View Poll Results: About James Sandy's Laurencekirk/Scottish/Secret Hinge details

50. You may not vote on this poll
  • Never heard of it.

    46 92.00%
  • If I told ya I'd have to kill ya.

    1 2.00%
  • Everything about it is at the website in my reply.

    0 0%
  • Everything about it is in my reply.

    0 0%
  • Why do you want to know?

    0 0%
  • Do you actually think you can build one with your "mighty" power tools?

    1 2.00%
  • Everybody knows, except you apparently.

    0 0%
  • Waaaay to difficult for mere mortals.

    2 4.00%
  • For a mere $39.99 I'll e-mail you the plans.

    0 0%
Multiple Choice Poll.
Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: "Laurencekirk hinge" invented by James Sandy

  1. #1

    Question "Laurencekirk hinge" invented by James Sandy

    Does anyone have details on how to make the "Laurencekirk hinge" invented by James Sandy. It is also known as the Secret Hinge or "Scottish Hinge" and is supposed to be airtight.

    (To be forgiving please, Soft Ones, author is having weird, alien sense of humor.)
    Inquiring minds want to know.

    [Removes fright wig and red rubber nose] But seriously, my friends, I really want to know.
    Last edited by Jerry Spencer Mings; 11-28-2007 at 03:59 PM. Reason: Added poll comment.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway

    it's just knuckles...

    Snuff-box making was already well established in Ayrshire, having started in Cumnock around 1807, when a man called William Crawford, by all accounts, “A clever and ingenious man” successfully reproduced the “Scoth Hinge”. This mechanism, a series of knuckles cut alternatively in the side and lid of the box, has never been radically altered, or indeed bettered for snuff-boxes or tea-caddies, until William Crawford applied himself to it, the hinge had been the monopoly of a man called Charles Steven, of Laurence Kirk, Kincardineshire.

    The great difficulty of the manufacture lies in the formation
    of the hinge, which in a genuine box is so delicately made as hardly
    to be visible. Peculiar, or, as they are called, secret tools are
    required in its formation; and though they must have been improved
    by time and experience, the mystery attached to their preparation is
    still so studiously kept up, that the workmen employed in one shop are
    rigorously debarred from having any communication with those employed
    in another.

    Mauchline Ware developed partly by accident and partly through necessity. Towards the end of the 18th century in the town of Alyth, Perthshire(now Tayside), a man named John Sandy invented the "hidden hinge" snuff box. He made the knuckles of the snuff box’s hinge form alternately from those of the lid and the back of the box, with a metal rod passing very precisely through the enter. This rod was a little shorter than the box so as not to protrude through the ends, which he then plugged, rendering the mechanism invisible.

    Since Sandy was bedridden for most of his life, Charles Stiven, from Laurencekirk, took over the job of manufacturing and marketing this invention, thus it became known as the Laurencekirk snuff box. Eventually, the secret of the hidden hinge found its way to Cumnock, only a few miles from Mauchline.

    William Crawford began manufacturing the hidden hinge snuffbox in Cumnock around 1810. It’s believed that he copied the hidden hinge mechanism from a box brought to him for repair. Unable to keep the secret to himself, it spread to at least 50 other Scottish snuff box manufacturers in the early 1820s, most of them in Ayrshire. These included William and Andrew Smith of Mauchline, whose family had formerly made razor hones.

    James Sandy, The Alyth Genius

    When James Sandy was twelve he fell from a tree near to his home in Alyth. As a result of the injuries he suffered he lost a leg.

    More bad luck was to befall him when he was sixteen. After very heavy rains the Alyth burn flooded and the water poured into the ground floor of his house which was built beside the burn. His mother tried to drag him upstairs to safety and in the struggle the other leg was broken. James was unable to walk and spent the rest of his life lying on a couch.

    He had already shown great abilities as a craftsman and his couch was specially designed with raised sides to which could be fixed lathes and vices and cases to hold his tools. Here he worked producing a large range of objects.

    He was prepared to try his hand at almost anything including false teeth and artificial limbs. He was well known for his work on fine optical instruments, clocks and musical instruments. However, he achieved a wider fame with the production of a new type of snuff box which was airtight when closed but contained a special hinge which did not become clogged with grains of snuff.

    When he was fifty-three he decided to get married. Perhaps it was an unwise decision. He died nineteen days later on April 3rd 1819.

    Best pictures are here:

    Looks a bit like the kind of hinge Incra demonstrates...
    Last edited by Bill Lantry; 11-28-2007 at 05:22 PM.

  3. #3
    Thank you, Bill. An amazing work of art.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Interesting stuff, Bill. I agree that it looks like a finely handcrafted Incra hinge. Don't see much of that quality of work these days, but I'll bet there are folks here who could make one.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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