Patented and Distinctive Bit Braces & Augers, a Research Study
George Langford, Sc.D.
Updated December 30, 2016
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Distinguishing Pfleghar from Amidon ratchet braces
Illustration of the difference
Both have a single rotating pawl with ramps facing one and the other way, plus a key for locking the ratchet mechanism. They each have a single coil spring. Both mechanisms have a slotted member to give room for the ratchet wheel to lift the pawl. In the Pfleghar patent (175,151) it is the pawl that is slotted; in the later Amidon patent (283,844), the ratchet housing is the slotted member. Pfleghar later changed his pawl to a generally circular shape so it could be spun around just like the Amidon patent's pawl, but I have not found such a brace.
Pfleghar mentions the slotted configuration of his pawl in the body of his patent, but not in its claims. Amidon claims a pawl that is pivoted in the center and that is pinned to a bearing sliding in the ratchet housing of the brace. Oddly, all my braces with a rotating disk follow the Amidon patent, and were made by William Ives, to whom Frank Pfleghar assigned his patent, but nowhere is it mentioned how William Ives came to control the right to manufacture braces following Charles Amidon's patent.
U.S. Patent No. 175,151 claims
U.S. Patent No. 283,844 claims