Victorian Era Scroll Saw Patterns & Fretwork
While fretwork dated back to Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultures, these scroll saw designs were hugely popular in the Victorian Era. The ornate detail of these patterns is influenced by the ornate gingerbread-style of the late 1800s.
During the Victoria Era (1850-1910), scroll saws were used to cut the delicate ornamental gingerbread patterns at the gabled ends along roof eaves and porches. Scroll saws were also used to create clocks, wall plaques, picture frames, and ornate furniture to adorn the inside of the home. By the 1920s, the term scroll saw was in common use throughout America and manufacturers, such as Barnes, New Rogers, Star, Lester, and Hobbies, began mass-producing them.
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We can’t talk about vintage scroll saw patterns without talking about the master himself.
~ Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts Magazine
Scroll Saw Fretwork History Facts
- Dates back to Egyptian, Greek, and Roman furniture which was probably carved with a knife
- Fretwork lined tombs in Egypt.
- Fretwork was also seen on Mayan and Aztec architecture.
- The Greeks used it in pottery and painted decorations on architecture, which was later then carved.
Scroll Saw 1500’s:
- In the late 1500’s a German craftsman (most likely a clock maker) devised a method for making fine, narrow blades.
- In Paris, the U-shaped fret saw (Buhl “Boulle” Saw) was developed by Mr. Boulle.
Scroll Saw 1800’s:
- 1829: First patent for reciprocating steel blade saw was awarded to Mr. M’Duff in Great Britain.
- 1850-1910: Victorian Era scroll saw were used to cut delicate ornamental gingerbread patterns at the ends along roofs and porches. Scroll saws were also used to create clocks, wall plaques, picture frames, and ornate furniture.
- Mid-1800s: Fretwork was introduced as “Sorrento” in America named after the area of Italy where it was most popular.
- 1860s – First mechanical scroll saw appeared in the U.S.
Scroll Saw 1920’s:
- Scroll saw tern was common use throughout America and were mass produced.