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Frank Turley

Researching leg vise history

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A recent 'Turley Grad' purchased 3 leg vises from a New York farmer, and one turned out to be what I think is a rarity. It has jaws 9" in width and a scant 3" in height.. The raised letter markings are "GOLDIE" AND "133 ATTORNEY." He googled and found that the maker was Joseph Goldie located at 133 Attorney Street, New York, NY. I found Goldie in my Directory of American Toolmakers as a maker of "anvils, rules, and vises," 1842-1849. The son, Joseph Goldie, Jr., made "miniature vises and anvils," probably for jewelers. The big vise has the wrap-around U-shackle with its split and splayed mounting bracket. It has chamfered legs and pivot beam. It has a nicely turned "bell shape" on the screw box, not too unlike the Peter Wright's.

I'm always interested in the history of leg vises and the early makers, because compared to anvils, there is a paucity of such information.

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I will post some better pics after I can get it cleaned up more, but here are some that I have already...

I started cleaning it up the other night with a wire wheel when I found the "GOLDIE" impression on one of the leg chamfers. When I looked at it again in the morning I could see the "133 Attorney" underneath some remaining rust on the opposite chamfer. I recently got my hands on a sandblaster and some "coal slag" media so I will see what that can do about the spots I can't get to with my angle grinder. Unfortunately today is pretty rainy and the two bags of "coal slag" I had in the back of my truck are now wet. I'll have to wait for them to dry out. Some of the attached photos were taken before I started cleaning it up and some are during. You can see in two of the photos the welded jaws one of which has started to separate.

In any case I'm pretty excited about my find! Especially since it was going to get scrapped at the end of the month!

Nick

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Are the jaws de-laminating or are there set screw holding the jaw tips in more like a modern bench vise? Your new vise definitely looks like it had some specialty use with those jaw shapes

I picked up a nice Goldie vise myself this summer in Rochester New York while at a summer Ironworking apprenticeship. Mine is only 6.5 inch and the jaws look much more like a typical post vise. Also my screw dose not have the nice ball end like yours. But a good vise none the less. I am happy the hear my new vice is so old and still in good shape. Some one had sawed off one of the mount arms so I forge welded a new arm on. I also need to make a new spring.

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Just this morning I was at an auction and was able to aquire a Peter Wright 1-0-12 anvil, an Indian Chief post vice, two cast iron - approx. 36 inch long, hemispherical shaped tools having a mushroom shaped keyway on the bottom side,( stove pipe form anvils???), an unknown make 6 inch shear on tripod, and assorted tinsmith tooling and such. Question is: where was Indian Chief vices made.

Thanks for the help>

Chad White
Mt. Pleasant, Iowa

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I think this vise might have been made for some form of sheet metal work, more like as a small bending break for repetitive work. The jaws are just too light for forge work.

Doc

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Chad, congratulations on the auction bud. Looking forward to seein the plunder and gettin it up and running. Perhaps another mini hammer in at Threshers. I haven't talked to Kieth about his Christmas schedule just yet.

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I have a sweet GOLDIE vise that is just sitting around my shop since I purchased it. Any interest in it? What kind of a value do these things have?

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About twice as much here as where I used to live and based a lot on the state of the screw.

So putting it's location and a picture of the screw would really help!

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Screw looks to be in quite good condition for that old a vise. You will probably get more from a collector than from a smith though.

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Was Goldie manufacturer? Sure looks like they just took a PW and stamped there name on it.

Maybe they purchased the legs from PW and did the finish work.

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Frank- an interesting feature of old-old vices that I used to find where I used to live (London, UK) was that rather than the U-shackle attaching the vice to that Y-shaped thing, they had a tenon on the Y-shaped thing that went into a mortice on the vice itself that was held, like the shackle, by a pin. I have such a vice mouldering away somewhere, I will take photos when I can.

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We're all well aware of tenon mounts as an earlier form. Frank was looking at one I brought to one of his talks on post vises fairly recently. He told me it most likely was pre-1800 and as it was small, 3.5" jaw and light duty vise it probably came over from England as part of an immigrating tradesman's baggage. (I picked it up at Quad-State 3 years ago for US$20; but I did have to build the mount and spring for it---I did a tenon mount for it and still use it with my "old" smithing demo set up, (not the Y1K one though...)

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OK everybody interested in the history of the postvise that has done even minimal research on it or has listened to Frank talk about them here in the USA. (And Frank Turley is a noted demonstrator as well as running a blacksmithing school since the 1970's...)

BTW are you familiar with James Watt's postvise in his workshop in the Science Museum in London, UK? Piddly little thing yet he changed the world using it. I have such a plethora of larger ones and accomplish much less...

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My Turley grad student, Nick, contacted me recently regarding the "Directory of American Toolmakers"* and that prompted me to google and recover this thread. In the course of discussion, the subject of the old tenon-mounted vises came up. I'm enclosing photos of my little treasure. I consider this vise to be an antique, and I do not use it. It has a broken "ear" the little projection to keep filings out of the works. Otherwise, it is in very good condition. There is lots of guesswork in discussing these vises. I assume that this is English made, because we find these in the U.S., supposedly as early imports. I had one that was stamped Sheffield. I assume that the age of the pictured vise is 1800 plus or minus 30 years, again guesswork. The tenoned vises were "composites." The box was a forge welded tube with a coil of square-sectioned  stock brazed within for the internal threads. The stops, to keep it from turning. usually two, were brazed on.The external portion of the box was composed of perhaps 3 rings that were brazed together and then lathe turned. A careful cleaning will sometimes show lines of brass left from the original brazing. These old vises rarely exceeded a 4 1/2" jaw width.

 

The tenon for the mount was often rectangular in section going through a hole in the fixed leg. This necessitated having a hole in the leaf spring. To tighten the assembly, the tenon had a carefully placed slot in it to receive a wedge.

 

The pivot beam usually had an unthreaded, headed bolt with slot to receive a wedge, not a nut and bolt. If there is a nut and bolt, it was probably added at a later date.

 

My pictured vise has a jaw width of 4 5/16" and an overall length of 36".

 

*Directory of American Toolmakers, Robert F. Nelson Editor, Early American Industries Association, 1999.1,170 pages. The book is a fairly comprehensive listing of toolmakers working before 1900.

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