Inside the Collection

Mystery Object

Hand vice
Collection: Powerhouse Museum

This intriguing little object found its way into a curator’s hands this week.

It appears to be some kind of clamp, you twist the gripped handle and the head of it opens. The other handle swings freely around the head.

Give us your best guess readers, because we are stumped!

Tooth clamp?

Jewellery clamp?

10 responses to “Mystery Object

    • Paul that’s a good guess, I know what you are thinking of but it doesnt have that kind of action. I think Einar was on the same wavelength!

      The head is opened by twisting the main handle so can only hold something very small and thin, the other handle feels like it should be used to swing over the thing held in the vice grip, bending it on the way.

  • I actually got to handle and have a good look at this object (and no we weren’t wearing our white gloves) mainly thanks to James and a special mention to our Museum smoking area. It stumped all of us that day. It’s been made for a special purpose and is well machined and for something very thin as Erica pointed out. I think it is a one off, and we will never know it’s true purpose.

  • It is a hand vice. It was designed for firmly holding something small with one hand while working on the object with the other. Within these parameters, it seems to be a fairly general purpose hand vice to be used when working away from the bench. The question of what it was for would arise only if we were to look for a specific designed use. However, as a general-purpose tool, it could be used for holding wire while forming its end for some purpose on site or while cutting a thread on the end of it. It might be used for holding two items in the correct relative positions for soldering or for holding a small item while shaping it with a needle file. It could also be used for holding a thread-cutting tap in a recessed place, where the normal wrench would require more than the space available around the site of a particular tapping operation.
    The jaws will be colsed by a toggle action worked by the lever on the left and the opening of the jaws would be adjusted before closing, by twisting the handle at the bottom centre of the photo.

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