H&C Disston Saw Knife

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C. Tuai

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The ebay rumour is that it was used as an amputation saw during the civil war, but the Disston's, "The Saw in History" (1926) refers to it as follows:

A tool that is classed with these bone and meat-cutting
saws, and yet is more than a saw is the Saw-knife. This is a knife with
double-cutting edge, coming to a point at the end. One edge is used for
sawing, while the other is used for ordinary cutting.

If you're into saws you normally think of Henry as the Disston Brothers, but this design is supposedly by Chuck who was, it seems a bit more on the wackier side.
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My father in law had one of those hanging in his shop but I don't know what happened to it. I've heard them called "ham knives". One side for slicing and the saw for cutting through bone on whole hams.
 
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Having never used a bone saw, lamb breast looked a tempting target. No problem through the shortest portion of the rib bone, but the end few needed a bit of cleaver persuasion. No bone sharps using the saw. You can tell that it's using saw blade steel. Some flex, but stiff enough to use the tip of the knife to cut through cartilage.

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The ebay rumour is that it was used as an amputation saw during the civil war, but the Disston's, "The Saw in History" (1926) refers to it as follows:

A tool that is classed with these bone and meat-cutting
saws, and yet is more than a saw is the Saw-knife. This is a knife with
double-cutting edge, coming to a point at the end. One edge is used for
sawing, while the other is used for ordinary cutting.

If you're into saws you normally think of Henry as the Disston Brothers, but this design is supposedly by Chuck who was, it seems a bit more on the wackier side.
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Was Chuck one of Henry's sons and the stamp reads "H & C Disston?

Henry changed the name to " Henry Disston & Sons" after the civil war, so 1865. I would think that saw predates that?
 
I know MD Surgeons that collect Civil War era surgical tools. What you have is a somewhat worn on the blade side Civil War surgeons field bone knife. They were used in the field to amputate arms and legs, the surgeon applied a tourniquet and than directed orderlies to transport the wounded man back to the hospital area. Most didn't make it. This is one of those antique tools that "if it could talk". And a tool that because of its intended use and the fact it was used as intended it was never repurposed and was put away never to be seen.
 
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I am trying to find this saw listed in one of the Disston catalogs. No luck so far the earliest one I can find in 1899 but it only has conventional hand saws. Tracked down an example in the Civil War Collector's Encyclopedia. This one was made by E M Boynton. It is a repurposed US Army Butchers saw used to butcher cattle to feed the troops.

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