WILLIAM A. IVES
William Ives who worked in New Haven, Connecticut and surrounding towns
(Wallingford, Hamden) from 1868 to 1917 was a prolific inventor of braces and
other boring tools between 1868 and 1884, when he received at least a dozen
patents for these devices. Although he was known best, perhaps, for his
conflicts with the
Millers Falls Co.
One of Ives' braces is shown below. Until I cleaned this tool up a little I
was certain it was a Millers Falls Mfg. Co brace with Rose patent wrist handle
and Barber Improved chuck. The bow, however, is stamped, "Patent Feb 7, 71, W.A.
Ives & Co." (Pearson "B"). The patent is for a pair of unpinned jaws that hook
at their bases into recesses in the shaft of the chuck. But it fooled me.
Millers Falls entered into litigation with the Ives Company over several patent
In addition to the above Ives brace with Rose wrist handle I own several additional Ives
patent braces. The
first of these is a sleeve brace with 14" sweep and cocobolo handles marked,
"No. 10." It has a chuck shell in two parts that is marked with the patent
date May 7, 72. This is for patent #126395 that shows the chuck.
This device pushes the jaws through a fixed mouth part of the shell, as the
upper part of the shell screws it forward. It rates a "B" from Pearson for
rarity. This chuck is also marked with a second patent date - Sept 23,
62. The only brace patent awarded on that date
was to G. Stackpole for a split chuck design that has nothing to do with this
Another Ives' brace has a chuck marked with the same two patent dates, but
has other differences. It is marked, "No. 23," has an 8" sweep, stained
hardwood wrist handle, and a cast iron cup handle. More research is needed
on the Sept 23 patent date. The stamp on both braces is equally obscure
each brace with respect to the putative "6", even though the rest of the mark is
A very similar brace of mine is also marked with the strange 1862 patent
date and the May 7, 1872 date of Ives' patent listed above. It is also
marked "23"on the lower bow and has an iron top handle.
final Ives' marked brace in my collection is really a pretty brace in great
condition. This 10" brace is marked, "W. A. Ives & Co. / New Haven, Ct" on
the chuck shell. The lower bow is marked, "No. 13" and a different stamp
has deeply impressed, "52" over the "13" of the older stamp. The cup
handle on this brace is a delicate one made of lignum vitae (lots of sapwood)
that is dished out on its underside. There are remnants of a paper label
on its top. The wrist handle is rosewood with turned decoration and
Of some interest are the clear patent marks on the chuck shell. These
(there are two) include the aforementioned Sept 23, 62 date that has no apparent
relevance to this brace. The second date is Feb 7th, but no year.
Probably the reference is to Ives' patent of 1871. But the chuck appears
to have no relation to that patent, containing instead jaws that include grooves
to engage the threads on the inside of the chuck shell. But a look at all
of Ives' patents shows this arrangement of jaws, threaded and spring loaded, is
identical to the patent of Ives & A. Rutz, (March 21, 1876; #175105; Pearson,
NS). It appears that
Ives was quite cavalier about the patent markings on his braces!
marked brace is a nice sleeve brace with 9" sweep and a chuck with interlocking
jaws. The chuck shell is clearly marked, "W. A. Ives & Co. / New Haven,"
and "Pat. May 30, 1882." This is for Ives" chuck patent (#258,764, Pearson
"B") of that date. The chuck features a captive rotating shell that moves
the jaws. It is completely faithful to the patent description. The
brace is marked with a model number, "202.". It has rosewood wrist
handle held between pewter retaining rings, and a lignum vitae top handle.
Another putative Ives
brace is one with a ratchet patent by F.P. Pflegar, also of New Haven
A final Ives product is this auger handle. Not marked, but it clearly
is a product of Ive's patent number 247,062, awarded on Sept. 13, 1881 (Pearson
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