Abel W. Streeter of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts is credited with at least
four brace patents. The earliest of those patents is marked on this brace that rates an "A"
(fewer than 5 examples seen) in Ron Pearsonís book. The patent is #12289,
awarded on July 23, 1855. It is for "center fastening bit" and apparently
includes a window in the chuck for aligning the bit when it is tightened with a
side screw. (Note that the chuck shown on an earlier unmarked Taylor patent
brace has a similar device).
Streeter apparently manufactured his own braces, for this one is marked with
his name and location, as well as the patent date. The wrist handle on this
brace is composed of two halves of turned beech, pinned into a central slot or
flange in the shaft. The cup handle is turned from beech in an almost European
fashion, and has a distinctive urn-shaped iron quill.
A second brace of mine marked with this early patent is also marked with the
1855 and the date of Streeter's second patent (No. 16938) issued on March 31,
1857 (Pearson "B"). This brace, while sharing the same chuck mechanism, is
distinctly different in appearance. It has a swollen area of the iron
shaft for a wrist handle, and a fairly conventional iron cup handle attached to
an unadorned nearly cylindrical quill. The patent includes the details of
the mechanism of attaching the top handle and quill that is shown on this brace,
as well as proposing a jointed frame to allow it to collapse into a smaller
package. This feature is not found on my brace.
fourth brace patent was No. 61113, issued on January 8, 1867 (Pearson "B").
It features a conical chuck shell, knurled at the bottom, that twists to
close the jaws that ride in protective slots. The chuck is quite "quick
acting" with the jaws fully opening and closing within one turn of the shell.
The two braces below are marked with the patent date, Streeter's name and the
Shelburne Falls location. The smaller is about a 9 inch sweep, and the
larger, 10 inches. Both braces have iron cup handles and a swollen frame
for the wrist handles.
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