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Have You Ever Seen One Of These?

Sonny

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Last weekend I attended the Mayne Framing Supply 30th anniversary open house. In the lobby was an old mat cutter from 1896 that Larry Mayne found at an old office supply company. It was nailed to a counter and the owner claimed it still cut great mats which Larry doubted. I have never seen a mat cutter of this age and thought that cut mats before the days of C&H, Logan etc. were cut by hand. I guess the need to cut mats commercially in volume is older than I thought.

Please enjoy and comment.
 

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cjmst3k

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
pretty cool!
 

Rick Granick

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Although cruder, it looks to work on the same principle as modern mat cutters: hold a knife or blade at a consistent angle and draw it along a bar.
In between this and the ones you mentioned was (among others, I'm sure) KEETON, which was a very nice cutter and still prized many many framers today.
:cool: Rick
 

FramerCat

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Thanks for sharing. That's really cool.

Ed
 

wvframer

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I have looked at that thing at least once a week for about 20 years. I never thought in all that time to take a picture and share it. I guess I never realized how unique it really is. Thanks for taking and posting the pictures.
 

Dave

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
VERY cool!

Finally, a piece of equipment older than Bill.
 

Sonny

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
I really could not believe I was looking at a mat cutter from 1896 when I say it sitting there. I thought the industry would have been so small that all mats would have been cut with a hand held blade. Does anyone know anything about antique mat cutters or the history of framing in North America? The fact that a single purpose mat cutter exists from 1896 tells me there must have been frame shops or the like. I wonder when the first frame shop opened. I know that most mat companies were sign board producers that got into mats after Mr. Eastman mass marketed the Brownie camera at the turn of the last century. Photos became the rage and the need to display them gave rise to the photo mount business. In fact we started in the world as Turner Brothers doing sign boards for department stores and photomounts for photographers in 1902.
 

wvframer

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
D.E. Abbott & Co. was already well established in Huntington in 1881, and Mr. Abbott served on a number of boards so it is well documented. He provided production framing & printed art prints he sold nationwide, as well as custom framing.

This was a thriving commercial center in those days, and presumably there were others, though I don't immediately find documentation to support the premise.

D.E.Abbott & Co. survived until after the turn of the last century, about 2005, when the last descendant retired in her 80's. For the past 60-70 years it was only a local custom framing shop and had vacated the factory facility back in the 1970's. They moved into a small storefront a block away in a thriving antique district.

The building still stands with it painted sign prominently displayed on the side of the building. It is now a part of a classic car museum.

Probably more than you wanted to know, but the short answer to the question is yes, there were production matcutters in the 1890's.
 

dectrola

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Cast iron rail, imprinted measures and manufacturers name. Not a handmade "one off". Perhaps the only one to survive.
Some great history here, thanks for preserving it and sharing.
 

wvframer

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
No, I do not think they produced it. In my "spare" time, I keep looking for who might have been manufacturing those things. It is something buried deep in some local history library. I do know that this one was in the back of a paint and hardware store when Larry acquired it.
 

Framar

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
When I worked for Kramer the Framer back in the sixties and seventies, he had a "modern" Keeton Kutter for straight line cuts, but was using a Springfield oval machine that had a brass plate with the date 1908 or 1909 on it.
 

Josh Keck

Grumbler in Training
I stare at this mat cutter everyday. I always thought it was "just neat" until I saw this thread. To mimic Greg's comment, I guess it really is unique. We have some other old equipment here in the warehouse but one that stands out is this old oval cutter.

20190623_131950.jpg 20190623_131902.jpg 20190623_131855.jpg
 

Dave

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I had an oval cutter just like that but in full working order. After storing it for 15 years I finally gave it to Habitat for Humanity along with a full truck of items. Where it ended up I know not.
 

Sonny

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
It looks exactly like the Oval Master I used for years. I am sure they copied the design from this one.
 

Al B

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
I have the blades for this early chopper - I took them off when I moved it for safety reasons. It still does an excellent job.
 

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