Early Vise Makers
Here we will list the names of early vise makers as we find them. The dates represent the earliest and latest records we find of them being in operation.
Archibald LaMont - Pittsburgh, PA - 1830 - 1840s. Here is an article explaining his vises. Archibald's biography can be found in "A Century and a half of Pittsburgh and her people." His biography notes that he never secured letters of patents on the vise he invented. The Pittsburgh Gazette of 3/30/1837 notes that the company of Wallingford & Co. (2nd St.) is selling "Lamont's patent solid box vices." The 2/22/1831 edition of the Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette also notes the sale of "Lamont's patent vices" by Cochran & Irwin at No. 26 Wood St. The 6/19/1832 edition of the Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette carries an article noting the virtual completion of the manufactory A. LaMont & Co. in Allegheney Town. Beyond vises, A. LaMont & Co. manufactured large screws for presses, mills, rolling mills, etc. Interestingly, the bottom of the article carries a warning to not infringe upon the patent rights of the subscribers, contradicting his biography which stated he never received patents for his vises. Archibald LaMont did receive a patent for dies and taps, which may or may not apply. It should be noted that Mr. Lamont's vises were celebrated as differing from imported models in that the screw receiver is cut from the 1 piece box, while imported receivers are brazed in. This may be where the patent comes into play.
Lemont, Archibald on January 29, 1830
#X005803 dies and taps Pittsburg, PA
E. D. McCord - Washington County, NY - 1831 (See image 1 below for 5/25/1831 newspaper article) - Patent listed in DATAMP under X6144 - Mr. McCord teamed up with Melville C. Dibble of Detroit to manufacture vises at Sandy Hill, NY. The concern may have been called Dibble & McCord but at least in 1831 it was known as the Sandy Hill Vice (Vise) Company. At some point between 1831 and 1842 (likely closer to the '42 date), Mr. McCord passed away and Mr. Dibble filed for bankruptcy on July 13, 1842.
A newspaper article from the 12/31/1831 edition of the Vermont Courier of Woodstock, Vermont confirms production of this vise noting it is ".....furnished at any quantity by the works of Mr. Melville C. Dibble, Sandy Hill, NY." The article also states the vise can be purchased at Craft, Hart & Pitcher's of Woodstock, Vermont and can be seen in use at the shops of Eaton & Gilbert's, Charles Veazie's, and Starbuck & Company.
This same article provides a detailed description of the vise as follows:
"All parts of the machine are cast iron, except the steel faces of the jaw, and the wrought iron threads of the screw. The great improvement, in point of principle, however, is that part of the construction by which the strain of the screw is constantly horizontal. By this means, much power is saved, and the wear of the machine is diminished. An important advantage, in point of economy, results from the casting of the vise; if any part breaks, that part can be replaces without incurring the charge of an entire new machine.
A further description of this vise can be found in an 1831 edition of Genesee Farmer. I should also note that this publication eludes to an earlier expose on the McCord vise indicating there may actually be a picture. Regardless, this article describes the vise as follows: "It unites an eminent degree of lightness, durability and power. Its strength results from the screw always acting horizontally, and both parts, the entering and receiving screw being perfectly parallel, whatever be the distance of the jaws of the vise. This enables the whole length of the thread of the screw to act uniformly and equally. The manner of its construction also gives the advantage of fixing it into its block much more firmly and solidly. This article also states "the agent passed through this city this morning with several tons of vises for the New York market."
Another newspaper article from 2/23/1831 discusses the vise, noting it has been under review for "18 months" and documents production of the vise by the "Sandy Hill Vice Company." This company is said in this article to be run by Enoch D. McCord and Melville C. Dibble.
Indications are that Mr. Dibble possibly manufactured something in Detroit in the mid 1830's. In 1842, soon after Mr. McCord passed away, we find newspapers from Detroit declaring the bankruptcy of the "firm of M. C. Dibble & E. D. McCord manufacturing vices at Sandy Hill, NY"
Thanks to jjoslin: From the 1878 book, History of Washington Co., New York, by Crisfield Johnson, in a section on the history of Sandy Hill, NY.
