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Yankee Braces - A Type Study of Sorts
by George Langford
February 17, 2007 - Updated September 28, 2008

Group J - Two Occupied Japan copies of North Bros. 2101A-10 IN braces made
after all the patents had expired; and  ...
- A DUREX clone; and a clone marked only JAPAN, both possibly made well after WWII.

These two braces, nearly carbon copies of North Bros.' 2101-10 inch "YANKEE" braces, were made in occupied Japan.  The Second World War was over by the summer of 1945, and the last North Bros. patent had expired on August 1 of that year.  The upper brace is labelled, "CHROMEALLOY" over "Patt. NO 210" as well as "WITH" over "PROFESSIONALS" over "I.X.L." and "MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN."  The lower brace is labelled, "STEMOR" and "Occupied Japan."

Virtually all the chromium plating remains on each brace, and the only damage to either are the chips off the polymeric pad of the STEMOR brace, which has otherwise seen nearly no use.  The CHROMEALLOY brace actually got used, as its many small dings & scratches will attest.  The STEMOR brace's chuck is considerably larger in diameter than those of the standard North Bros. brace and the CHROMEALLOY brace.  The  handles of the CHROMEALLOY brace are both black-painted wood, but the STEMOR's wrist handle seems to have been molded much like the North Bros. braces, except that the material is a theromoplastic rather than a thermosetting composition like the "real" YANKEE braces.  Note that both braces have the complete complement of 3 oil holes.  They are also a little longer than standard YANKEE braces.

Both braces are fully and
smoothly functional. 

The CHROMEALLOY brace, designated B&D-J1, is in the best condition and is priced at $75.00.

The STEMOR brace, designated B&D-J2,  has some chips out of its pad, so it is priced at $65.00.

Two ankee-brace clones made in occupied Japan

Both heads as at left

Comparison of chuck diameters

Pad of CHROMEALLOY brace

Pad of Stemor brace

The two braces below, one marked only, DUREX, a pretty well made clone of the North Bros. 2101 brace ...
... and another marked only JAPAN, a very close copy, were probably made after the end of the occupation of Japan by US forces. Notable differences:
DUREX clone of Yankee 2101 brace
JAPAN clone of Yankee 2101 brace
The DUREX clone's ratchet spring has two steel leaves:
DUREX clone's ratchet spring
The JAPAN clone's small parts almost appear to be handmade:
Handmade parts from the JAPAN clone
DUREX clone; Price: $45.00 (re-assembled, of course !)
B&D-J3 - used, with most plating gone; I replaced all the ball bearings in the chuck.
DUREX clone in exploded view
JAPAN clone; Price: $55.00 (already back together)
B&D-J4 - unused, but shopworn.

JAPAN clone in exploded view
The DUREX clone's key (that keeps the spindle from pulling out of the ratchet housing) is a greatly simplified version of the 2101's, whereas the JAPAN clone's key is a thinner carbon copy.

Both sets of jaws are feeble attempts to copy the Yankee braces' fine jaws (examples of which are underneath the DUREX clone's jaws at left).

The spindles are pretty close copies of the 2101's spindle, but the threads don't quite match the Yankee's chuck.

Note that the spring of the JAPAN clone's jaws is a copy of the Stanley 813 brace's.

DUREX clone's spindle above a Yankee spindle
The DUREX clone's spindle is shown above a Yankee brace's spindle at left.  The Yankee spindle has more robust notches for the ratchet pawls, but both braces have very slender weak spots where the keys bear.
Two Yankee jaws above one DURX clone's jawThe DUREX clone's jaw is shown at lower left underneath the two types of Yankee jaws that I have encountered.
The jaws are all castings, but the Yankee's castings are far more precise than the DUREX clone's (or the JAPAN clone's, for that matter).
Two DUREX pawls, one Yankee ratchet pawlTwo DUREX clone pawls are shown at left next to one well worn Yankee ratchet pawl.
The narrow portion of each pawl fits inside the notches on the spindles at far left.

JAPAN clone's jaws and spring
The JAPAN clone's jaws and spindle are shown at left - I tried threading a Yankee brace's chuck shell onto the spindle of the JAPAN clone, but it got too tight to turn past about half-way.  The threads are the correct square form, but they're either a little too large or the thread pitch just isn't quite right.  The jaw spring closely matches that of the Stanley 813.
Label remnant on the JAPAN clone's wrist handle.
Good luck trying to discern the maker's (or distributor's) name at left.  This label is on the wrist handle of the essentially unused JAPAN clone.

DUREX clone's handles are made of an unknown thermoset ...
The JAPAN clone's handles are poorly painted wood; the chrome's poor.
Pad view of DUREX clone
JAPAN clone's painted wood handles