With Dubuque’s rich millwork history, it’s no surprise that this scrolls saw, dating to circa 1890, is in the DCHS collection. Scroll saws can be used to cut intricate curves and joints, including dove tail joints.
It's not clear if this was personal woodworking equipment or from a millwork company, but the original owner, Peter Loetscher, is very likely from the Loetscher family who started the Farley and Loetscher Mfg. Co. In 1875 a 25-year-old Swiss immigrant named Christian Loetscher opened a small mill working business that eventually would operate one of the largest plants in its industry. The company had a successful run until it was sold in 1960. The company was the first in Dubuque to install a telephone switchboard, the first factory in Dubuque to use electrical lighting, the first factory in Dubuque to use automatic sprinklers, and was an early adopter of recycling, using all waste wood and sawdust to heat their buildings.
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