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 Post subject: Can anyone tell me what this is please?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2024 12:44 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2024 5:56 am
Posts: 2
Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum, and this is my first post, so bear with me. My wife and I have just bought a house in Harton, Shropshire (UK) and back in the day the single branch railway used to run right through the garden where our house now stands. I guess the railway line was removed as a consequence of the Beeching report which saw many small branch lines in the UK close.

The old Station Building is my immediate neighbour, and part of the platform is still there in my garden. The Station building next door is now called 'The Ticket Office' and has been faithfully restored and is occupied by a tenant.

I have found the remains of an old railway truck under a very overgrown tree at the end of the garden where the platform remains, and digging around it I came across the item featured in the photos. Does anyone know what this is? I'm guessing it is railway related - it is very heavily built, has two vice jaws, and the handle is very worn in the hole where it sits. The odd thing is, the handle cannot be turned because it has a 'key' in a slot at the bottom of the hole which prevents it from rotating.

I can supply more details but hopefully someone can shed some light on it for me. Many thanks for taking the time to read this rather lengthy post...

Dave - the Cannon


Attachments:
File comment: Close up of the item I found. It looks like a vice but the jaws cannot be wound open by the handle as you would expect as the handle cannot rotate at all.
Pic 4.JPG
Pic 4.JPG [ 161.48 KiB | Viewed 3801 times ]
File comment: The screwdriver blade in this photo points to where the key is that prevents the handle from rotating.
Pic 3.JPG
Pic 3.JPG [ 152.36 KiB | Viewed 3801 times ]
File comment: Another close up view of the item I found.
Pic 2.JPG
Pic 2.JPG [ 121.89 KiB | Viewed 3801 times ]
File comment: This is a photo of the item I found in an upright position, there is a spike extending down through the workbench which I guess used to be part of the mounting. There are three holes in a flange out the back of the item where it was probably bolted to a bench? The vice jaws have virtually no space in which to open...
Pic 1.JPG
Pic 1.JPG [ 220.47 KiB | Viewed 3801 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Can anyone tell me what this is please?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2024 1:34 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 94
Location: Maine
It is a blacksmith's post vice. There should be a leaf spring to separate the jaws, there is a piece of it on yours under the clamp with the wedge retainer. The bracket screws to a bench top. The fixed jaw leg goes into a pocket in the floor. Makes for a very rugged vise. The key you see keeps the nut from turning. The screw is probably locked up.
Size of the vise is determined by the jaw length.


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 Post subject: Re: Can anyone tell me what this is please?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2024 1:39 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 94
Location: Maine
You can see mine in this shot of my blacksmith shop.


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 Post subject: Re: Can anyone tell me what this is please?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2024 3:09 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:34 pm
Posts: 934
Agree, blacksmith vice. But I must say you have a super cool garden. I dread having to get mine ready for this growing season. But if I had old vices and railway platforms in my garden I might enjoy it more. Cool post by the way, out of the ordinary. Regards, John.


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 Post subject: Re: Can anyone tell me what this is please?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2024 4:09 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 2325
Would one of these have been found in a steam shop, and if so what would it have been used for? I could see it being useful for bending a long piece at its midpoint, say a hand rail or pipe of some sort.


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 Post subject: Re: Can anyone tell me what this is please?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2024 7:38 pm 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 12:20 pm
Posts: 210
Location: Maine
I think you will find it is a blacksmith’s vise not a blacksmith’s vice…which would be something like intoxicating drink to excess.
Keith


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 Post subject: Re: Can anyone tell me what this is please?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2024 9:23 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:12 am
Posts: 571
Location: Somewhere off the coast of New England
LVRR2095 wrote:
I think you will find it is a blacksmith’s vise not a blacksmith’s vice…which would be something like intoxicating drink to excess.
Keith
I believe that it was Mr. Churchill who once said that the Americans and the British were two peoples separated by a common language. As the artifact was found in Shropshire it is indeed a 'vice' rather than a 'vise'. Nothing in this comment is intended to imply that the smith might in fact have more than one.

GME

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 Post subject: Re: Can anyone tell me what this is please?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2024 11:37 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 94
Location: Maine
Keith,
I have a whole bunch of different vises and admittedly a couple of vices….
I think auto spell tom-foolery came into play on my first post. Got it right half the time!


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 Post subject: Re: Can anyone tell me what this is please?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 8:16 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 2285
The design uses the long lower 'lever arms' to increase the clamping force and eliminate the need for carefully-machined (and perhaps difficult to maintain) slideways for the movable jaw.

I've always looked at this grammar matter as perhaps related to something the British practice: for example 'license' as a verb, but 'licence' as the paper or card that results from the process. (We still have it in our 'advise' and 'advice', which no one here would likely ever confuse!)

