Pax Hand Saws (Official South African Distributor)
Thomas Flinn & Company
Our company was started in 1923 by a man named Thomas Flinn. We believe he would not have had origins in Sheffield on England (due to his surname), but moved here during a time when industry was more prevalent in Sheffield. Frank Ellis (my paternal Grandfather) met Thomas Flinn when he was approximately 14 years old and began an apprenticeship with him. He was offered a saw making apprenticeship or a plumbing apprenticeship and he took the saw making job. As one of 10 children, living in back to back housing, it was common place to take such a work placement with the aim of getting your own house further down the same street, as many of his siblings did.
Frank was it seems, fairly ambitious and was keen to proceed. He took home saw sharpening work at night to earn extra money, which was how he was then able to buy Thomas Flinn out of his business in 1936. He would then have been around 26 years old. He did this just before WWII, which would have brought many changes to how his business operated, moving on to Ministry of Defence (MOD) work and employing around 50 people at that time to make tin hats and other items required by the MOD. Hearing stories about how he succeeded during this time is an inspiration to me.
My Father (Frank Philip Ellis) joined the business upon leaving school at 16 and has been here ever since (and has the grey hairs to prove it!!) Over the years, the business has evolved to suit the times. In Philip's early days, the business made very few types of saws and did not have the competition from overseas imports, but he had the foresight to continue and follow a path creating high quality saws, whose manufacturing may have died off otherwise. It is through this that we now make the Pax Saws and also own the Garlick Saw Company, which was bought in 1999 for Philip's eldest son, Christian to continue. These two companies now work side by side in the same factory.
In June 2008, we acquired the Roberts & Lee Saw Company. This was the last other known saw manufacturers in the UK, with it's origins based in Enfield, near London. These products are also now in operation from our factory.
Summer 2014 was an interesting time, as we also become a Hand Plane manufacturer after we acquired Clifton Planes. We have pushed this traditional, high quality brand from strength to strength, with adding items to the ranges and a make over on colour schemes and images.
From a small work force, we now produce a wide range of hand saws and hand planes that are shipped world-wide and are held in great esteem by those who use them. Our ideals mean that we feel it is important to fly the British flag when it comes to the tooling industry, as it is through this mentality that we have found our great customer base and drives us to provide our customers with only the best products.
Much of our company history now incorporates the history of the Pax and Lynx brands, which both have origins in the 18th century. This means that they are some of the oldest saws still in production today and it seems somewhat sad that some of our products, such as the William Greaves saws came from one of the largest and now diminshed company (of the same name) that was once prolific in Sheffield. We feel it is now a great honour to be able to promote the Pax and Lynx brands as a mark of true Sheffield quality.
Purchasing from small dedicated companies really does make a difference and helps us to continue the work of our ancestors and ensure that these tools remain part of Britain's manufacturing future.