W. M. Caldwell

I have three examples of an unusual patent ratchet brace that are lightly marked on the chuck(s),


The chucks are Barber type,  with the original Barber jaws..  The in-line ratchet is unusual and is operated by twisting a knurled ring just above the chuck shell.  This is unmistakably H.N. Parker's June 19, 1888 patent (#384865, Pearson "A") for a pawl and ratchet coupling.  Indeed, hidden on the top of the chuck core, under the chuck shell is stamped, "PAT'D JUNE 19, 88."  While Parker was from Winchendon, Massachusetts the manufacturer of the brace was in New York, and I've been unable to learn more about this company.  The braces are quite nicely made, with lignum handles.  One of these braces (in a 10" sweep) is stamped "No. 32." .


Homer N. Parker is credited with at least two additional brace patents.  His third patent was awarded on Dec. 5, 1893 and is for a latch and pawl mechanism that features a narrow knurled ring protruding above the enclosed ratchet.  It is distinctive.  The 11 inch sweep brace below clearly has this patented mechanism (Pearson "C").  It is marked "481" on the lower bow.  The chuck shell is marked, "Manuf'd by / Mason & Parker /Winchendon, Mass."  The Parker in this partnership is probably Homer Parker.  The EAIA DAT provides no information on this manufacturer.  The brace is somewhat interesting since the jaws and chuck shell are clearly Barber's original 1867 patent, still being produced 25 years later.

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