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W P Tarbell of Milford NH

Description of Cabinetmaker's Bar Clamp


image from Instruments of Change, showing bar clamp

Characterized by a double screw mechanism which permits fine and rapid adjustment of the jaws, this clamp is based on an 1888 invention of Wendell Philips Tarbell. Originally applied to common handscrew clamps, Tarbell's patent is here adapted to the longer bar clamp. The larger thread, turned by the long grip, is used for rough adjustment of the clamp. A smaller threaded rod, hidden within the large one, is extended by turning the ribbed wooden nut and permits fine adjustment or additional tightening of the clamp. Tarbell may have made this clamp as well as inventing it, for in 1891 he was known as a "clamp and screw manufacturer."
(This specimen was provided courtesy of William K Ackroyd.)


"W. P. Tarbell" in serrated rectangle
"Milford NH" in serrated rectangle
"Pat July 17 88" in serrated rectangle


  1. Milford Town History,
  2. Instruments of Change, New Hampshire hand tools and their makers, 1800-1900
    Published for the NH Historical Society by Phoenix Publishing, Canaan NH
    This catalog of the exhibition held in the NH Historical Society 20 Dec 1984 - 30 May 1985 was researched and written by James L and Donna-Belle Garvin

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