"The machine-shop of N. W. Holbrook, on River street, is the same building which was erected in about 1807 by Ahijah Jones as a carding-mill and clothiery. Jones died in 1812, and the mill was then used by Mr. Wheelock for cloth-making. Afterwards it became the tannery of Jesse Rhodes, and then a machine-shop by Enoch D. McCord, who is said to have been the first manufacturer of the steel-jawed cast-iron vise. About 1834 the establishment passed into the hands of Mr. Holbrook, the present owner."
John Osburn - Pittsburgh / Allegheny, PA - Early 1800's listed as a blacksmith and "vice" maker.
Morris Wilcox - Norwalk, OH - 1837 - According to the Huron Reflector (newspaper) of 7/25/1837, Mr. Wilcox is manufacturing vises against Patent #127 - Vise, Mode of constructing bench and other vises - Linus Dean - the article states the vises are being sold at the store of Hon. T. Baker in Norwalk. This article persists from July of 1837 to October of 1938, then I lose track of Mr. Wilcox.
A couple notes:
- CRSINMICH posted the patent in post #9 of the Vise History Thread on Garage Journal
- The lower part of the attached picture/article is not the same entity, and as far as I know has nothing to do with Mr. Wilcox, but I included it because it had a picture of a vise.
Morris Wilcox is a pretty common name, and the following information may or may not be pertinent to the vise maker:
- I found an 1835 land purchase by Morris Wilcox (from Utica, NY) of 135 acres in Bucyrus, OH. (40 or so miles from Norwalk)
- There are many indicators that there was a connection between Morris Wilcox and Utica / Oneida, NY but I've yet to find that trail definitively. This begins to make sense when we consider the patentee, Linus Dean, was from Utica, NY.
Here is an article by the Franklin Institute regarding the Vise and patent.
It appears Linus Dean went on to manufacture ornamental steel and iron products, and even had more patents in that realm. Here's an 1852 article about his factory.
James Massey - Plymouth St., Boston, MA 1849 - 1875 - In the 1849 Boston Directory, Mr. Massey is listed as a maker of anvils, vises and hammers. Listed as "Visemaker" in the Boston City Directory in 1870, 1880. Mr. Massey is listed in the 1850 (5th) (See Image 3 Below) and 1865 (10th) "Exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association" as having on display vises and anvils.
Marshall & Brothers - Pittsburgh, PA - 5/14/1849 edition of The Pittsburgh Gazette carries an advertisement for Wood & Violette (wholesalers & distributors) noting that they sell the "Marshall & Bro's celebrated solid box vice."
Kingsbury Root - Troy, NY - Manufactured wrought iron vises in the machine shop of the Empire Foundry. Machine shop burned down in 1847.
Edward Parker - Plymouth, CT - Manufactured vises sometime between 1850 and 1875. We found no patents for his vises but he did have many patents for other wares.
John Goldie - Plymouth St., Boston, MA 1852 // 1880 census reports Joseph Goldie in New London, CT as a "vise maker."
The 1883, 1885, and 1887 New London City Directory lists Joseph W. Goldie, Joseph Goldie Jr., and William H. Goldie as "Vise Maker"
Jeremy W. Bliss - Hartford, CT - Established a pattern and model making shop at the corner of Pearl and Trumbull (Old Jail Building) in June of 1852. On 11/30/1852, he was awarded Patent #9,429 - Attachment for converting the ordinary into a taper vise. Mr. Bliss initially began making patent models but by April of 1857, it appears he expanded his business and turned his attention to solicitor of patents. Mr. Bliss placed advertisements in every edition of the local papers for his entire 25 years in business, ending at his death in 1876.
