Early US 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. 

The earliest American mention of vises being produced domestically comes in January of 1789 in the Vermont Gazette noting that the Fairhaven Iron Works has a "vice maker" in it's employ producing Blacksmith Vices.

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.

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 M. C. Dibble of Detroit to manufacture vises at Sandy Hill, NY.  The concern may have been called Dibble & McCord.  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. 

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.  See image 2 below for the notice.

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.  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."

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.  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

Reported in the Evening Star (Washington D. C.) in February, 1857, George H. Feaman won a bronze medal for his patent vise.  No patent yet discovered.

Jacob Price - Carson St., Pittsburgh, PA - 1860

Arthur Hickman - Carroll St., Buffalo, NY - 1849 - 62

Isaac Hickman - N. Division St., Buffalo, NY - 1855

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)

  • James Case - E. 19th St. NY - 1856 - 1872

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."

F. P. Goss - Peter St., Salem, MA - Advertisement - 1886 - Francis P. Goss Patent #217,364 - Pipe Vise - 7/8/1879

The Tennessean of 11/18/1847 notes that "Bert's Patent Vices" are being sold by Alexander Fall.  Patent not yet discovered.

John Hyde - Clinton St., NYC - 1842

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.

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