English Braces

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The History of Industries and Toolmaking in United Kingdom

  18th Century British Button Pad Stock Braces by Richard Arnold  

At a recent East Midlands TATHS meeting we had a discussion about early braces.

The first button pads to appear were made of iron rather than the usual brass examples commonly seen right through the 19th century.

The top brace in this trio is possibly the earliest and was made by John Ryley of Birmingham sometime around 1770.

The middle example is marked "Freeth" There are two possible candidates that may have been the maker. Firstly, Benjamin Freeth of Birmingham who is listed in 1770 as being a gimlet and auger maker, or from the same 1770 directory, Samuel and Samson Freeth, Edge tool makers, and factors.

The last brace in this trio is by William Laurie of Edinburgh, 1774-1813. This brace shows the transition to the more usual brass pad.

The iron form seem to be exceedingly rare, and I know of very few examples world wide. If anyone knows of other similar braces I would love to see them.

Richard Arnold
January, 2017
Website: http://oldwoodplanes.co.uk/

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