Tool Talk

Picture Forum => 6 Inch & Under Club => Topic started by: mikeswrenches on November 21, 2013, 08:34:14 PM

Title: A very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: mikeswrenches on November 21, 2013, 08:34:14 PM
This is one of the more unusual vises that I have managed to gather up.  While it looks like an ordinary very small bench vise, it has a rather unique feature:  It has a quick adjust built into it.

The quick adjust feature is accessed by simply lifting up on the front of the moveable jaw and moving it either forward or back to the required position and then putting the front of the jaw back down to its at rest position.  You then turn the handle to finish tightening the part between the jaws.

Rather than having the threaded rod engage either a long nut or threads in the casting, this one uses a half nut that engages the threads on the rod.  In order to make this work, the casting where the guide bar goes in, is raised at the front so that the guide bar can be lifted up to disengage the half nut.

I think the pictures will make it a little easier to understand how it works. 

The patent drawing isn't real helpful as it doesn't show the mechanism very well.  The patent was originally for a wood working vise but someone at Athol apparently thought it would be a good idea to use it on a bench vise.

The patent no. Is 119,658 with a reissue no. of RE4637

This little guy is marked No. 0 on the side.  The jaws are only 1 1/8 in. wide and open up to 1 1/4 in., with an overall length of but 4 5/8 in.

Has anyone run across one of these or maybe a larger one.  Also does anybody have an Athol catalog?

Mike
Title: Re: An very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: scottg on November 21, 2013, 11:29:55 PM
   One of the most desirable small vises ever made. 
 Athol was the parent of Starrett, I think.
      I had a 3".
  Never saw a size 0........ drooooooooooool
yours Scott   
Title: Re: An very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: oldtools on November 22, 2013, 02:37:50 AM
That is too cool...
Title: Re: An very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: mikeswrenches on November 22, 2013, 09:51:34 AM
Scott and oldtools, Thank you!  Below is some more info on the origins of the Starrett co.  Courtesy of the Davistown Museum in Liberty, Maine

L. S. Starrett Co.
Athol and Newburyport Massachusetts, 1880-1994-

Tool Types: Calipers, Dividers, Household Tools, Levels, Machinist Tools, Rules, and Squares
Identifying Marks: L.S. STARRETT CO./ATHOL.MASS (sometimes on one line and/or without “CO”); The L.S.S.Co./Athol,Mass.

Remarks: The L. S. Starrett Company was founded in 1880 in Athol, Massachusetts and is still in operation.  They are a manufacturer of machinists' tools such as rules, squares, calipers, gauges and dividers.

Laroy (often incorrectly recorded “Leroy”) S. Starrett (April 25, 1836-1922) invented and produced the HASHER, a meat chopping machine patented May 23, 1865. A few years later, he went to work for the Athol Machine Co., which produced it in 1868. Circa 1875 he was prompted to quit due to mounting legal disagreements over patents including a particular combination machinists’ square he produced through the Richardson Machine Shop in 1877.

In 1880, he won the lawsuit against Athol and formed his own company, buying out Charles P. Fay of Springfield, Massachusetts’s caliper and divider stock, machinery, and patents in 1887. His wild success allowed him to buy out his old employer and legal foil, Athol Machine Co., in 1905.

Starrett held over 100 patents, including a particularly significant micrometer patented July 29, 1890. He also produced tools with pre-1900 patents of Frederick A. Adams, Frank G. Lilja, Morris F. Smith, Burnside E. Sawyer, John D. Sloan, Edward C. Clapp, Carl G. Osteman, J.H. Cook, Patrick Kennelly, and George Thompson (Nelson 1999).


Title: Re: An very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: mikeswrenches on November 24, 2013, 07:25:13 PM
For those of you that are interested, here is some additional Athol/Starrett history.  It seems that after the acquisition of The Athol Machine Co. in 1905, Starrett must have kept the company as a subsidiary rather than closing it, because in 1930 the Athol Machine Co. name was changed to The Athol Machine & Foundry Co.  This lasted until about 1963 when Athol ceased operations.

