Brace (C. 18th Century, wrought iron)

Click for a Closer LookThis tool was forged by a blacksmith. Chances are the smith who actually made this tool was a worker in a small toolmaking shop. When this tool was made, all work was done by hand; cast iron and steel were still unusual commodities and forging (hammering the red hot iron into shape) was by far the most popular way of making anything of iron. The only power tool the smith might have been lucky to have would be a water-powered trip hammer. The tool is designed to be forged from rods of iron, making it easy to form and weld. Steel at this point in time was expensive and mass production of steel had not yet begun. Get a closer view of the object (37KB)

The bits that were used in this brace were also forged and, until the invention of the twist bit drilling, was a relatively slow procedure. These days, screws and other metal fasteners are common and a power drill is one of the most commonly used tools in a shop. In the 18th Century drilling was more complicate. Small holes would be forced with a gimlet or awl. The brace would be used for deeper drilling operations such as drilling for dowel pins or drilling with a spoon bit for the socket in a chair leg.

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