Before drills and braces, T-shaped augers were used to poke holes into wood, while smaller gimlets were used to start them. Auger handles were usually made of a piece of hardwood that was sanded, rounded, or even contoured to give the user a firm grip. Bits on spoon augers essentially carved a hole in the piece of wood, and had to be periodically removed to clear the chips. Spiral-bit augers were precursors to modern drills, whose bits cleared the hole of chips as the user drilled.

A significant advance on the auger was the brace, which was originally designed with a single, permanently fixed bit at its end. Eventually, though, braces were designed with sophisticated chucks to accommodate replacement bits, as well as bits of different sizes and for various purposes. Chucks were patented as vigorously as the braces themselves; the Barber chuck, for example, was widely used on Millers Falls braces of the late 19th century. The braces themselves also evolved for particular trades, from furniture makers to surgeons.

As for drills, they have been around since at least the time of the ancient Egyptians, who used bow drills to bore holes. Archimedean drills resembled what many people know today as Yankee screwdrivers, while hand drills were often called eggbeater drills for their similarity to that common kitchen tool.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Alloy Artifacts

Alloy Artifacts

A tool collectors’ dream, this site is a deep repository of photos and info on 20th century hand tools and the co… [read review or visit site]

Vintage Machinery

Vintage Machinery

This collective website, which started as an online discussion forum, also includes a large database of manufacture… [read review or visit site]

Drainspotting

Drainspotting

Josh and Cam Larios have created this site enabling people to upload and 'tag' photos of historic or artistic manho… [read review or visit site]

A Millers Falls Home Page

A Millers Falls Home Page

Randy Roeder has carved out a niche for himself with his fine website devoted to the history of the Millers Falls C… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique Barn Beam Boring Machine Drill Auger Timber Frame - No ReserveLot Of 3 Vintage Small Palm Hand Drills Goodell PrattDrill Bits For Victorian Ebony & Brass ' Hibernia' Woodworking Brace Wm Marples Stanley Russell Jennings Auger Bits And Brace!!13 Piece Set Irwin Auger Drill Bits 1/4" To 1" In Original Wood Case Vintage Millers Falls Hand Crank Drill # 2 All Steel Nice Cond Tool Made UsaFull Set Of Antique Brace Twist Drill Bits All Stamped St Vintage Brace And BitsVintage Irwin Drill Bit Set 13 Piece Set With Wooden CaseCtd Cleveland Twist Drill Co No 80 Machinist Bit Index Holder Copper Plated ZincHollow Augers All Stearns Tenon Cutter Dowel Spoke Brace Tool Patented BitstockVintage Yankee North No. 2100-10 In. Brace Drill Pat.nov. 6-23Lot Of 39 Brace Drill BitsIrwin Auger Bit Set Milwaukee Self-feed Drill Bits + 1/2"drive Adapter For Air Impact WrenchVintage Auger Bit Set Keen Kutter Wood Drills In Box Rare Old Tool Solid CenterGoodell-pratt Hand Drill No. 379 With 6 Bits Vintage Millers FallsVintage Irwin Auger Bit Set + Craftsman Hand DrillAntique Small Drill Press, Hand-operated - Pat Appl D ForVintage Stanley Yankee 41y Push Drill W/ 8 Bits Vintage Craftsman Brace With 15 BitsHollow Auger Tenon Cutter Dowel Spoke Brace Tool Patented Bitstock E.c. Stearns Adjustable Hollow AugerVintage Antique Primitive Wood 17" Beam Auger With 2" BoreHollow Auger Douglass Tenon Cutter Dowel Spoke Brace Tool Patented BitstockVintage Irwin Brace Bits 7piece 4/6/8/10/12/14/16 All 7 And Plastic Case. Dowel Point CutterHollow Auger E C Stearns Tenon Cutter Dowel Spoke Brace Tool Patented BitstockVintage Set Of 60 Numbered High Speed Drills In Its Stand-up Bench Holder Vintage Miller Falls Hand Push Drill With 7 Dill Bits U.s,a,madeLot Of Antique Drill Bits, Chisels, Misc Items 36pcs O08Unique 1800s Swedish Hand Forged Hand Brace Hand Drill With 8 Original BitsAntique Auger Bits Most Russel Jennings From EstateVintage Bell System - B Stanley - Yankee Push Drill No. 41y W/ 10 BitsVintage Dayton Ohio A P E 7f 8r Push Screwdriver W/flat ScrewdriverAntique/vintage Wood Handle Pocket Screwdriver/hand Drill W/10 BitsStanley Yankee Push Drill With BitsLarger Archimedian Drill With 4 Jaw Chuck And 4 Flat DrillsVintage **usa** Craftsman 6 Pc. Auger Bit Set ¼" - 1", Metal Storage Rack, 4156Vintage Collectible North Bros. Yankee # 1455 Hand Crank Breast Drill (look)H&n Boner Antique Bit Brace W/ Turned Hardwood But Handle & Square Screw ChuckVintage Hand DrillVintage Hand Drill Plus 22 Various Sized Wood Drill Bits~nice Collectible Set!Vintage Stanley No. 742 "special" Shoulder Brace Hand Drill Made In UsaLot Of 4 Vintage Auger Bit Extension Bits Craftsman Millers Falls StanleyStanley Sweetheart No. 733 Special Breast Drill Vintage North Bros. Yankee 1555 Ratcheting Breast DrillVintage Barrel Bung Hole Auger -- 11" LongThread, Die, Holders Willey And RussellAntique Gimlet 1/4 Inch Diam. Small T ~ Handle Auger Wood Boring DrillHollow Auger Drill Attachment 3/4" FixedVintage Wards Pistol Grip Push Drill. W/gits Bros. Drill Bit Holder. Works.2 Stanley Brace Drills And Bits Model # 915 X 12" & #945 X 10" Plus 16 Misc BitsAntique Small Cast Iron Millers Falls Unmarked Jewelers Hand Drill Vintage Stanley Yankee #41y Push Drill W/ 8 Good Drill Bits Miscellanious Vintage Auger Bits Some Russel Jennings And OthersStanley Forstner Powerbore Drill Bits 5/8" & 3/4"Set Of 6 Handled Gimlets, Augers.Vintage Greenlee Auger Bit Set W/irwin Expansion Drill Bit (7/8" To 3")Vintage Stanley No. 743 Shoulder Brace Hand Drill Made In Usa