Patented & Distinctive Bit Braces
A Research Study
by George Langford, Sc.D.
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Doubly patented Spofford's Pat. brace

This brace above, John S. Fray & Co. brace below
Price: $70.00 plus shipping
This well made brace is laid out exactly like the early malleable-iron frame Spofford braces made by John S. Fray, but the split-frame chuck is adjusted by a sleeve engaging a threaded member embedded in the frame instead of by the usual thumbscrew.

This brace's maker's mark:
Typical John S. Fray & Co. mark:
Manufacturer's mark
"Spofford's Pat." on a Fray-manufactured brace
Nelson Spofford's March 23, 1880 patent covers the method of coring the split in the making of the original casting and would indeed apply to the present brace. In the bottom image on the left,the shape of this brace (on the top) is compared with a regular Spofford brace made by John S. Fray & Co. (below). The two wrist handles are nearly exactly the same size & shape, but with differing widths of their cast-in-place pewter rings (see another Fray brace here) but the present brace's casting shape is better integrated with the shape of the handle than are the Fray-made brace's frames.
US Pa. No. 219,574
John S. Fray's patent No. 219,574 was granted six months before Spofford's March, 1880 patent for the cored split-jaw interior, yet there is no patent date marked on the brace. The sliding threaded part B in Figure 3 of the patent drawing exactly matches the shape and function of the brace part's inclined planes, and Figure 2 in the patent recalls the shape of the brace's jaws.