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#3284698 - 02/16/14 10:32 PM Finally got my bench vise - age/info?
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 37805
Loc: New Jersey
My grandfather (recently RIP) always had a decent sized bench vise in his shop. My grandmother told me it was ok for me to take to use on various projects, Needless to say, I was very excited. She thinks it may have been her grandfather's, who was a mechanic/machinist. She is 91, so he surely would be 50+ years older.

The vise is a Parker 271 1/2. I snapped some quick phone pics when I came in the door.











As I said, my grandmother is pretty old. If her grandfather had it, assume he was around 50 when she was born, then, he would have been born in the early 1870s. So if he was using it in a trade, he would have probably bought it sometime between the mid 1890s to the early 1920s, I guess. Is there any way to age this? I haven't seen much info on this model number, is there a way to identify its specs and age from it?

Here is a thread on something similar.

http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=98279

Perhaps most interesting is the picture from 1910 which shows a similar one, though it's tough to make out due to scan quality.



I've seen some great refurbishments and paint jobs over at garage journal. Not sure I'd want to do that, since this is its original state (I assume they weren't painted from the factory) and exactly as I remember using it with my grandfather in his shop. Still, it would be sensible to service it, ensure it's protected from rust, etc. what are the recommended products to use for that, and what kinds of service should I do on it?

Any info or recommendations would be appreciated.

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#3284758 - 02/17/14 12:51 AM Re: Finally got my bench vise - age/info? [Re: JHZR2]
GaleHawkins Offline


Registered: 01/06/14
Posts: 570
Loc: Murray KY USA
Wow! that is a double cool piece of hardware.

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#3284759 - 02/17/14 12:55 AM Re: Finally got my bench vise - age/info? [Re: JHZR2]
Cristobal Offline


Registered: 01/02/11
Posts: 2306
Loc: Cal-Neva-Ari
I found a citation on the Internet by a certain Tom Martin that says this:

"The Charles Parker Co. was an old company dating back to before the Civil War. They made a little bit of everything in the hardware line, including coffee grinders and vises. They also made eating utensils, knives forks and spoons. Parker started the Parker Bros. Gun Co. in they years immediately after the civil war and made good quality double barrel shotguns until selling out to Remington @ 1934. The Charles Parker Co. survived until the 1960's I think. I don't know the value of your vise, but I expect that some Parker gun collector would like to have it. If it were mine, I would just use it as it was intended."

I do not know if Mr. Martin is correct but this sounds logical, and I am no expert, but I bet that vise is of quality and temper you do see these days. 1910 would not surprise me at all. I personally would clean and oil its surfaces - it can work for another century if you so desire. What a nice find. If only it could talk.
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#3284804 - 02/17/14 05:38 AM Re: Finally got my bench vise - age/info? [Re: JHZR2]
GreeCguy Offline


Registered: 03/21/05
Posts: 2688
Loc: Elderly County, Florida
What makes it really cool is all the family history and how well it is preserved. I can see you passing that one on in years to come to children or grandchildren.
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#3284810 - 02/17/14 06:07 AM Re: Finally got my bench vise - age/info? [Re: JHZR2]
Pablo Offline


Registered: 10/28/02
Posts: 46940
Loc: Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
Before I scrolled all the way down I was thinking 1910-1930 range.

Your choice. I would clean it up, and try to paint it time period like. It's a keeper so make it nice.

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#3284814 - 02/17/14 06:19 AM Re: Finally got my bench vise - age/info? [Re: JHZR2]
stro_cruiser Offline


Registered: 02/26/11
Posts: 630
Loc: South Florida
Shes a beauty. A quality of steel rarely found today.

I personally wouldnt paint it, but either way, enjoy & of course, use! smile
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#3284820 - 02/17/14 06:38 AM Re: Finally got my bench vise - age/info? [Re: JHZR2]
Pop_Rivit Offline


Registered: 02/09/08
Posts: 5261
Loc: Midwest
I've seen a couple of similar swivel jaw vises go for around $70 at farm auctions-they're fairly common around here. If you have room for it they're a valuable piece of equipment in a shop.

