughton Whetstone is a concentrically banded, (red/purple and green), mudstone that was quarried to make whetstones for the Sheffield razor industry. The Whetstone Hole is a spring where the same type of stone is found. In the literature, the area of origin for this stone is given as either Crummackdale or Ribblesdale, but the area in which stones were quarried for commercial use seems unclear. Picture here http://www.settledistrictu3a.org.uk/...html#whetstone
    Last edited by A_S; 10-04-2009 at 01:57 PM.
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    Very interesting material. Any images to go with this text?

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    Interesting idea. We have the ideal infrastructure for your project, too: Category:SRP Hone Database - Straight Razor Place Wiki.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemist View Post
    Very interesting material. Any images to go with this text?
    In attempting to learn more about these hones my one major grievance was that learning more about these hones wasn't commensurate with my coming into possession of any of them. Therefore, in most instances, I don't have pictures to go with the text. Also, I'm completely clueless when it comes to photography and I wouldn't know how to post pictures even if I could take them. I will try to link through to pictures of these hones if there are any available online, but unfortunately, my ability to include pictures is limited.

    Regards,
    Alex

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    USA

    Arkansas

    Hot Springs, Garland County
    Arkansas and Ouachita stones. In the 1920's the stones were processed by the Pike Co. but are now processed in situ. Arkansas stones are the finer type. Available in a number of different grades including: Soft Arkansas, Surgical Black and Translucent. Mainly used for sharpening fine-edged tools.
    Ouachita stones have a history of use for coarse sharpening work, being less dense than the Arkansas

    Indiana

    French Lick & Northwest Township, Orange County
    About forty-five years ago a bluish white whetstone, which now bears the name, 'Hindostan,' was first placed on the market. It came from a town of the same name in Martin county, Indiana. The town, which was situated near the White river, has since passed out of existence. A stone similar in structure to the Hindostan, but differing in color and hardness, is also to be found in Indiana. It is called 'Orange stone;' it is of a light buff shade. The fact that it bears the name of the county in which it occurs most abundantly may account for its title. At present nearly all the Hindostan and Orange whetstones come from Orange county. Quarries are to be found at French Lick Mineral Springs, between 2 and 3 miles from West Baden, in French Lick township, and in Northwest township, about 8 miles from the French Lick quarries. Both these varieties of whetstones are in places found in the same quarry, but occur in different ledges. The rock is decidedly stratified and splits with great readiness into large sheets.

    At times the whole ledge, from 10 to 20 inches in thickness, is raised by means of steel bars and wedges. More frequently sheets from 5 to 6 inches in thickness are cleared off. These sheets are again split to the desired thickness. Some pieces of rock can readily be severed into layers not having a thickness of over inch. After the stone has been brought to the proper thickness it is marked off into pieces of the requisite length and width my means of a straight edge and scribing awl. The stone is so soft that the awl will penetrate it sufficiently of it to be readily broken. The stone is now worth one-half of its price when finished. Finishing on iron wheels with sand, and boxing complete the cost of manufacture. Between the ledges of good stone is generally found from 6 to 10 inches of soft shale. The whetstone varies in hardness. That at the surface is usually much softer than the rock underneath. The harder variety makes the best stone for use. At fissures in the rock is found what the quarrymen call ironstone. This contains, as its name indicates, a large quantity of iron, sometimes in the form of limonite, but more frequently as brown hematite. The presence of the iron ore prevents the rock from crumbling as readily as it does in the ordinary Hindostan and Orange stones, and hence makes a very fair finishing stone. It is, however, apt to become glazed after some use.

    In French Lick township, about 7 miles south of the Hindostan and Orange quarries, are found sandstones which are quarried for dry whetstones. These stones are sold principally to shoemakers.

