how to date a reed vise

Dating a Reed vise can be challenging because the company’s records and markings may not always provide specific information about the vise’s age. However, you can use several methods and clues to estimate the age of a Reed vise:

  1. Check for Manufacturer’s Markings: Examine the vise for any markings, stamps, or engravings that indicate it’s a Reed vise. Reed vices often have the manufacturer’s name, location (e.g., Erie, Pennsylvania), and sometimes a model or patent number. These markings can provide information about the vise’s origin and, in some cases, its age.
  2. Design Changes: Reed vises have gone through different design changes over the years. Examine the vise for variations in design, including changes in the shape of the jaws, the type of screw or thread used for clamping, and the style of the handle. Research the history of Reed vise designs to get an idea of when certain features were popular.
  3. Serial Numbers: Some Reed vises may have serial numbers stamped or engraved on them. Serial numbers can be valuable for identifying the manufacturing date if you can find reference guides that correlate serial numbers to production years.
  4. Materials and Construction: Pay attention to the type of materials used in the vise’s construction. Different eras saw variations in materials and manufacturing techniques. For example, changes in the type of steel, casting methods, or finishes can offer clues about the vise’s age.
  5. Collectors’ Resources: There are collectors’ books, websites, and forums dedicated to vintage and antique tools, including Reed vises. These resources often contain information about the history of Reed Manufacturing Company, vise models, and manufacturing periods.
  6. Consult with Tool Experts: Experts in vintage and antique tools, including collectors and appraisers, can provide valuable insights based on their knowledge and experience. They may be able to estimate the vise’s age by examining specific features.
  7. Online Tool Communities: Join online tool collector communities and forums. Share pictures and descriptions of your Reed vise, and experienced collectors may offer insights into its age.
  8. Historical Records: Some historical records, catalogs, and advertisements from Reed Manufacturing Company may still exist in public or private collections. These records can provide historical context and information about the company’s tools.

While dating a Reed vise may not always yield a precise date, the information you gather can help you estimate its age within a certain range. Additionally, the value of a Reed vise can vary based on factors like age, condition, rarity, and demand among collectors and craftsmen.

If you’re interested in selling or insuring your Reed vise, consider getting it appraised by a professional tool appraiser who specializes in vintage and antique tools. They can provide a more accurate assessment of its age and value.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *