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There are these known makers of wooden clamps:
There are these known makers of composite clamps.
There are these known dealers.
There are these famous users or owners.
(Note that Grafton was a textile town between Worcester and Providence.)
Sometime before 1853, Milton Aldrich and Ephraim Hapgood made clamps, amongst their other products.
In 1853, Milton Aldrich was a wooden screw manufacturer, in Lowell.
In '76, William K. was listed as Foreman in his father's firm.
In '80, the firm had an advertisement on page 567 of the Lowell City Directory (LCD); they were the only firm to advertise under the heading "wood screws".
In 1884, Milton retired (at age 69), and William ran the business thereafter.
In 1903, William organized William K. Aldrich Company, successor to Milton Aldrich, doing business at the same address. William continued to use his father's mark on the clamps. This makes it impossible to distinguish clamps from the two firms, unless a clamp bears a paper label.
The firm continued until 19 March 1918, when "the most spectacular fire Lowell has seen in years" destroyed major parts of the Cady Building. William died in the fire. The firm ended with him.
There are several individuals known as Nathan Buttrick. We have some evidence to identify at least one as a clamp maker.
Nathan Buttrick jr. was born in Carlisle MA on 19 February 1811, but later moved to Chelmsford, and stayed there until 1837, when he married Thankful A Green of Carlisle. He stayed in Carlisle until his death in 1883, and operated Buttrick's Mill.
If we accept this Nathan Buttrick as the clamp maker, then the clamps marked "Chelmsford" date before 1837, while "Carlisle" date between 1837 and 1883.
But there are alternatives! The Lowell City directories of the 1850s identify two other persons named Nathan Buttrick. Also the Buttrick genealogy identifies several individuals named Nathan. Any of these could have made the clamps marked "Chelmsford".
W. R. Dennett was a pattern and model maker in Littleton (west of Boston) about the time of the Civil War. Having the skill and materials, he made the clamps he used in this delicate work.
I have also seen an adjustable vise that he made for his own use. His craftsmanship was of a high order.
Details of his life are unknown.
In 1904, the firm has offices at 64-66 Pearl Street, in Boston, and a factory across the Charles River in Cambridge. In 1932, their offices were 32 Franklin Street, Boston. In 1943, Their offices are at 91 Federal STreet, Boston.
More information was provided through the kindness of Cathy White, who deals in antique furniture.
I do not know when it used hand screws.
The 1872 catalog (reprinted by Ken Roberts in 1978) has a couple pages of clamps. I do not know the first or last dates for making clamps.
Levi Leland was a cabinet maker, who advertised in Worcester news papers in 18??. That provides a likely "not-before" date for these clamps.
The jaws are like Bliss and Company (but not the known Bliss) in their nose, and chamfer; they are 13.75 inches long. If the maker followed the example of Bliss and Company, then this might indicate a date after 1845. The screws on the spindles were hand-cut. This would indicate an early date, say before 1880. The handles of the spindles are unique.
Grafton is in the Blackstone River valley, which was important in the early textile industry, and is now an Historical Corridor administered by the National Park Service. A canal, and later a railroad, connected inland Worcester with the sea port of Providence. It would be easy to imagine that Bliss and Company clamps traveled up the river to Grafton to serve as a model.
The Old Sturbridge Village has several of his clamps in storage, clearly marked Leland.
I had found no reference to this firm in the Chelmsford directories, or town history.
Dave Spang contacted the historical society of North Chelmsford, and found that the firm is on the tax rolls of 1872 and 1874. They made planes as well as clamps. A detailed examination will presumably determine first and final dates of the company.
In the late 1700s, Samuel Wing was a cabinet maker in Sandwich. The contents of his workshop were later acquired by Old Sturbridge Village. Included are two clamps, and parts for more.
One clamp is very similar to wooden hand screws, and may be the earliest known example in America
Pollard Library, Lowell, MA
Town Records, Carlisle MA
Cathy White, who deals in antique furniture.
Old Sturbridge Village (See Links)
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