    During the year 1886 about 400,000 pounds of Hindostan and Orange stones were quarried. The prices for the Hindostan stones, according to J. A. Chaillaux, of Orangeville, and William F. Osborn and T. N. Braxton & Sons, of Paoli, Indiana, are as follows:


    Michigan
    Novaculite, Carp River
    "The novaculite however, of Carp River, is superior to any article which has fallen under our notice, not excepting the Arkansas, Turkey or Scotch stone, for producing fineness of edge." "The quality of the stone is said to be excellent." History of use as a razor hone.

    Missouri

    WM Enders Co. St. Louis
    Retailed the Oak Leaf Razor Grit Oilstone. Light blue colour. No other information.

    New Hampshire

    Lisbon, Grafton County
    A blue/ chocolate schist was quarried in this area. Known as the Chocolate Hone, it was only quarried intermittently. Mainly used by fishermen.

    Pike, Grafton County
    Owned by the Pike Manufacturing Co. The stones were worked at least as far back as 1825. Fine-grained, highly siliceous mica schists, reportedly the finest of this type found in the world.

    New York

    Lake Labrador, CortlandCounty
    Labrador Stones from this area have a history of use as whetstones.

    North Carolina

    M'Cauley's Quarry, near Chapel Hill
    "The most valuable bed is about seven miles west of Chapel Hill, at M'Cauley's quarry. It is on the summit of a hill, one of a northeast and southwest range composed of chloritic slate. The honestone occurs in distinct perpendicular beds. In color it is a soft olive green, looks like horn, and on thin edges is transparent. It acquires smoothness and hardness with use and is best adapted to carpenters' needs, though sometimes employed as a razor-hone.

    McPherson's Quarry, Chatham County
    Five miles west of Woodin's ferry on Haw River. The stone is lighter colored, softer and has a finer grit (than the Chapel Hill Hone), probably fine enough for razors.


    Ohio

    Chagvin Falls, Cuyahoga County
    The Deerlick Stone was quarried in this area. Most likely a fine-grained sandstone

    Waverley Geological Group
    Berea sandstone quarries are the largest sandstone quarries in the world, and the stone itself is famed for it's even texture and lack of impurities. The best layers of Berea Grit were saved for making world-famous grindstones which required a smooth and even texture, neither too soft nor too hard. These layers also had to be completely free from cracks, flaws, foreign objects, or hard spots. Furthermore, stones to be shaped into grindstones or whetstones had to be easily split into the desired sizes.

    Euclid Stone
    Blue, very-fine grit sandstone. History of use for Butcher's Knives and Penknives.

    Queer Creek Stone
    Hard dark-grey medium coarse sandstone. Used as a waterstone for coarse sharpening.

    Rhode Island

    Ananias Mowry Farm, Smithfield
    Whetstones from the quarry on this farm are described as being of "very excellent quality."

    Vermont

    Evansville Quarry, Orleans County
    Worked by the Pike manufacturing Co. Yielded stones very similiar to those quarried by Pike in Grafton County, NH.
    Last edited by A_S; 10-06-2009 at 01:10 PM.
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    Default oak leaf

    Missouri

    WM Enders Co. St. Louis
    Retailed the Oak Leaf Razor Grit Oilstone. Light blue colour. No other information.

    never knew this is oil stone
    will test soon.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by hi_bud_gl; 10-06-2009 at 02:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hi_bud_gl View Post
    Missouri

    WM Enders Co. St. Louis
    Retailed the Oak Leaf Razor Grit Oilstone. Light blue colour. No other information.

    never knew this is oil stone
    will test soon.
    The stone I saw was a much paler blue, and the labels were on the box, not the stone itself. The WM Enders Co. made a number of other objects, so I think your's is most likely a barber hone and not a natural.

    Kindest regards,
    Alex

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    Im from indiana and have been on a search to find those orange stones and hindostans. I have only found the info you have posted though. I do have an enders oak leafe blue as well. Ill have to try it with oil. When I used it, it cut very quickly. Maybee ~3k grit?

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