It's too bad the slide is in such bad shape. You won't be able to open the jaws very far before the damaged section gets pulled into the base. If you use it for more than very lightweight, small items you'll risk damaging it further.

Unfortunately those U shaped slides were notorious for getting damaged like that.

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#3284835 - 02/17/14 07:01 AM Re: Finally got my bench vise - age/info? [Re: JHZR2]
Eddie Offline


Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 8038
Loc: Florida, Cape Coral
Take it apart, clean and lubracate it and enjoy the use of it. My father bought a HD Craftman vice when he was about 30 Years old and passed it to me and now m son uses it. That vice is about 85 years old and still used weekly. Ed
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#3284874 - 02/17/14 07:52 AM Re: Finally got my bench vise - age/info? [Re: JHZR2]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 37805
Loc: New Jersey
I'm not selling it nor do I particularly care about a "valuation", but it's good to know that they are around in case I need parts. I've not seen much at all on the 271 1/2 (would love to know why it is a 1/2 model). Age is my main interest to see if it was plausible to be my great-great grandfather's. And what products/how to lube it and protect it and where... Oil makes sense but I've also heard that a grease should be used in some places.

Can I make/buy jaw protectors for this? How would I spect hem?

They weren't painted as-delivered were they?

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#3284877 - 02/17/14 07:58 AM Re: Finally got my bench vise - age/info? [Re: JHZR2]
Zaedock Offline


Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 3860
Loc: Massachusetts
WOW! Awesome man! I grew up with a 271. It was my father's/grandfather's and now my younger brother has it.

I have Parker 1X in the shop (I believe 1850's-1860's) which I haven't been able to find a lot of info on and a Rock Island 446 mounted on my toy hauler trailer.

I did find this cool site:
http://www.datamp.org/patents/search/xrefCompany.php?id=1160
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#3284912 - 02/17/14 08:38 AM Re: Finally got my bench vise - age/info? [Re: JHZR2]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 37805
Loc: New Jersey
Interesting patent site. The 1914 patent looks very similar.

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#3284937 - 02/17/14 08:56 AM Re: Finally got my bench vise - age/info? [Re: JHZR2]
doitmyself Offline


Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 5294
Loc: MI
A quick search at garagejournal.com turns up about 7 pages on Parker vices, but only one unanswered thread about the 271 1/2. Maybe it is more rare than you think.

Here's a link to a pic from that thread:
http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=173650&highlight=Parker+271
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#3284976 - 02/17/14 09:44 AM Re: Finally got my bench vise - age/info? [Re: JHZR2]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 37805
Loc: New Jersey
Yeah I read a lot over there. There are a few other mentions of this specific model, but not many. I think one guy has this model, but his was cracked somewhere, and one other guy had one for parts... That's it.

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#3285500 - 02/17/14 06:30 PM Re: Finally got my bench vise - age/info? [Re: JHZR2]
JZiggy Offline


Registered: 10/12/10
Posts: 743
Loc: GA
What is the jaw width?

Chas Parker vises are very well regarded. Definitely a nice piece of vintage equipment to keep in regular service.

Personally, I would clean and oil the surface and lube the screw and its thrust washer with a nice moly grease. I prefer one with a lighter color so you can see when to refresh it due to it getting dark.
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#3285688 - 02/17/14 09:15 PM Re: Finally got my bench vise - age/info? [Re: JZiggy]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 37805
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: JZiggy
What is the jaw width?

Chas Parker vises are very well regarded. Definitely a nice piece of vintage equipment to keep in regular service.

Personally, I would clean and oil the surface and lube the screw and its thrust washer with a nice moly grease. I prefer one with a lighter color so you can see when to refresh it due to it getting dark.


Thanks! Any recommendations for specific products? I assume an ND 30 or so oil and then hat moly grease is light colored??

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