Disston Catalogs

1918 book

Disston made extensive use of illustrated catalogs, brochures, and advertisements throughout its history. Starting in the 19th century, Disston and Sons published small books offered free to retail customers, demonstrating the proper use of their tools, information about maintenance, and an outline of the features of each model of saw. The books also featured measuring tools, levels, mason's tools, and more.

While not truly catalogs because they did not generally include prices, The Saw: How to Use It; How to Keep It in Order and the Disston Saw, Tool, and File Book are good records of what was offered by Disston over the years, and the illustrations in the older books are excellent. The books from the 1930's don't show the whole line of saws like the earlier catalogs, but do provide useful information about the more popular models. By the 1940's the saw line was represented more completely in the Saw, Tool and File Manual. The covers and articles of the books would remain consistant for perhaps a decade, with changes in the product line showing up in new editions every year or so.

Harder to find are the dealer catalogs with retail prices and a wide range of industrial and lumber saws and the maintenance tools and machines that go with them. In addition, there were "trade" price sheets, which were wholesale prices charged hardware stores and large-volume customers. These are sometimes found with the catalog. The brochures and catalogs reveal data about the dates saws were introduced and dropped from production, and have been invaluable to the creation of this website. The post-WWI Saw, Tool, and File Books are easy to find and not expensive, but the older books go for a price through auctions and used book dealers. A few reprints are available from collectors' organizations and book sellers.

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1876 reprint
1914 reprint

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1918 reprint

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1937 reprint

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Detail of the cover of the 1955 catalog. Disston had become a division of the H.K. Porter Company.



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