Patented & Distinctive Bit Braces, a Research Study
George Langford, Sc.D.

Updated January 24, 2006
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Brace by John Chantrell, Bridgeport, Conecticut.
There are actually quite a few inventions rolled into the John Chantrell patents that pertain (at least to some extent) to this brace.  In order to help you pick them out, here are the claims of all five patents on this page:
All John Chantrell's claimed in one, three-colummn image
You may notice that Mr. Chantrell divided up the witnessing chores among quite a few folks.
Here's a brace whose maker just couldn't stop trying to improve.  There are at least three John Chantrell patents for the ratchet mechanism: 286,683 (page 1); 302,320, and 328,649.  The three different arrangements are shown at the lower right, below.  Even so, the actual ratchet selector doesn't look like any of them.    There are also three patents that pertain to more or less degree to the chuck: 284,275; see also 286,683 (page 2), and 302,648
 Chantrell brace mug shots
The patent and maker information for this brace came partly from the Directory of American Toolmakers, edited by the late Robert E. Nelson and published by the Early American Industries Association, 1999, and partly from Ron Pearson's fine book, The American Patented Brace, 1829-1924, Astragal Press, Mendham, New Jersey, 1994, easily browsable as an occasionally updated database at the Early American Industries Association website.
John Chantrell US Patent 284,275
Number and date
Drawings of chuck together and insection
Internal parts and signatures
The chuck operates by rotating back on the knurled shell, inseting the bit, and then screwing the shell forward to  lock the mechanism. Luckily, no one was tempted to attempt to hold any straight-shank bits by tightening this chuck's shell with a pipe wrench, as so often happened with Barber's Improved chucks.  Nevertheless, this brace's selector has lost its original thumb-pins, now replaced with soldered-on bumps.
Chantrell's ratchet US Patent 286,683
Chantrell's ratchet US Patent 286,683Chantrell's ratchet US Patent 302,320
Chantrell's ratchet US Patent 302,320
Note how the ratchet wheel is held below:
Chantrell's ratchet US Patent 328,649
Chantrell's ratchet US Patent 328,649