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Antique Post Leg Vice identification


Paris

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First let me thank you for accepting me into the forum. My husband and I opened an antique shop in Ossian, Indiana close to 2 years ago and are doing our best to be as eclectic as possible in our 4,000+ square feet of shopping space in order to have something for virtually everyone. In doing so we, (more like me!) are having to do a great deal of research in areas we are not "experts" in and this is how I stumbled across your forum...and immediately learned something new about Molasses being a cleaning agent vs. Vinegar! IN August of this year we ventured to West Virginia looking for items not commonly found in our area and this is where we picked up this antique post leg vice which brings me to my question(s). I have uploaded several pictures as I want to learn their parts, who manufactured it and approximate age. I had already cleaned it with vinegar/oil to get the extensive amount of dirt off of it in order to show its true beauty! It measures just shy of 41" and opens to 4 1/2"... a couple more cranks would end with the pieces coming apart.  Thank you in advance and I look forward to my education!

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It's a Columbian, (non-beveled legs and the C on the mounting plate, check on the backside of the stationary jaw as some of them are stamped there.)  It was made in Cleveland Ohio. (The also made cast steel anvils with the same recessed triangle with a C in it.)

The screw/screwbox looks in excellent shape and is one of the hardest parts to repair if it was in bad shape; so good!

It looks complete except it looks like a tapered piece of steel that holds the mount in place was replaced with a bolt????   Should be V[  instead of T[

The are sized by width of the jaws, not the throw (how far it opens). 4" jaw width is a common size vise, 5" is a good shop sized and 6"+ gets a definite plus for size.

And it's a post vise or a leg vise or a blacksmiths vise. Not a post leg vise!

As for age; I'm not an expert there. I would guess between 1900 and WWII  so likely about 100 years old.  Which is not considered old for blacksmithing equipment. I still use stuff dated 1826 and "pre 1800" at times.

They were quite common in Ohio  when I lived there; I moved out west with 10 post vises all bought in Ohio. (A lot of them were Columbians as I was more interested in using vises and they tend to sell cheaper than the beveled leg fancy post vises...)

You might want to see if the Indiana Blacksmiths Association has a for sale section. 

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2 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

As for age; I'm not an expert there. I would guess between 1900 and WWII  so likely about 100 years old. 

Based on the square head bolt & square nut I'd agree it's probably pre WW2, assuming the "hinge bolt" and nut is original. 

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Welcome aboard Paris, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you'll find out how many members live within visiting distance.

Page one of a quick web search for "parts of a leg vise" has a diagram with labels in the images results. Of course if you open that hit you get to look at all kinds of vises and other stuff. Typical web search results. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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The C is definitely Columbian as Thomas Powers mentioned.  Columbian is a fairly common brand but decent.  Having it "branded" is a very slight plus as there are so many that have no brand so can't be identified.  With rare exception, branding adds only a very small amount to the value...maybe a few bucks and it might be easier to sell to some people with brand identification (there are collectors).

There are "columbian" advertisements online if you do a search and those sometimes help to pin things down.  As to company history:  "Columbian Hardware Co. acquired or succeeded Van Wagoner & Williams Hardware Co. about 1905. In 1921, they were Columbian Hardware Division of Consolidated Iron-Steel Manufacturing Co., and changed their name to Columbian Vise & Manufacturing Co. about 1927. Columbian was acquired by Warren Tool Corp. in 1965 or 1966, and Warren was sold to Wilton Corp. in 1994. The date that Columbian ceased operations is unknown. As of early 2019, Wilton's sign reading "Ohio Operations, Columbian Vise Plant" is still on the building."

I mostly chimed in to clarify the measurement thing.  Jaw width is the defining factor and that's usually what most of the pricing is based on.  In my neck of the woods, 80% of these are 4-1/2" and typically go for less than $ 100 in good shape (at antique stores..less in other places).  You'll see a few 5" or 5-1/2" once in a while and those get a little more.  Above that is where things start getting interesting.  6" and up is where the prices start climbing steeply because they are less common.  7's are quite rare to find and the price usually reflects that.  8 are like hen's teeth to find.  I think someone mentioned bigger once but that's so rare you might as well be looking for leprechauns.

And...smaller can get interesting too.  There are some smaller ones (3 usually..but I've heard tell of 2-1/2)  which show up once in a while and those tend to be a little bit rarer.  They don't usually bring a bunch of money for the rarity of being smaller but hold their own relative to the 4-5" assuming they are in good shape.  It's sort of a "cute factor" thing with the small sizes.

And a bench version without the leg.  Everything looks about the same but no leg (and not cut off).  Not a great value but still price like any old bench vise (not blacksmith's leg vise)  of comparable size.

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7 hours ago, Paris said:

Ossian, Indiana

We won't remember this once leaving this post, hence the suggestion to edit your profile to show it in this thread. READ THIS FIRST

BTW Welcome to the forum and we have a Tailgating section for members wanting to buy & sell things.

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On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 10:29 PM, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

We won't remember this once leaving this post, hence the suggestion to edit your profile to show it in this thread. READ THIS FIRST

BTW Welcome to the forum and we have a Tailgating section for members wanting to buy & sell things.

 

READ THIS FIRST thanks for the direct to learn more about the forum and I just edited my profile. 

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On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 3:21 PM, ThomasPowers said:

a tapered piece of steel that holds the mount in place was replaced with a bolt????   Should be V[  instead of T[

Not sure what piece you are referencing as I don't know what each part is called.  Also looked for other stamped information and was unable to locate any though there is a spot that could possibly be a 3 but it is too hammered to tell. Oh, the one measurement I did incorrectly of the jaw width is actually 4 1/4" across vs how wide it opened. 

On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 5:38 PM, G-son said:

Based on the square head bolt & square nut I'd agree it's probably pre WW2, assuming the "hinge bolt" and nut is original. 

 

The "hinge bolt" is original if that helps with dating the piece. 

 

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I think I was seeing an optical, reviewing the photos again I see the wedge in place and so it looks completely there. (A bit unusual thereby as the mounting system and spring are the most easily lost parts as they are not positively connected to the vise body.)

I generally buy vises missing the mounting system and spring as they are cheaper that way and it's  an easy thing to fix---some Columbians used basically a U bolt and a piece of angle iron to make the mounting system.

BTW the reprints of the Sears Roebuck catalogs from 1897, 1905, 1908 shows blacksmithing equipment and some even show replacement screws/screwboxes for sale; as I recall the screw/screwbox was often more than half the cost of buying a complete postvise.

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  • 1 year later...

Hello all!

my father picked up this blacksmith vice somewhere down the line, he’s passed and I’d like to see what I have,if anything!?

any help to identify and possibly value the item would’ve appreciated!

thanks! Oh, I can’t seem to find a place to attach photos??

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When you add a comment or a post, there's an image of a paperclip at the bottom of the box next to the words "Drag files here to attach, or choose file...". That's where you add photos. 

Welcome to IFI!

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Please note that there is a limit to the size of the pictures that will be allowed. (I believe this is discussed in Read This First; but I don't know as my archaic cell phone doesn't have any trouble with picture size; just with the clay drying out and the wedge ended reed getting lost!)

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6 hours ago, JHCC said:

When you add a comment or a post, there's an image of a paperclip at the bottom of the box next to the words "Drag files here to attach, or choose file...". That's where you add photos. 

Welcome to IFI!

Thank you

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