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Wm. H. Denney

I know that a catalog dated 1892 exists. The owner did not care to share the contents.

Lloyd Henley was kind enough to lend me an example, with 12 inch jaws, from his collection. Since that time, I have acquired my own example, with 18 inch jaws.


dn_w.jpg (18K) The identification as Denney is based on the maker's mark.

This example is my own. The jaws have been mutilated, so that the swivel pad is much reduced in size.

The workmanship of Denney clamps is not as good as that of some other makers. Circular scratches can be found on the top and bottom sides of the jaws. In addition, the ends of the jaws are not sanded smooth, but have ridges from the annual growth rings. The marks of the planer are left on the adjustable bearing piece. The marks of the lathe are left in the handles.

John Adams has commented to me that he wished Denney had sanded the jaws better, so that the mark is more visible.


bottom three lines of mark MAKER / LANCASTER PA / PAT'D Feb 8th '87 This mark (Henley's example) is exceptionally faint, and struck with more force on the bottom line than the top. The result is that the mark is:

Pat'd Feb 8th '87

(To guide the viewer, in MAKER, the M is over the C, the K is over the ST, and the R is over the ER. I will try again to improve the lighting, so that there are no shadows from the ridges, only from the mark.)
Notice the pronounced chamfering, giving this an almost faceted look.

I hope to replace this with an image of my example, which is marginally better.


adjustable piece in stopped jaw The stopped jaw has an adjustable piece, held in place by a metal pin. The details do not agree with the patent drawing in every particular, but it is clear that this follows the Denney patent of 1887.


The jaws are chamfered on 7 edges. The chamfer is at 45 degrees, and more pronounced around the back than along the outside. (See image of mark above for details.)

flaring chamfer down the slope A distinctive characteristic is the flare of the chamfer down the slope, widening as it goes, in contrast to Bliss which narrows as it goes.


The threads are hand cut.

Through Handle

Denney: handle of through spindle The through handle is deeply waisted, with a pronounced cylindrical bearing shoulder. It is decorated with two lines at the greatest diameter, not quite half way along.

Denney: tip of handle of through spindle The lathe mark in the handle end has four prominent indentations, evenly spaced, and five minor indentations unevenly spaced.

Through End

Denney: end of through spindle The end of the through spindle is hemisperical, but with a pronounced central pit from the lathe.

Stopped Handle

Denney: handle of stopped spindle The stopped handle is somewhat barrel shaped, with the greatest diameter about two thirds of the way along. It is decorated with two lines, about half way along.

Denney: tip of handle of stopped spindle The lathe mark in the handle end has four broad and shallow indentations with ribbing, evenly spaced, and several other indentations, unevenly spaced.

Stopped Stub End

Denney: end of stopped spindle The stub end of the stopped spindle is cylindrical, with flat face, and a pronounced central pit from the lathe.


Can anybody interpret the lathe markings? Can they identify the lathe used to form the handles?

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