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

Group I - Four ten-inch (2101A-10 IN) braces and an eight-inch (2101A-8 IN) brace
for the Bell System by the North Bros. Division of Stanley Tools,
and by Stanley Tools before and after production moved away from Philadelphia.

The uppermost brace still carries the "YANKEE" trademark on its pad and is therefore the oldest of the three.  Next comes the middle brace, made like the first by the North Bros. Division of Stanley Tools, which still has all its oil holes, but which, like the bottom brace, has the "YANKEE" trademark only on the chuck and bow.  Finally, there is the bottom brace, made by simply Stanley U.S.A., with no oil hole in its domed ratchet cap.  The bottom brace has "Bell System B" instead of just "Bell System" like the upper two braces.  It was also made with only two instead of three screws attaching the metal plate to the composition pad.  None of these braces carries any patent citations, so the patents had all run out by the time they were manufactured. 

The first three braces are smoothly and fully functional. 
The uppermost brace, designated B&D-I1, has nearly all its original nickel plating and only a few dings and scratches;  it is SOLD.  The middle brace, designated  B&D-I2, has next to no dings and scratches (except on the ratchet cap) but has had the Bell System stamp ground off; it is SOLD.  The bottom brace, designated B&D-I3, has nearly all its nickel  plating (except on the ratchet cap) but the plating is smoothly speckled; and it is also SOLD.
Next is another brace, B&D-I4, which was hidden under a white-ish-yellowish-greenish coating which came off easily with steel wool, revealing an utterly unused, brand new brace whose only apology is that the plating has failed over the entire upper portion of the bow - it just peeled off.  The jaws have never touched a bit.  SOLD.

Then, there's - Brace B&D-I5 - is another brace like B&D-I1 with
"YANKEE" on its thermoplastic pad, which has nearly all of its plating remaining, but was carried around a lot by its Bell System owner, van Eck, and so the handles have gotten rather scuffed up.  The jaws are definitely in used condition, but the brace works great.  Price:

At the bottom, there are two more braces, recent additions:
B&D-I6, with 12 inch swing (
SOLD) and B&D-I7 (SOLD).
Three Yankee braces with no patents cited All three heads arranged as at left
Pad of the uppermost brace
Pad of middle brace
Pad of bottom brace
Brace B&D-I4 - Stanley 2101A-8IN - Non-Green-Goo
Brace B&D-I4 has never gripped a bit.  Price: SOLD.
The goo isn't green in this brace
The goo isn't green !

Therefore, this brace was made before that fateful executive decision.  This goo hasn't hardened at all.

There are no oil holes, except under the pad.
The jaws never touched a bit
Here's how the spring is staked into the jaw.  Later jaws have the slot and a hole cast in place instead.

Stanley - Made in USAThe brace was made by Stanley after they moved production away from Philadelphia to New Britain, Connecticut.
Bell System BStanley made a lot of these for the old Bell System linemen. Model 2101A-8INThe change from 2100 to 2101 was due to a detail change in the pad and its bearings.  The A: After 100% Stanley.
The chuck & ratchet both work fine.
The handles are undamaged,
but the upper bow's plating has failed.
The jaws show no bit marks at all.
Chuck view
Pad view
Chuck apart - unused jaws

North Bros. Div. of Stanley Tools 2101A-10IN
Brace B&D-I5 has excellent plating and mechanical condition. The only apology is for the scruffy handles.  Price: SOLD.
The scruffy pad has "YANKEE" stamped faintly into the thermoplastic material.
The hyperactive lineman, van Eck, had a name famous in the Bell System for research about computer security.
"YANKEE" on plastic pad
van Eck and oil hole
No goo at all inside the ratchet mechanism There is only oil inside this brace's ratchet housing.  No Green Goo yet ...

Bell System on bow
No.2101A-10 INThe only spots of lost plating are around the two stamped areas as seen at left.
Two oil holes There are three oil holes in the brace, one in the pad (above) and two on the ratchet housing (left).
Chuck view
Pad view
Chuck detail

Brace B&D-I6 (SOLD) has a twelve inch swing, making it one of the less common Yankee braces, and it was made before Stanley moved the production of Yankee braces from Philadelphia to New Britain, Connecticut. 

The handles of this brace are made of the thermosetting, bakelite-like material that North Bros. used while production remained in Philadelphia.  They are in pretty good shape, with one small divot out of the wrist handle, that doesn't show in the iimages.  There are no cracks. The
color of this composite material is darker than the flash picture below, center, makes it appear.

The jaws are in good condition, and all the rest of the brace's mechanisms also work smoothly and as intended by the manufacturer.  The inside of the ratchet mechanism is now lubricated with just oil.

The nickel plating is in good shape on the bow, less so on the chuck and on the underside of the head, below, right.

Head bearings - Brace B&D-I6
Ratchet box, with flash B&D-I6 Compare the two images at opposite ends of this row - the one at left was made with flash lighting, the one at right with natural lighting.  The red rust shows up much more with the flash.
Chuck apart - B&D-I6
Ratchet box - B&D-I6
Trademarkings - Brace B&D-I6
The "Yankee" trademark appears in three places on this brace - On the chuck shell, as shown at left, on the head, as shown above, and on the bow, as shown below.
No.2101A-12IN. - B&D-I6

Brace B&D-I7
Brace B&D-I7 (SOLD) was made before Stanley moved the production of Yankee braces from Philadelphia to New Britain, Connecticut. Its plating is in pristine condition, with no blemishes at all.
No.2101-10IN. - Brace B&D-I7
Bell System - Brace B&D-I7
Contrast the markings on the bow at left with the markings on B&D-I6 above.  Both braces were made in Philadelphia, and both look to be of nearly the same mechanical design.

At the bottom of this listing, there's a composite image of the trade markings that appear on the ratchet housing (not on the chuck shell as on Brace B&D-I6, above).
Brace B&D-I7
Brace B&D-I7
Chuck apart - Brace B&D-I7
Trademarkings - Brace B&D-I7
The markings on Brace B&D-I7 are on the ratchet housing, a thin shell that screws onto the front of the frame of the brace, in contrast to the markings on Brace B&D-I6, that are on the shell of its chuck.