John Woolley - Salutation St., Boston, MA 1844 - 1879 - Mr. Woolley is listed in the 1844 "4th Exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association" as having on display 4 new vices. Also listed as "Visemaker" in the Boston City Directory in 1844, 1848, 1849, 1855, 1860, 1862, 1864, 1865, 1869, 1882, 1883. William H. Woolley is listed in the 1861 & 1862 Boston City Directory as a "Visemaker." Benjamin F. Woolley is listed at 37 Salutation St. in the 1869, 1889, 1890, 1892 Boston City Directory as a "Visemaker."
We only find 2 patents for John Woolley:
- Patent March 16, 1831 - Edging Machine for turning the edges of tin, copper or sheet-iron
- Patent #4,184 - Cooking Stove
John Wetherell - corner of Anderson & Robinson Sts. Allegheny, PA - Listed in newspapers as "manufacturer of solid box and brazed box vises" in 1852.
John Wetherell Patent #1,132 - Vise
George H. Feaman - Reported in the Evening Star (Washington D. C.) in February, 1857, won a bronze medal for his patent vise. No patent yet discovered. This was most likely a woodworker's vise as Mr. Feaman can be found in earlier years as a "stage carpenter."
Stephen Herron - Beaver, above commons, Pittsburgh, PA - 1839 City Directory
Jacob Price - Carson St., Pittsburgh, PA - 1860
Isaac & Arthur Hickman - The 1854 Buffalo city directory lists both as "Vice Makers." Isaac only is listed in the 1849 directory as a Vice Maker, Arthur is listed as a Blacksmith. There is also a Joseph Hickman listed as a Blacksmith in 1849. In 1850, 1851 and 1852, only Arthur is listed. In the 1864 Buffalo Directory, Ambrose, Arthur and Thomas Hickman are all listed as Blacksmiths.
Arthur Hickman - Carroll St., Buffalo, NY - 1849 - 1863 - Buffalo City Directory Listings - As far as we can discern, Arthur was born during the brief Michigan move so we are not sure why he is listed in the given timeframe as a vise maker.
Isaac Hickman - 1849 Buffalo Directory at 110 East Swan St. // 1855 - N. Division St., Buffalo, NY - Isaac Hickman (Arthur's father) immigrated from Devonshire in 1847 to Buffalo, NY. From 1847 to 1849 he operated a "vise & tool shop." In 1849 he moved to Marshall, MI for only a year, returning to Buffalo and staying there until 1868. In 1869, he took a government job in CA as Master Mechanic at Mare's Island Navy Yard.
Henry N. Stone - (Successor to D. A. Taylor) 132 Commercial St., Boston, MA - 1865. Advertisement shown in Image 4 notes that he makes "Brainard Patent Vises."
Amos H. Brainard Patent #45,693 - Improved Vise - 1/3/1865
Amos H. Brainard Patent #169,516 - Improvement in Vises - 11/2/1875
James & William Case - NYC - Early 1860's (Former Peter Wright employees) - Please see the article entitled "About Vises" beginning on page 541 in this 1901 edition of Automotive Manufacturer regarding the Case brothers copying of Peter Wright designs, James made Anvils, and William made vises.
- James Case - E. 19th St. NY - 1856 - 1872 - List as a vise and anvil maker and repairer in the 1870 NYC directory.
Abiezer Jameson - A Jameson Company (owner) // The Bricksburg Manufacturing Company (Superintendent) - Mr. Jameson had 4 vise patents, #56,057, #66,712, #66,965, and #77,289. Appears to have operated as a "casting" company in the early 1860s per tax records. Also, Patent #69,361 by J. Howard Murray was assigned to Abiezer Jameson and T. S. Murray.
Chase, Shute & Co. - Kilby St., Boston - 1873 - May have simply been an importer. We find them in receipt of an import shipment from Liverpool, England in August, 1874
Dodge, Gilbert & Co. - Broad St., Boston - 1855-1880 - This company was importing iron and anvils. We do not know if they made vises or imported them.
