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Yankee Braces - A Type Study of Sorts
by George Langford
February 17, 2007 - Updated November 15, 2010

Group E - Three braces made while nickel was unavailable during the Second World War
and before
Thanksgiving 1940, when the first patent expired, i.e., seventeen years after November 26, 1923.

The brace at upper right was made earlier in the war when a few old stock parts remained that had been nickel plated before the war.  Later on, North Bros. found a way of putting a rust-resistant finish on the chuck and on the pad housing of the brace at left.  Perhaps that is what is known as Parkerizing.  Black paint was used on the bows, and it isn't very durable - it's not the enduring japanned finish of woodworking planes.  The brass finish of the ratchet housing of the brace at left isn't just a coating - all Yankee braces have cast brass there.

At the bottom is a third brace, B&D-E3, in excellent mechanical condition ... SOLD.  I disassembled the ratchet mechanism and cleaned it - although it never had the GREEN GOO to which Stanley later subjected their 2100-series braces.  It's also the 10 inch size.

All three braces are marked with the citations for all four patents and are smoothly & fully functional.

The larger brace at upper right, designated B&D-E1, is the 2101-12 IN size; it has been SOLD.  It has just a partial "YANKEE" trademark.

The smaller 2101-10 IN brace at lower left, designated B&D-E2, has suffered someone's search for valuable data on the upper bow, so it is priced at

Yankee braces with four patents but little or no nickel - WWII production

Lower brace:

Head of brace at left

Lower brace:

Pad of brace at left

Upper brace:

Head of brace at upper right

Upper brace:

Pad of brace at left

Brace B&D-E3 - SOLD.
Brace B&D-E3 No.2101-10IN by NorthBros.
Chuck & ratchet
This brace was made after all the old-stock, nickel-plated parts had been used up.  The ratchet housing, made of cast brass, is just painted black, but the steel parts were given a black-oxide, anti-rust treatment
Cleaned ratchet
The inside of the ratchet needed some cleaning, so I took it all apart as described elsewhere and removed the dirty lubricant.  Here you can see that the ratchet cover has the black oxide coating on the inside as well as on the outside. The brace has received hardly any use.
Pad view
Model No. 2101-10IN, stamped on bowThe bow has the model number at left stamped on it, and the brace was once painted black ... perhaps to deter drawing unwanted attention ... but in spite of the "jeep" look, it's still a Cadillac inside.
"YANKEE" trademark on pad
I don't think I can give you a song & dance about wartime shortages of carbon black (used to make antique gunpowder) 'cuz North Bros. painted the brace black anyway.  So the pad and wrist handle may just have faded from their original black color by exposure to sunlight.
Pad underside
Note on the underside of the pad that it has a small ding - but that the resin has deformed without cracking.  I've said elsewhere that I thought that the resin was a thermoset - meaning that it is crosslinked and won't melt - but it appears to be tougher than Bakelite, the first much-used thermosetting resin, because that's not nearly as forgiving as this pad appears to be.
Patents on chuck
Patents on ratchet
North Bros. Mfg. Co. Phila.
The chuck (far left) is marked with the later pair of applicable patent numbers (US Patent No.1,617,998 and US Patent No.1,679,299).

The ratchet housing (center) has the earlier pair of patent dates (US Patent No.
1,473,423, issued November 6, 1923 and US Patent No.1,523,187, issued January 13, 1925).

The ratchet housing (right) is also stamped with the
"YANKEE" trademark and NORTH BROS. MFG. CO. PHILA., PA., U.S.A.