adventure with bit braces begun very early for Millers Falls Co.,
in fact, even before the name of
Millers Falls Co. existed. In 1864 Levi J. Gunn
and Charles H. Amidon, founders of the Gunn, Amidon & Company, purchased
patent rights from William H. Barber for his "Holder for
Bits and Other Tools"
patent No. 42,827-05/24/1864.
This early investment propelled them into tool
making business and establishment of the Millers Falls Company.
"We wish to call attention to the fact that all our Barber
Braces are now made of Steel, both the Sweep and Jaws, and they
are all heavily Nickel Plated. Though these improvements
have added largely to the cost, the price remains the same.
We believe these good will command the market wherever they are
New York, April 15th, 1878.
It was a
standard practice of Millers Falls Co. to create a
specific brace model and assign a name to that model, then
assign a model number and create variation of this model with
consecutive numbers in that group.
For example the
group of braces called Barber Ratchet Braces
listed in 1878 catalog was assigned model
No. 3X and consisted of 3 braces: No. 31 - 12
inch sweep, No. 32 - 10
inch sweep, and No. 33 - 8
inch sweep. In the next available catalog from 1986
this model was renamed to Barber's Improved Ratchet Brace
and consisted of one additional brace, No. 30 - 14
inch sweep. The catalog "B" - 1903 lists this
series with one additional brace, No. 34 - 6 inch sweep.
This set of braces was manufactured into late 1950s
under the same name and numbering convention.
The braces presented here are only partial sample of large array
of these important tools produced by Millers Falls Company.
The accompanying description of each brace is taken from