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07-21-2009, 06:35 PM #1
W. Schollhorn Corp, W. Bernard Combined Pliers and Cutter
The recent thread about the PlieRench. prompted me to take a closer look at an old wrench hiding in the corner of one of my toolboxes I had long ignored.
Close inspection of the stampings revealed "Bernard's pat July 19, 1892" and "W. Schollhorn New Haven Conn" around the hinge points. Also a 'running dog' logo with the word "Bernard" inside is stamped on the handle.
No patent numbers, but a patent search turned up No. 479,113 dated July 19, 1892 for a "Combined Pliers and Cutter"
Features include formed steel metal handles (not solid) and jaws which open parallel. Most of the nickel plating is long worn away on my pliers, as is the diamond cross-hatching on the handle. It's about 5 inches long.
Anyone care to guess at it's age? (I have no idea.)
Last edited by Steamin; 07-22-2009 at 10:24 AM. Reason: added OAL
07-21-2009, 07:14 PM #2
I have a dozen or two examples of Bernard pliers. Many of them I bought new around 1970. But I seldom pass up a chance to buy a used one in decent condition. They were made in several sizes and with several jaw shapes, often without the cutter. Some are diagonal cutters only. There is a special version made for splicing round leather belting for Singer industrial sewing machines.
They have been around for over 100 years and, like the Eifel Plierench, are very useful tools.
07-21-2009, 08:33 PM #3
the jaws parallel together , allowing for even pressure , they are especially good for working with wire, they are very common on e-bay , mine where less then 10.00 with shipping .
07-22-2009, 04:37 AM #4
We had some of those in army aviation maintenance, along with the spinning safety-wire pliers. They had so much cosmoline on them, we had to soak em in JP4 for days to get them loosened up.
They're pretty handy, even for home shop use.
07-22-2009, 04:53 AM #5
We always called those "fisherman's pliers". Most had a small groove up the middle, with a larger dimple recess about 2/3 of the way up.
Story was told me that they are great for removing hooks from you.....Push hook the rest of the way through your finger, clip off barb, then use the pliers to pull out........ I'm sure it would work, not so sure about the specialty useage intent....
I not only have several pair of these pliers, but also a wire cutter made the same way with similar handle and force multiplier. Made by same company as the pliers.
The parallel grip is great, some tasks just can't be done well with the "bird's beak" type pliers.
08-04-2011, 02:07 AM #6
I recently bought some parallel pliers on ebay .. and was quite fascinated them when they arrived, because of the extra bits and pieces on them! Having read this, I'm pretty sure it would have been the Singer leather cutting tool - a spike comes down to pierce the leather belt as it is cut - presumably to join the two ends together in some way.
Is anyone able to confirm if that is indeed what I have .. and what the date might be please?
08-04-2011, 03:15 AM #7
Yes, you have the special model for industrial sewing machine leather belts. The join is made with a loop of soft steel wire, which is inserted in the two punched holes and bent over with the pliers, pressing it into the leather.
08-04-2011, 03:37 AM #8
Interesting stuff - thank you
08-04-2011, 03:48 AM #9
The round-belt maintenance version might also be useful to someone who has early machines with round belts, or watchmaker's lathes.
08-04-2011, 05:13 AM #10
Yep, I have several sets of them too, and they are my most often used pliers. All were bought on ebay or at flea markets. One set is nice and shiny, like new, and is marked "Sergeant & Co., West New Haven, Conn. Made In USA".
Are they still available new?
Another great use for them is holding small metal parts while grinding on an abrasive belt or disk. I have a beat-up pair that I use just for that.
They're also wonderful for pulling dowel pins. In my musical instrument business, most of my routing templates and fixtures are made from MDF using 1/8" steel dowel pins to index on parts and as stops. These pliers have a very strong grip on a smooth hard small pin.
Last edited by Bruce Johnson; 08-04-2011 at 01:11 PM.
08-04-2011, 05:26 AM #11
I bought them to use for bassoon reed making - I'm not sure I will find a use for the leather cutting bit - but you never know - it's good to know its history though!
How old do you think they might be?
08-04-2011, 05:35 AM #12
Hey, look at this !
SARGENT TOOLS from Rostra Tool
SARGENT TOOLS from Rostra Tool
best of all, this:
The company is still in business!!!
ON EDIT: That last web page explains why some of you fellows own several of these tools. I had no idea that there were more than three varieties, plain, with cutters, and the round-belt punch model.
Digging down in their wonderful website, I see the pliers are STILL AVAILABLE:
Oh, be still my beating heart! An american company still making quality hand tools in the USA, and keeping up with current market needs (the PEX tools and the various electrical/electronic offerings) to boot !!!
Last edited by SouthBendModel34; 08-04-2011 at 05:41 AM. Reason: Addendum
08-04-2011, 05:52 AM #13
Steamin asked: "Anyone care to guess at it's age? (I have no idea.)"
According to the EAIA's DAT, William S Schollhorn Co., New Haven CT., was in business from 1873 to 1913. And it indicates that they made "William A. Bernard patent pliers and dividers with patent dates of 6 may 1890, 19 July 1892, 24 Oct. 1899, 7 Aug. 1900, 1 Jan. 1901, 2 April 1907 and 6 Nov. 1907."
So, I guess from the 1892 patent date on your example it was likely made before 1913 and perhaps before even the new 1899 patent.
I got a crispy, mint one somewhere here, but only Rivett knows where.
OOPS! I found it myself and it is mint in the original box! Only, it is made by "Sargent of New Haven", which I am confused as to whether that is really the old Sargent. Like the new Millers Falls (N.J.) versus the old Millers Falls from there in Mass.
08-04-2011, 06:31 AM #14
That Rostra website clears up a lot. See about 3/4 of the way down on this page:
SARGENT TOOLS from Rostra Tool
"Rostra Tool Company purchased the Hand Tool Division of Sargent Manufacturing in 1987. The entire operation was transferred from New Haven to Branford, Connecticut. All employees of the original Tool Group made the transition."
08-04-2011, 06:35 PM #15
08-05-2011, 06:45 AM #16
AntiqueMac liked this post
08-05-2011, 04:14 PM #17
08-05-2011, 09:53 PM #18
08-06-2011, 12:43 PM #19
There's a more modern version of the belt pliers made by Superior. I can't find much on them on the web, except for This Outfit, AAA Sew, that sells replacement knives and punches for that, as well as the Sargent. They also have a belt plier but no description. It seems, anyway, that you can still get the belt pliers.
There's a stop on the back side of the belt guide, so that the hole is punched at the right distance from the end.
08-07-2011, 11:38 AM #20
Very useful and practical pliers. I have three here at the house and my Dad has at least two more.
Most of these I've seen are blued steel, although I think one of my dad's is a rusty chrome plate.
VERY encouraging that they're still made. Maybe there is hope for American production and innovation.