Stephen B. McClellan was a fairly itinerant young man when he left his natal
Pennsylvania after the Civil War and traveled to Texas with his bother. At
some time he became a salesman for metal tools and worked as a salesman for
Millers Falls. In his later development of his patent drills and braces,
he frequently fitted them with Millers Falls chucks, leading some to think the
tools are Millers Falls products.
Pearson lists five "brace" patents for McClellan.
The first two (June 8, and June 19, 1897, #583922 and #585531, Pearson "B") have
him living in San Marcos, Texas, and are the patents associated with his unique
corner brace as shown below.
The drill or brace has an angled shield protecting the linkage
btween the crank shaft and the chuck shaft. This example has a Millers
Falls Barber's Improved chuck with McCoy's 1890 patent jaws (Pearson "A").
McClellan's next three patents were issued to him when he
resided in Brooklyn and New York City between 1900 and 1902. They are for
a "Universal Brace and Drill" and for a "Combined bit-brace and chain and bench
drill." The patents are Nov 6, 1900 (#661418, Pearson "A"), Nov 6, 1900
(#661419, Pearson "A"), and Dec. 2, 1902 (#714939, Pearson "NS"). They
resulted in an unlikely machine that is rarely found. Jim Schoenky, in a
recent article, (The Fine Tool Journal, Vol. 52(2):24, 2002) relates that it
reminds him of a Swiss army knife. He estimates that 20 to 40 are in
As can be seen, the shaft rotates, and can be locked into
virtually any position within a 270 degree arc. There is provision for
attaching a chain with a tensioning device. The tool contains a double
speed control and a unique ratcheting mechanism. It can even be altered to
operate under the power of a post drill. One gets the impression that
Stephen McClellan was an inventive, but not a very practical guy!
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