This completely unmarked brace is in super condition.  The appearance of the lignum vitae cup handle suggests a brace from the 1870s (it is thin, cupped underneath, and nicely turned and decorated).  The nickel finish is almost complete.  In a 10" sweep, the brace has an original Barber's chuck with the proper jaws.  A quality brace, it looks pirated without marks, to infringe on the Barber patent.



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This brace has no discernable mark on it, but because of its dinged and worn condition, and extant mark would be difficult to find.  The uncommon ratchet consists of a rotating vertical cam that is knife edged in two opposite sides in two positions, and allows the pawl to rotate against the bevel.  This is most likely the invention of F.P. Pflegar who patented a similar mechanism on March 21, 1876 (#175151, Pearson "B").  Pflegar's original design had the knife edges on a vertical plate that rotated around a pin in one end, not a cam pinned in the middle. 


Pflegar was located in New Haven, Connecticut--the home of the William Ives Co--and similar braces are reported that are marked with the Ives name.  It is not unlikely that this brace was also produced by Ives.




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George Gavin and Lawrence Cromer, from Eureka, Nevada, were granted a brace patent on July 19, 1887 (#366826, Pearson "A")  for an unusual chuck that accepts a special bit with a notched tang.  Not very successful, this brace is not often seen.


The flat spring seems to require a tool to pry it up to release the bit.  Probably the most outstanding feature of this brace is that it likely the only brace patented in Nevada.




This unmarked ratcheting brace was found in a lot of braces purchased at a Rhode Island tool auction in the summer of 2016.  It is a well made brace that has an 1880s look to it, with a fully clad lignum top handle, very shapely brass or gunmetal bushings holding a lathe decorated wrist handle, and a chuck with nicely knurled rotating shell that holds a captive pair of interlocking jaws.  The brace has a 10" sweep, and is completely unmarked.

The ratcheting mechanism is one that I've not seen.  The ratchet selector is a pin with a ball finial that projects from the  top middle of the horizontal part ratchet housing.  The vertical part of the housing, with attached chuck is held with a set screw which projects into a groove below a toothed disk that serves as the ratchet teeth.  The teeth project upwards into a horizontal bar having gaps.  This bar is moved backwards and forwards by the pin that projects from the top.  In its full forward position the right ratchet is engaged, and the sliding bar projects though a slot in the front of the ratchet housing.  When the pin is pulled back, the bar slides back into the ratchet housing,, and the left ratchet is engaged.  The mid-position of the bar is the locked position.  I can find no brace patent that corresponds to this mechanism.  Brace collector Stan Morgan has a very similar brace, also unmarked, that differs only in that the pin on his brace does not have the small ball finial of mine.




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