Found a BIG old bench vise
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  1. #1
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    Default Found a BIG old bench vise

    Came across a vise made by Chas Parker Co , Meriden CT, Pat 1930, No 438. It stands 16" tall, has 6" wide jaws and opens 8". The weight of the vise is pushing 200". The throat is very tall and has jaws in the throat to grip at least a 6" diameter. The guy I bought it from said it came with the house he bought last year. The guy he bought the house from was retired from the gas company and I suspect it came from there. He just wanted it off his work bench in his shed. I have never seen one like it or one as big in this style.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails vise2.2.jpg  

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    Neat vise! I have a smaller, more conventional bench vise by the same company. Also have some friends that live in Meriden. They say the Chas Parker building is now apartments. Nice, well built vise! Thanks for sharing!

  3. #3
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    Looks like that vise will hold 8" pipe! I have one in my vise squad, the jaws are not as deep, the rear jaw swivels. The HD crankshaft in it is 8 1/4" diameter, opens to 10" or so. It must weigh close to 200lbs. I mounted it to a safe as its too heavy for any of my work benches.
    http://s170.photobucket.com/albums/u...rrent=vise.jpg

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    B.Goat:

    You did know that this Chas. Parker is the same Chas. Parker that made the famous Parker shotguns, right?

    200 lbs! That's a MAJOR vise!!! (New Yorkers might refer to this as an Emperor's Club VIP Vise. )

    Anybody got an old Parker catalog that can enlighten us as to what this monster was made for? The theory that it is a refugee from a gas Co. is as good as any, considering the provenance and the pipe jaws.

    John Ruth

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    I picked up a nice bench vise at auction last winter, think it is a Prentice I would have too look. It doesn't swivel, but is a really nice vice 5" with maybe 7-8" opening. The vice I wanted resembled the one you got Billygoat. With all my adventures I still haven't found the one I want. You never know when you may need a good monster like yours. Great catch. Cheers, John.

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    One more thing about Parker vises - the replaceable jaws are a funny cross section that would be difficult to reproduce without a shaper. ("A shaper can make anything except money!") Looks to me like Parker wanted to make sure that it was cheaper to order replacements from them rather than to make them in the shop.

    JRR

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    Sorry I lied before, my vise is a Peerless. A hand sized vice, but kind of wimpy for serious work. Too nice to take a BFH and wack on. Will keep this one for sure, but on the lookout for a more manly vise. Cheers, John.


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    I have a few nice older vises. 3 different sizes of Rock Island, a couple Columbians, a couple odd ball vices and now the Parker. They are all good vises. I am going to have to construct another work bench to mount them all. The guy that sold me the Parker said he was going to scrap it but decided to put it on Craigslist. I didn't mind giving him the $50 asking price. I called him at 7:45 am just after he posted it and told him I wanted it but couldn't get it until the evening. He held it for me and said he had 5 other calls about it. I think I'll keep it. It will make a nice mate to my 300# Fisher anvil.

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    SouthBendModel34 you are correct about the jaw configuration. It does have a different cross section. It is held on by 2 pins that go down through the top of the jaw into the main casting. You don't think that the market for replacement jaws would be that profitable. But I have seen that some of my old machines have some strange designed parts.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails jaw.jpg  

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    Billygoat,

    You have a real rarity there......

    The Parker Co., along with pretty much every other 'main line' manufacturer of machinists' vises, offered a few sizes of 'combination bench and pipe vise'.

    The generality of that type of vise looks much the same as yours, except for the height of the jaw, and the pipe grip capacity. Your vise has seems to have a bit larger pipe capacity than was usually standard for a 'combination' vise.

    Do yourself a favour, and use that vise very gently, if you use it at all. Yours is the only one I've ever seen which hasn't been broken and sent to the scrap yard, or broken and repaired by welding or brazing, and still in use. That high jaw is very delicate, when you consider the leverage it has on the beam area of the movable jaw.

    (if that vise were mine, I'd do a restoration to original appearance, or as nearly so as could be done, and consider it a 'display piece' for a steam-related museum or similar situation. Its too rare (in an unbroken/unrepaired state) as a museum piece to consider a 'using tool', actually......I'd not be surprised that you could very easily trade it for a later version (late '30's to early '50's production was generally the 'high water mark' of quality in vises, and the 'Reed' or 'Athol' makes are to be preferred over the 'Parker' in terms of strength, from what I've seen) best quality machinists or combination vise, one in excellent condition, which would be much more practical/convenient to use.

    cheers

    Carla

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    Carla, good suggestions. I wonder if the green on the swivel is the original color. Does any body have any idea on the color. The swivel is pretty unique in the way it is designed also, I'll have to take it apart again and take a couple pictures as it is too hard to explain. I don't think I can get the wife to let me put it on the coffee table though. I don't really need to use it as I have quite a few others. What do you other guys think about it.

