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Thread: old B&S caliper?

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    Ray Behner's Avatar
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    Default old B&S caliper?

    I've had this thing forever. Just wondering about it. It has D. B. & S. Prov. R. I. on one side and a vernier scale on the other. I'm assuming it's a Brown & Sharpe. Any idea how old it is? Sorry for the crummy pics, but this was my best attempt. Top scale, second pic is metric.




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    The 1868 Catalog devoted almost a whole page to this tool...... they called it a "Hardened Cast Steel Pocket Vernier Caliper" and it cost $ 6.00!

    Verniers were still pretty new when this came out so they say "an explanation of the vernier accompanies each instrument"..... now for the funny part...... it says ".... and the upper edge to millimeters, reading from the right hand edge of the sliding head and figure to centimeters. This is the French standard measure, the use of which has been recently authorized by Congress, and which it is expected will eventually be adopted as the standard measure throughout the United States."...... what were they thinking????? I heard that a 100 years later and it still has not happened!

    Now about your caliper..... the knob looks to be replaced. This was also offered with a fine adjustment feature and this is cool...... look closely at the seam where the fixed jaw meets the bar..... you will notice it is a separate piece and the bar is laminated from a few layers of steel..... if you hold it just right you can see the rivets holding it all together.

    Thanks for sharing it....
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    L Vanice is offline Diamond
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    I will just add that the D. B. & S. was Darling, Brown & Sharpe. You can buy a reprint of the 1868 catalog from Astragal Press.

    Larry
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    Your “Pocket Vernier Caliper” is first shown in a Darling, Brown & Sharpe single sheet advertising circular dated January 1, 1867. The same tool cut and description is also in the 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1875, and 1877 Darling, Brown & Sharpe catalogs. By 1881, this tool was no longer offered for sale. It was replaced in the company’s product line by the “Improved Pocket Vernier Caliper, which was of a different design and first shown in the 1877 catalog. So your example dates to between 1867 and 1880. Also, as “rivett608” points out, this tool was made with the option of having an “adjusting screw,” but the “adjusting screw” model was not introduced until 1870.

    Your “Pocket Vernier Caliper” was designed by Samuel Darling while he was working in Bangor, Maine in the tool making partnership of Darling & Schwartz. When Darling dissolved his business and joined with Joseph R. Brown and Lucian Sharpe in 1866 to form the Darling, Brown & Sharpe company, most of the Darling & Schwartz product line was incorporated into the new company’s offering of small precision tools. The 1867, 1868, and 1869 D. B. & S catalogs all include a full page of tool listings that is almost identical to an advertising circular used by Darling & Schwartz. Your “Hardened Pocket Vernier Caliper” is listed on this page, selling for $6 and for $7 if in a “Morocco Case.” There are no tool cuts on this page, only descriptive text. In addition to this page, all three catalogs have on another page a tool cut showing front and back views and descriptive text which “rivett608” has already described.
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    Joe in NH is offline Titanium
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    DBS didn't last too long as I remember it. Mostly during the period when the Maine company (Darling) combined with the RI company (B&S) I think by 1870 the Darling part had been pretty much outmoded as B&S moved all their production facilities from Portland to Providence - and B&S sold off the remaining Darling stock.

    Correction above as we all rush to our keyboards. Honrick has it right.

    I have a DBS "semi-vernier" caliper. It has all the bells and whistles including the fine feed aspect mentioned above. Marked 1/64 (or maybe finer) on one side and 1/100ths on the other. BUT no vernier. Measures ID and OD - with the outer radius of the jaws to fit a 1" hole ( the smallest ID it will fit.)

    Joe
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    Wow, what a wealth of information! Thanks guys. Is there other examples out there? If so, I'd like to see a better one. If this thumb screw has been replaced, this one has been in there for a very long time. When it's tightened and laying on the bench, that area of the knurl is worn away. And yes, now that you brought it to my attention, it is rivetted together. Cool!

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    As to how many are out there...... quite a few I would guess..... I know I have probably seen at least a dozen so they do show up..... just keep hunting!

    Thank you Honrick..... you have so much better information on B & S than I do.... I am so glad to see you posting it.

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    Ray, Great post! It is good to see a very old and different tool. Thanks.

    And Honrick, as usual I learn from your posts about B & S and D B & S. I wonder if that vernier caliper was one of the tools that Lucien and J. R were not allowed to see made? I think I recall that after dissolving his partnership with Michael Schwartz in Bangor, Samuel Darling moved his precision tool manufacturing equipment to Providence, RI in a separate shop and locked the doors on J. R. and Lucien - even though they were 'partners' in D B & S.

    And, do I also recall correctly that they precision tools line continued under the D B & S logo (vice B & S Mfg for equipment) from 1866 until Sam Darlings death in 1896 when his wife sold it back to B & S?

    As to the knob that Rivett suggest might be replaced, I am still on the fence, but leaning his way. The knurling comports (at least sort of) to the D B & S vernier knobs I have in terms of the slanted, rope pattern. It is just that it looks too course and too flat and there should be a bead on either side. The D B & S knob was rounded on the side and if you look from the top (not shown here) the surface of the top is dished with a nipple in the middle. Either it is a replacement as Rivett thinks or it is an older version I haven't seen. Is there a pic of the top of the knob?

    Even more confusing about the knob is that the 1868 catalog cut shows a very high sided, knurled edge that is similar to the one Ray has. But, I personally have never seen that in the wild.

    And, finally, I "Like" this thread and have given it a five star vote. But, have me committed if you EVER see or hear of me using Facebook or any of its stuff!



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