When I learned Standard Written English it was made very clear to me that the thing that did the clamping and holding was a 'vise', not a 'vice'. It turns out (no pun intended) that the word derives directly from the French 'vis', in the sense of a screw like 'tournevis', which is from the Latin for exerting a force. So using the word 'vice' for this device is simply...

"Vice" is similarly from the French, where it is spelt that way as early as the 12th Century, and it has the same root as the English 'vitiate' meaning to weaken through introduction of a fault.

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 Post subject: Re: Can anyone tell me what this is please?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 11:31 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:52 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Pittsburgh
Next up: The difference between "loose" and "lose", which are frequently confused on this forum.

/s/ Larry
Lawrence G. Lovejoy, P.E.
(who, as the son and grandson of three proofreaders, is particularly sensitive to such things.)


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 Post subject: Re: Can anyone tell me what this is please?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 1:52 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:34 am
Posts: 538
Location: Granby, CT but formerly Port Jefferson, NY (LIRR MP 57.5)
PMC wrote:
Would one of these have been found in a steam shop, and if so what would it have been used for? I could see it being useful for bending a long piece at its midpoint, say a hand rail or pipe of some sort.


For sure, especially in earlier eras. Blacksmith's vises were commonly found in machine shops in the 19th century, prior to the advent of the parallel-jaw machinist's vise.

The great utility of a blacksmith's vise is that it's designed to be hammered on. The jaws are solid forgings, not castings, and the leg (typically set into a wooden block in the floor) holds it vertically rigid and transmits the force to the ground. This means you can pound away without causing damage.

-Philip Marshall


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 Post subject: Re: Can anyone tell me what this is please?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 2:01 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 11539
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
The first thing I said when I saw the photos was "take that damn thing back to my father-in-law's shop and clean up the rust you put on it........."

It's a dead ringer for a well-used, well-abused, and probably-salvaged-ages-ago blacksmith vise in his shop.


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 Post subject: Re: Can anyone tell me what this is please?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 3:01 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2024 5:56 am
Posts: 2
Hi Everyone,

A big and sincere thank you to everyone who replied to my post and gave me information about my find. I really appreciate it. I guess I should keep digging to see what else is there, especially in light of the gold nugget that was found not far from where I live, again on a former railway site near a place called 'Much Wenlock'. We have some great old place names in the UK...

If you Google 'gold nugget found in Much Wenlock' you'll soon find the report. According to the local newspaper, the discovery was made with a faulty metal detector on a site believed to have been an old track or road with railway lines running through, containing stone possibly distributed from Wales, where gold was once mined.

As far as the differences between spelling of the word 'vice/vise' goes, I lived in the USA for a year and fully appreciate the differences between the language that we have in common. Made me smile, because it never really mattered...

Thanks again, everyone!


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 Post subject: Re: Can anyone tell me what this is please?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2024 1:39 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:12 am
Posts: 571
Location: Somewhere off the coast of New England
Overmod wrote:
...I've always looked at this grammar matter as perhaps related to something the British practice: for example 'license' as a verb, but 'licence' as the paper or card that results from the process. (We still have it in our 'advise' and 'advice', which no one here would likely ever confuse!)

When I learned Standard Written English it was made very clear to me that the thing that did the clamping and holding was a 'vise', not a 'vice'. It turns out (no pun intended) that the word derives directly from the French 'vis', in the sense of a screw like 'tournevis', which is from the Latin for exerting a force. So using the word 'vice' for this device is simply...

"Vice" is similarly from the French, where it is spelt that way as early as the 12th Century, and it has the same root as the English 'vitiate' meaning to weaken through introduction of a fault.

While we colonists might follow the French lead, the idea of the English, never mind my Scotts ancestors, doing as the French tell them boggles the imagination.

Merriam-Webster wrote:
vice
2 of 4
chiefly British spelling of vise

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vice

the Cannon wrote:
As far as the differences between spelling of the word 'vice/vise' goes, I lived in the USA for a year and fully appreciate the differences between the language that we have in common. Made me smile, because it never really mattered...
The Cannon is absolutely correct. If my Scotts father and upper crust Boston Mother could communicate successfully for half a century (almost half of which was spent in a yet another country which speaks an almost alien version of the language with some indigenous words and phrases muddled in) then the differences should be enjoyed rather then forcing the language into premature homogeneity. The more words you have the more ideas you can express. As a side note my son claims that on a multi-lingual lobby directory in the main police station of a major South American city the English column read 'Vise Squad'. Apparently the policy was to use the Norte Americano spellings...

GME

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No case so weak nor cause so harebrained that it cannot be handled for an adequate retainer up front.


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 Post subject: Re: Can anyone tell me what this is please?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2024 8:12 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 6415
Location: southeastern USA
No, they are the specialists that use them in productive interrogation techniques.

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