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    I have a little Hollands that is originally green.

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    Default unabashed tool gloat

    Since we are talking about vises in general, I will mention my latest great find at the local flea market. Bought a baby Wilton (3") machinist vise for $45 this morning. In great condition, good jaws, etc.

    Tonight it looks even nicer, but no photo yet.

  14. #14
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    Carla:

    Thanks for your suggestion about treating this style of vise with more care. We have a similar one in the steam locomotive shop at the RR museum where I volunteer, but it gets used quite a bit. It's only a 4-1/2 inch vise, but has removable pipe jaws with two sets of teeth for different diameters. I think it was mf'd by Wilton, and has seen a lot of use and abuse without breaking-YET!

    Brian

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    Carla,

    I have one Parker in what I think is the original paint, and it is sort of a Maroon color. A purple-ish dark red.

    Parker is not the only vise firm to use a Maroon color. I also have a
    Gaydash Industries "parrot" vise in original Maroon. (Although in that case, when I ordered a new base, the replacement base came in a totally different color similar to a Rigid pipe wrench Orange.)

    I think a vise would look good if the raised letters were "picked out" in contrasting paint. Cosmetic (foam) wedges have been recommended for this - dip the wide end and blot the paint onto the letters.

    Two color schemes come to mind: An Oliver Tractor, which is Kelly Green with a Golden-Yellow trim, or a steam locomotive, Black with "Dulux Gold" lettering.

    I'd say its more important to paint it than it is to get fussy over colors.

    Your advice to treat high-jawed vises delicately will no doubt save the lives of many vises which might have otherwise become victims of abuse!

    John Ruth

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    Question Chas. Parker bench vise 1867

    While cleaning out my 95 year old father-in -laws work shop I discovered a Charles Parker Co. Meriden, Conn. Pat. Dec. 17,1867 bench vise.
    Would like to know a little history of it and its approximate worth.

    Also found a Dodge slide-set bench vise Size 40 Mishawaka, In. US PatNo. 2644630. Father-in-law says it is about 100 years old. History and worth????

  17. #17
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    Default URL for old photo of Charles Parker works, Meriden CT

    http://images.lib.uconn.edu/cdm-cho/item_viewer.php
    CISOROOT=/cho&CISOPTR=3443&CISOBOX=1&REC=16

    (You are going to have to cut&paste the whole thing into your browser's address window, as I do not know how to post a link in the new BBS system.)

    Found this image on the Connecticut Historical Society website. I take issue with the part of the caption which describes the smokestacks as stovepipes. That's much to large for a "stove" pipe, IMO

    The caption does point out a curious building with a semi-circular "barrel" roof and a round window. I think this is a fancy boilerhouse sheltering a horizontal boiler, as it is near a smokestack.

    I have stated in the past that this Chas. Parker of Meriden is the same Charles Parker of Meriden that made Parker shotguns. Now, I am not so sure!!! The dates seem to stretch out over more than one lifetime. (There are obvious conjectures on that, but they would be just conjectures.)

    In addition to vises, Parker made piano stools with cast parts and coffee grinders. This photo credits him with flatware, also.

    Can any of our patent research gurus come up with anything based on the data in the previous post?

    John Ruth
    Last edited by SouthBendModel34; 06-27-2008 at 05:12 PM. Reason: fixed up URL

  18. #18
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    Default New member with first big vise a Parker 976

    Hi all you Vise addicts. I have picked up a couple smaller vises but wanted a big vise. I work in a machine shop and have coveted my bosses 974 1/2 Charles Parker and his 6" jaw width Wilton. On Thursday the Flint Craigs List had a "Big Old Vise" listed for $50.00. I called and got the info of what was lettered on the sides of it. Turned out to be a Charles Parker Company #976 which is a 6" wide jaw vise. Supposed to be 157 pounds. I can vouch for every one of them. Barely got it into the house. VERY happy!

    [IMG][/IMG]




    Bill in Detroit

  19. #19
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    Billygoat, it appear that you're missing the wrench that was attached to the clamping bolt. Bczygan's vise also lacks the original wrench as seen in the advertising. A c-clip prevented it's removal.

  20. #20
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    Default Missing wrench/Painting and refurbishing

    Reggie,
    Mine is not only missing the wrench, but someone welded two nuts on top of the bolt for a jury rigged way to tighten it.



    I keep looking at the number to see if it really is that big.



    I am interested to know the techniques used to rehab these vises. What cleaning, removal and refinishing methods and materials are used? What was the original color of these big Parkers?

    Parker Patent:





    Bill
    Last edited by bczygan; 03-31-2009 at 01:31 AM.


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