Somewhere around 1999 Starrett sold the vise line to Yost.

Interestingly Laroy Starretts last patent was for a vise...a quick opening one no less.  And it was assigned to the Athol Machine Co.  it was patent no. 1,428,996, dated Sept. 12, 1922.

Mike
Title: Re: An very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: DM11 on January 26, 2014, 09:17:16 PM
That is a really cool vise. Thanks for the company histry.
Title: Re: An very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: Plyerman on January 27, 2014, 08:14:17 AM
Random memory here, but this reminds me of the old machinist I used to work alongside. His favorite joke (told with a heavy lisp) was how all of his Starrett tools came from Athol, Mathachuthettes.   (funnier to hear than it is to read)
Title: Re: An very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: leg17 on February 03, 2014, 07:15:05 AM
I have a No. 2.
Jaws are 2" wide.
The centerpiece of my 2" clamp-on vise collection.
(One of a few vices I have)
Title: Re: An very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: mikeswrenches on May 09, 2014, 04:22:52 PM
Leg 17, Is yours also a quick opening style?

Mike
Title: Re: An very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: leg17 on May 09, 2014, 08:44:41 PM
Leg 17, Is yours also a quick opening style?

Mike

Yes, just like the one in the photo.
The quick acting action is stripped a little.
Probably why it didn't catch on well.
Title: Re: An very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: scottg on May 10, 2014, 07:57:32 AM
The quick acting action is stripped a little.

 Mine was not catching well when I met it either. I wish I could remember exactly what I did. Sorry its been too long.
 But with a slow investigation and judicious use of a file I got it going beautifully.
 Mine was hanging up somewhere and not dropping down on the screw easy enough.
 yours Scott
Title: Re: An very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: joe salami on May 25, 2016, 02:59:32 PM
looking for jaws replacement for an old athol vice p/n on vice 636 if need call joe cell 617 799 0751 thanks
Title: Re: An very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: Bill Houghton on June 13, 2016, 01:01:22 PM
I briefly owned a Yost woodworking vise using the same approach.  It was not as effective on the woodworking vise, as the jaws tended to splay out at the top as the vise took up all the play necessary for the quick release feature.

That said, if I found one of those at a yard sale, it would certainly ride home with me.
Title: Re: An very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: mikeswrenches on June 13, 2016, 05:32:10 PM
A friend of mine who is aware of my interest in small vises, brought me by a No. 2 Athol vise that he found at a garage sale. The clamp screw isn't proper and it was a little rusty, but it cleaned up ok.  Jaws are 2 in. wide if I remember correctly. Unfortunately I'm not home to measure it.

Now the hunt is on for a No. 1, which I think probably has 1 1/2 in. jaws. 

Mike
Title: Re: An very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: Jlfrost on September 01, 2018, 08:16:27 PM
I too own a  #0 athol !! I've had it a year now and have search everywhere for Info and here we are !!! Hell yeah! Every dog has his day !! I purchased the # 0 at an estate sale on the final day and I am ashamed to say what I paid.!!!! It's for sale !! For sale Athol #0 vise in exceptional condition !!  $$$$!!! Lol.  Can't wait to make someone's day !!!
Title: Re: An very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: kwoswalt99 on September 01, 2018, 08:20:38 PM
I saw one at an antique store but it was broken in every spot imaginable.
Title: Re: An very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: Papaw on September 01, 2018, 08:25:40 PM
Welcome to Tool Talk ! Find the Introduction Forum and introduce yourself ! By the way- You are member #2500 !
Title: Re: A very strange little vise by The Athol Machine Company
Post by: mikeswrenches on September 02, 2018, 03:45:37 AM
Since first posting this back in 2013 and then in 2016, I have also acquired the No. 1. They all come up on eBay occasionally.

Mike