Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More bits and pieces

Another day, another centre bit. Considerably less remarkable than the last, except for the local connection. Yes, I do kinda collect anything marked as being made or sold in Cornwall. I know what you're thinking - just as well I don't live in Sheffield...

Last time I dabbled in local tool dealers in times of yore, I found myself tracking down ironmonger J B Haddon of Penzance, but now we find ourselves in the city of Truro and Bullen Bros. Throwing myself at the trade directories, I was able to track them down in the Trade and General Directory of Truro, 1883, from whence came the informative advertisement below, and as far on as Kelly's Directory of Devon & Cornwall, 1914. The old man thinks he might remember them from his youth in the late '30s/40s but not absolutely sure.
My only thought was what a shame it is there isn't an optional time travel button at the entrance to modern shops. Instead of stepping in to look at all the (largely) unnecessary kitchen gadgetry of Lakeland, who currently occupy 32 Boscawen St, I'd much rather be able to have a goof round Bullen Brothers' establishment c.1900. Heigh ho.

I also cleaned up the extremely rusty washer cutter bit from the coachbuilder's kit. The more I cleaned it up, the older I started to think it probably was.

Luckily, I found a maker's name, and the Old Tools List archive, in the form of the ever-informative Don McConnell, came up with the goodies.

William & Cornelius Wynn of Birmingham, 1816-1880. Cornelius, no less. Funnily enough another Cornelius - Whitehouse of that ilk - is strongly connected with a variety of brace bit that's been getting a lot of chatter on The List the last couple of days. Got one or two of those, but haven't reached them yet (all the ones on the khaki-colured bit roll top right in the pic in the previous post, in fact. Yikes.) Still got about two dozen assorted countersinks to get through first...


  1. The Bullen Brothers (William and Nathaniel) were my great-great-uncles and both were Mayors of Truro, with pictures hanging in the Old County Hall. Please let me know how you came by this.
    Michael Millard

    1. Dear Mr. Millard
      I have just come across this site while looking up Bullen Brothers. I have a tenon saw by the Lynx company of Sheffield with the BB stamp on the saw back. It was obtained by my grandfather, John Armour Dow, who was the Factor on the Tregothnan estate from 1914 - 1920. There is a story in my family that my grandfather lent one of the Bullens a sum of money, and as a result of financial difficulties, he accepted a number of tools, mostly saws, chisels, and planes (which I still use on a daily basis) as part payment. Do you know anything about this, or is it apocryphal?
      Best wishes
      Bill Dow


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