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Ratchet brace

Stan Shepherd wants to identify this unusual brace.

He writes:

I enclose a sketch of the 'business end' of an unmarked, nine inch sweep, carpenter's ratchet brace inherited from my grandfather (b 1871) who probably acquired it (secondhand?) about 1890.
He valued and demonstrated its convenient oddities, as later did both my father and myself. Now almost an heirloom, I know three of Kipling's  'six honest serving men' but can anyone tell me who, or where, or when?

Operation:- The crocodile jaws are altered by a sliding sleeve which can be locked in position by a quarter right-handed twist, and unlocked by the reverse. The ratchet is changed using a minuscule, 8mm diameter, loop of 'steel wire' almost hidden below the frame!

Stan Shepherd

Arthur Cunniffe of The Hand Tool Preservation Society of Western Australia replied:

As the editor for 'The BENCHMARK' which is our local newsletter I was reading your copy of the TATHS newsletter. The small request for information on a brace was of interest. I sent the request to our member Geoff Emms who collects with a passion all braces. He wrote:

Well that lucky young fellow (he's probably in his 70s) has inherited from his father and grandfather a Goodell - Pratt brace incorporating Francis Hay's quick change chuck. The relevant US patents for the features of the brace are: Albert Goodell No 488691 27 December 1892 and Francis Hay No 526314 18 September 1894.
The ratchet selector started out as a small lever but somewhere around 1911 the ratchet was economised and the control was changed to the small wire hook.

My example of this brace has an 8 inch sweep, marked round the widest part of the chuck 'Goodell Tool Co, Shellburne Falls Mass.' and the two patent dates.

Further information can be found at Randy Roeder's excellent site: www.oldtoolheaven.com

Arthur Cunniffe
The Hand Tool Preservation Society of Western Australia

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