by Carl Matthews updated 05/01/05

The Iron Hand
Yeon Chuan Machinery


Oliver Machinery Company

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Do you have a Oliver vise? I would like to use your photos here.

Larger and heavier than the Emmert vise, the sturdy Oliver No.1 Universal Vise is versatile and well crafted. The jaws are 7-1/4 x 18 inches and will open 16". Extra ribs on the jaws make is a very strong vise. The main screw is 1-1/8 inches diameter with a buttress threads. The taper adjustment is accomplished by loosening one gnarled knob and tightening another. The tilt adjustment mechanism is almost identical to Emmert's TA3.

1920  Oliver Literature

1943  Oliver Literature

courtesy of Randy Wilson

1910  Ohio Tool Co.

No 150-D


No 152


No. 221-A Solid Nut


Common location for cracks on rear jaw.  


Oliver Vise Photos


Broken Oliver Nut on Left and

New Kindt-Collins Nut on Right

The treads on the Oliver are buttress.

The treads on the Kindt-Collins are acme.

Emmert on Left

Oliver on Right


Oliver No. 69B


Remember that unusual Oliver vise I told you about a couple of weeks ago?  I still haven't found a listing for a plain front (no dog) 10" x 4" with quick release that opens 12". (Weight 45.75 lbs.) Plus, I haven't found any reference to any with a quick-release mechanism like this one, but here's some pix and explanations:

ABOVE:  I believe the "WW55" is just a casting number as there's other "WW..." numbers on some of the other pieces.  Take note of the fact that there are NO holes in the front for mounting a wooden face, just rivets on the sides.


ABOVE:  Here's an overall shot.  See the wooden face on the front jaw?  Perhaps you can see in this picture (and the previous one) that the front jaw is actually made of two separate pieces.  There's a (very shallow) "U"-shaped steel part that slides down over the outside edges and inside face of the cast front jaw.  It's a very tight fit.  On the inside of this steel part are the screw holes for mounting a wooden face.  To me, this sure seems like an awfully long way to go just to hide the screw holes!  Could there be another purpose?

ALSO ABOVE:  The screw is 1+1/8" with square (not buttress) threads.  The two guide bars are 7/8".  Between the near guide bar and screw in the picture (actually on the bottom of the vise) is a square rod, which I call the "control rod".  More on that later.


ABOVE:  This is the rear end of the vise.  The two gear segments are part of the quick-release mechanism.  When the vise handle is turned 1/4 turn CCW, the segment on the end of the main screw moves and drives the other segment - on the control rod - to turn the control rod.  Pins at the ends of the segment on the screw prevent the gears from turning out out of mesh.  The gear on the screw is attached to the screw only by pressure from a stiff spring on the end of the screw.  This allows the screw to continue turning after the end of the gears' travel is reached, as the gear slips on the screw.


ABOVE:  Here's the vise upside down.  The square control rod is clearly visible on top.  When it's turned by the gear segments, the rod causes the "camshaft" (notice the two cams) to turn either against or away from the half-nut.  In this shot, the cams are pressing against the half-nut, causing it to engage the main screw.

ABOVE:  In this picture, the cams are off the half nut.  Since the whole thing is upside down, the half-nut is still against the screw.  In actual operation (right-side-up), gravity would allow the half-nut to fall away from the screw.


ABOVE:  Here's I'm manually defeating gravity, and releasing the half-nut from the screw. At any rate, it's a very nice vise that works beautifully.  1/4 turn of the handle is all it takes to release or engage the screw.   Despite the complexity, the action is very positive.  However, I'd guess this sucker was rather expensive to manufacture!  Do you know anything about this vise?


Boise, Idaho


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This site was last updated 05/01/05

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