Benjamin B. “B. B.” Hill – the name not easily
recognized by casual users and collectors of the vintage
drilling and boring tools. Indeed, his contribution to this
field was limited albeit one that set a principle for the future
development of similar tools.
From the mid-1850s forward there were multiple
attempts to design a tool that, in tandem with a bit brace,
would provide a convenient way to drill holes in tight spaces.
The need and the solution were well described in one of the
“This instrument can be used in the same manner
as the bit-stock in common use, and is also intended for boring
holes that are at the junction of two planes or close to the
corner of the walls of a room where there is not sufficient
space to allow the common bit stock to be turned, as is often
required to be done for bell-wires, gas fixtures, &c.”
“B. B.” Hill was the first to design, patent,
and manufacture such a tool. It was designed to work with a
common bit brace and provide access to tight spaces to drill. It
was called a "Diagonal Bit Holder".