Thursday, April 05, 2007

Oh my

Barely had I left the blog and moistened the teabag in the mug before the jovial gentleman from Parcel Force turned up on the doorstep and cheerfully announced "Something from America. Makes a change from Screwfix". You can say that again...

Mr Wiley Horne, for from him it came, claimed on the customs declaration that these were "used". And you thought him an honest man... He also claims I'm deserving of them. Personally I think a saint would be required to take an exam to prove worthy of ownership of such immaculate tools, and secondly he must be confusing me with someone else. A Yankee 2100 brace, forsooth? The nearest thing galootdom, ever a group amenable to diverse opinion, can come to deciding is the best brace ever made? Wowsers. A complete set of Russell Jennings bits, with threads, as it says, used by the cabinet maker and barely touched since the day they left the factory? And in one of those oh-so-appealing tiered boxes? Oh my.

And "oh my", folks, is pretty much all I've been able to articulate since. With the occasional oh gosh for variety. Good voters of America; Wiley for president at your earliest convenience, if you'd be so good. I'll work on the Honary Knighthood from this end.

Gosh, darn it, I'm a fortunate galoot to have such friends. Somebody either pinch me or pass a hanky 'cos I'm getting all emotional here...


  1. This is turning into quite an eventful week, Alf (bit of an understatement there, I think). How generous of Wiley....


    Paul Chapman

  2. Wowsers!
    Very, very nice. Well done Wiley - choice!

  3. Wow, I lusted after one of those boxes on the Classic Tools stand last year and it was much abused but they are such a good way of storing a set of bits.
    How about a few more pictures of that fine present? Wiley you are a gentleman sir.
    These do tend to put our mug in the shade, but enjoy your tea just make sure it comes without sawdust.

  4. Wow Alf... That is a very nice looking brace and set of bits. Mr. Wiley Horne has been generous in the extreme. Nice job Mr. Horne.

    Ian S.

  5. Dave, the mug's definitely not in the shade - no way. And I hear you on the bit box; I too hesitated long over that one and had dallied with the idea of trying to make my own but came up short on enough info. I've taken measurements and will try to get Sketch-Up to cooperate. Watch this space.

  6. I can't imagine there's anyone who could give them a better home. Mr. Horne, you are a Gentlman And A Scholar.

  7. Hi Alf,

    Your brace looks like one of the earlier chrome plated (as opposed to nickel) models. Can you describe it in a bit more detail for us. For example, what patent dates and other markings are present?


  8. Ian, shows what a dither I was in - usually the first person to bore you all with the detail! Anyway it's a "North Bros Mfg Co., Philadelphia, Division of Stanley Tool Works." one, which puts it between 1946 and 1956 I believe? No patent dates.

  9. Hi All,

    Just a couple more notes, in light of Ian's questions. To the best of my knowledge, the Yankee 2100's were all chromed; the Yankee 2101's are all nickel-plate, except maybe the war years, which are a mystery, because even Sandy Moss hasn't seen a war-years Yankee brace. The North Brothers' last two brace patents (there were four in all, over the years) expired in 1945, right after the war, so no patent dates beyond that point. Stanley acquired the firm in 1946, with production continuing for the next several years at the same factory in Philadelphia, and North Bros. is now a 'Div. of Stanley'.

    I've seen a lot of these braces, tend to collect good examples of Philadelphia-made braces, and in my experience, what you're looking for is a good example, rather than a particular typology. Every ratchet action I have seen is silky, but the cleaner-looking examples have seen less use (or easier use), and are less likely to have play in the head. Alf's is as tight as can be.

    Speaking of Alf, this lady has a way of carrying herself, and an approach to the world that always adds a note of cheer to go with our coffee (or tea!), and I think we're all very appreciative to her for that. I certainly am.


  10. Wiley,
    What a generous gift and so well suited to the recipient!
    You are indeed a gentleman!


  11. Wiley,

    Thanks for the clarification. I mistakenly thought that early models of both the 2100 and 2101 braces were chrome plated while later models of both were nickel plated. I have two 2101A's. A 12-inch one that is a North Bros. Division of Stanley era brace and a 10-inch Bell System one that is just marked as Stanley. Both of mine are nickel plated.



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