Patented & Distinctive Bit Braces
A Research Study
by George Langford, Sc.D.
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William B. Ruger obtained a US Design Patent, No.D151,719, for the outline of a brace on November 9, 1948, with a duration of 3-1/2 years.  With that degree of protection, three models of brace were made, one marketed under the A.R.T.I.S.A.N trademark, another under Ruger's assignee, the Ruger Corp. of Southport, Conn., and the third marketed by the former Seymour Smith & Sons, Inc. of Oakville, Conn., a distributor of arborist tools.  The last of these is illustrated below as their No.2310.

The chucks used in these braces follow the design of the John A. Leland's US Patent No. 912,582, assigned to the Millers Falls Company.  That patent would have run out in 1926, more than twenty years before the Ruger braces illustrated here were made.  Therefore, it is hardly a proof of Millers Falls parenthood that the Ruger braces' chucks were patterned after the
Leland patent.
Brace 1: Seymour Smith & Son version of D151,719:
William B. Ruger's US Design Patent No. D151,719:
John A. Leland's US Patent No. 912,582 for the same chuck used in the Ruger-designed braces:
Seymour Smith No.2310 brace based on US Design Patent No.D151,719 US Design Patent No. D151,719
US Patent No. 912,582
The inside of the ratchet isn't worn (49 teeth)
Parts mostly out:
The cover is marked, and the selector is, too, although that can't be seen here.  There is an extra part, the shim 2nd from left.  Also, the selector is now a die casting.

Inside of ratchet housing
Parts mostly out
Parts all spread out

Pawls & springs back in:
Selector above slot:
Selector detents:
     All back together:
Pawls & springs back in
Selector in place
Disk above selctor
All together nowI could not resist peeking to see what else might be different in the Seymour Smith brace's ratchet, considering that the function of the selector is so much better marked.  What I found is that there's an extra part, the shim that acts as a dust shield below the selector.  Also, even though the selector has a better shape, it's just a die casting and there's nothing to stop an ignorant user from twisting it.

Brace 2 - Ruger Corp., Southport, Conn.
The ratchet design is detailed below.  While I was thinking that the Pat. Pending marking on Brace 1 referred to the ratchet, I searched the USPTO website and found countless ratchet patents, none of them remotely like this design.
Ruger Corp. Southport, Conn. The ratchet selector on this brace is unmarked; as a result, when it needed lubrication, a cluless user tried to loosen it up by rotating with a crescent wrench, twisting it nearly all the way off.  I administered the coup de gras in order to take apart, clean & repair the brace.  The function of the selector is clearly marked on the Seymour Smith brace.
There are no maker's marks on the head of the ratchet
The chuck looks like a Leland design;
the ratchet looks like no other.
Head has no maker's marks Spindle apart
Ruger Corp. Southport, Conn.
The firm is now named Sturm, Ruger, Inc. but is still located in Southport.

There are 49 ratchet teeth:
Ratchet parts out:
The ratchet selector (2nd from left) is broken.  The pawls show no wear at all.
Here's where the ratchet selector fits (head rotated 180 degrees):
Most of the parts are back in now.  Note that the teeth of the pawls meet the ratchet teeth at an angle.
Inside of ratchet head
Ratchet head mostly empty Ratchet parts laid out Parts parly back in
Ratchet back together, mostly

Brace 3 - A.R.T.I.S.A.N trademark
Maybe someday I'll cut through the welds and find out what it is that provoked a user to mutilate this brace ...
A.R.T.I.S.A.N. brace
Something must have gone horribly wrong with the ratchet mechanism of this brace that warranted welding it tightly shut ...
Chuck side view
Note that there are no markings to indicate how the selector functions.

The method of retaining the pad is the same as for the ratchet - a C-ring.
Welded selector Mounting method for pad