The J. B. Smith Co.
Philadelphia, PA

I can find little information about this distinctive brace that recently came my way.  The brace is clearly marked, "The J. B. Smith Co., Philada, PA."  None of my reference books or tool catalogues mention this company.  The EAIA Directory of American Toolmakers lists a "J. Barton Smith Co." in Philadelphia as a maker of saws, pruners, and screwdrivers.  This is probably the same company, but braces are not mentioned as a product.  J. Barton Smith is reported by Erv Schaffer (Hand Saw Makers of North America) as a saw maker from 1842 to 1890.

This is a well made brace, with walnut cup and wrist handles and an open latch pawl ratchet  with wide cogs as seen on some Goodell-Pratt braces.  This one is in the 6" sweep, and is most noteworthy for having a very squarish bend to the bows.  The the experienced eye it is quite "different from most braces that you see."  I would be very interested in learning about other braces marked by this company.

The chuck is of the Barber type, with Amidon jaws.  It is a very well-made brace.

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