May & Co. - 14-20 Oliver St., Boston - 1832 - 1873 - This company was importing sheet iron from 1832. Later in the 1800s their imports are listed as "hardware castings."
1882 Salem, MA City Directory Advertisement.
The Tennessean of 11/18/1847 notes that "Bert's Patent Vices" are being sold by Alexander Fall. Patent not yet discovered.
William Erb - Pittsburgh - 1860
Postley, Nelson & Co. - Pittsburgh - 1852 - 1871 - 1852, principals are Alexander Postly, S. D. Nelson, Jacob Park (occupation listed as Blacksmith) and David M'Clelland (later spelled McClelland). Likely preceded by the blacksmithing operation of M'Clelland & Grubbs (John), dissolved 9/8/1837, and operated thereafter solely by Mr. M'Clelland. On February 10, 1871, the Pittsburgh Gazette announces all machinery and equipment is for sale, and the company no longer viable.
The following exhibitors - Awards are listed in the 1844 Mechanic's Exhibition in Boston, MA:
- Mark Fisher - Newport, ME - One Parallel Vice // In 1847, Mr. Fisher and William Martin Jr. invented a method for welding cast iron to malleable iron or steel. In April of 1852, he teamed up with John H. Norris of Trenton, NJ to patent an improvement in a method of welding cast iron to steel. In 1854, the two invented a machine for polishing anvils. This team formed Fisher & Norris in 1851.
- N. S. Raymond - Utica, N. Y. - One Eccentric Vice. A convenient article for workers in wood.
The following exhibitors - Awards are listed in the 1849 Mechanic's Exhibition in Salem, MA:
- James Massey - Boston - One Anvil and 3 Blacksmith's Vices - Diploma
The following exhibitors - Awards are listed in the 1850 Mechanic's Exhibition in Boston:
- John Woolley - Boston - Three Bench Vices: One large Blacksmith Vice; One Finishing Vice. Well made and substantial articles, very credible to the workman.
- James Massey - Boston - Two improved vices. Well made and much improved on the common form. The shoulder of the Female Screw is so curved as to avoid the unfavorable action of a square shoulder where the jaws are widely opened. The shoulder on the Male Screw is formed in the segment of a sphere, and it bears on a corresponding surface. The action of this vice is easy and natural, and there is no tendency to bend or injure the screw or its box, when tightly screwed on large masses, as in the common form of vice. Two Anvils. - Diploma
- M. Fisher, and William Martin Jr. - Newport, ME - One Stand of Parallel Chain Vices. This article has received the highest commendation from mechanics, and is fast coming into use. It is considered in all respects a superior article, and a decided improvement over the common vice. - Silver Medal
- Josiah Cowles - Belchertown - A Wooden Vice. So arranged with gearing, as to keep the moveable jaw parallel with the stationary jaw. A good article. - Diploma.
- Prouty & Mears - Boston - One Vice - Silver Medal (We suspect however the medal was for various plow designs)
The following exhibitors - Awards are listed in the 1853 Mechanic's Exhibition in Boston:
- James Massey - Boston - Vises & Anvils. The apear to be good and substantial articles
The following exhibitors - Awards are listed in the 1860 Mechanic's Exhibition in Boston:
- James Massey - Boston - Improved Vises, 4 Anvils Excellent specimens, one large vise particularly well finished
- William H. Woolley - Boston - Vise, Well made wrought iron vise
- Spence & Company - Boston - Improved Bench Vise. A new modification of a parallel vise, which may answer well for small work
- A. J. Wilkinson & Company, Boston for W. T. Nicholson, Providence, R. I. - Vises, Levels, Egg Beater, etc. - Diploma
The following exhibitors - Awards are listed in the 1869 Mechanic's Exhibition in Boston:
- Henry M. Johnson - Boston - Vises - Well Made
- James Massey - Boston - Vises and Anvils - Well Made
- L. B. Hunt - Hyde Park - Union Vises - Well Manufactured
- F. L. Walker - Boston - 2 Cabinet Bench Vises - Diploma (See our Parker pages)
- George Stone - Boston - Parallel and Adjustable Vise - Bronze Medal
- Joseph H. Lewis - West Duxbury - Vise Patented 5/12/1869 - Diploma
- New England Vise Company - Fitchburg - Iron Vises - Good Articles
Levi A. Beardsley - Edmeston, NY - This article notes that the vises may be seen at S. A. Heath & Company.
- Levi A. Beardsley Patent #27,960 - Bench Vise
Joseph Allen - Palmyra, NY (Combined Anvil & Vise) - 1890
Foos Mfg. Company - Springfield, OH - (Combined Anvil & Vise) - 1884 - 1919
Richardson Mfg. Company - Worcester, MA - (Combined Anvil & Vise) - 1878 - 1916
Fairbanks & Company - NYC, NY = (Combined Anvil & Vise) - 1890
Stark Machine & Tool Company - Buffalo, NY - Swivel Vises - 1890 - 1901 (bankrupt)
Union Anvil & Vice Forge - Philadelphia, PA - 1852
Joseph Harper - 1871 Newark, NJ City Directory "Vise Maker"
Zeno M. Redfield - 1876, 1877, 1878, 1879 Meriden, CT City Directory "Vise Maker"
William J. Haggerty - 1876, 1879, 1881, 1883, 1884, 1886 Meriden, CT City Directory "Vise Maker"
Richard and Thomas Williams - 1887 New London, CT City Directory "Vise Maker"
John Hyde - Clinton St., NYC - 1842 // Research NOTE: There is a James Hyde, son of Thomas Hyde listed as a Vice Maker in this Dudley (England) register. James was born 5/13/1828.
George W., Joseph Sr., Joseph Jr., Joshua, Samuel, and Samuel J. Hyde - All listed in the 1883 (minus George W. and Samuel J.), 1884 (lists all plus William H. Hyde, 3 Joshuas - 1 listed as "Blacksmith", and Samuel J. listed as "Blacksmith"), 1887 New London, CT City Directory as "Vise Maker"
Thomas Ford - 1879, 1882, 1883, 1885, 1887, 1888 New London, CT City Directory "Vise Maker"
Lomas & Sager (Woodsfield, OH) - Newspaper advertisement from 7/16/1867 notes this company is a "manufacturer of vises."
Warren & Springer (Chicago, IL) - A 2/16/1879 advertisement from the Chicago Tribune identifies Warren & Springer (52 - 68 South Clinton St.) as a "manufacturer of vises."
Clarence Holcombe (Trenton, NJ) - "Visemaker" City Directory 1892, 1893, 1894
George W. Baum (New London, CT) - "Visemaker" City Directory 1891, 1892
Peter Keckison (Trenton, NJ) - "Visemaker" City Directory 1880
Samuel Robinson (Boston, MA) - "Visemaker" City Directory 1893, 1894
William Frederick (Trenton, NJ) - "Visemaker" City Directory 1878
Richard Williams (New London, CT) - "Visemaker" City Directory 1887, 1888
Valentine Matiacik (Trenton, NJ) - "Visemaker" City Directory 1891
Thomas Parr (Trenton, NJ) - "Visemaker" City Directory 1891
George Evans (Pittsburgh, PA) - "Visemaker" City Directory 1871
Jacob Parks (Pittsburgh, PA) - "Visemaker" City Directory 1864
Edward Dyer (Trenton, NJ) - "Visemaker" City Directory 1870
E. D. McCord Vise Article from 5/1831.
Morris Wilcox - Notice from 1837.
James Massey - 1850 (6th) "Exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association"
Henry N. Stone Advertisement - ca. 1865