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]

Old Woodworking Machines

Old Woodworking Machines

This collective website, which started as an online discussion forum, now also includes a large database of manufac… [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    

Old Millers Falls No. 210 Bench Drill Press As IsVintage Russell Jennings Auger Bit Set Cast Steel Mfg + Leather RollAntique Spofford's Patent Fray & Pigg BraceRussell Jennings Spur Auger BitsDrgm 600 Hand Crank Drill Press-good Working ConditionFull Set Of 13 Vintage Superior Brace-auger Bits In Original BoxEstate Antique Vtg Brace Bit Hand Drill Tool Lot Nice Stanley, Miller Falls, BitMillers Falls No. 502 Corner Brace Auger Very Good ConditionAntique Goodell Brothers Drill, Pre Goodell Pratt Or Millers Falls, Neat PieceVtg. Wood Butterfield & Co. Drill Bit Index 60 Wire Sizes In Thousands + 5 HtfMillers Falls Hand Drill No. 2. Double Pinion. Excellent Condition. 5 Bits.Vintage Bow DrillCollectible Egg Beater Drill No. 5 A Millers Falls Co. Made In U.s. A.Millers Falls No. 5a Eggbeater Hand Drill In VgcVintage Ratchet Carpenter's Brace / Great Working Tool / Auger Tool59 Old & Vintage Wood Brace Hand Drill Bit ToolsVintage Miller Falls Co. Hand Drill No 104 W/8 BitsPair Of Vintage "eggbeater" Type Hand Drills Goodell-pratt Co. 1895 W/bitsVintage Miller Falls Hand Drill #2Vintage Craftsman Automatic Self-positioning Drill Case W/ All 60 Bits In EucMillers Falls No. 54 6" Non-ratcheting Brace AugerVintage Miller Falls No.2-ag Hand Crank Drill Wood Handle OriginalSuper Nice Stanley #923 10" Chrome Plated 100 Plus Brace. Near Intact Label - Nr13 Piece Acrabore Auger Bit Set In Wooden Box U,s Navy 1953 North Bros. "yankee" Push Brace No. 75. Chuck Same As A Brace. 4 Patents.Set Of 9 Greenlee Brace Auger Bits In Original Plastic Case Plus Adj. BitGoodell Pratt Co. Toolsmiths Hand Drill Patented 1895 & 1896Vintage Wood Working Drill Bits (5 Pieces)Two Stanley Braces In Nearly Like-new Condition, 6" And 10" Swings, English MadeSet Of 26 Antique Drill Bits - Early American Hand Drill Antique Brass Framed Moulson Bros Sheffield Pod DrillVintage Black & Decker Old Elect Drill 1917 Ww1 Era Boring Tool Rare Chuck WorksEleven Auger Bits For A Brace In A Home Made StandStanley No. 923 10" Bit Brace Used4 Antique Wood Handled Gimlets Auger Tools Woodworking/shipwright's/carpentersMillers Falls Brace/drill No.13. Earliest Variation. Pat. 1-14-1868. Excl. Cond.Stanley Russell Jennings Auger Bits And Expansive Brace Bit (13 Pieces) VintageRussell Jennings Spur Auger Drill Bits 32 1/2 Qrs. Full 13 Piece SetScarce Stanley No 929 - 10 In Ratcheting Hand Brace Drill Aluminum Hard To FindSet Of 26 Antique Drill Bits - Early American Hand Drill Antique Brass Ward R P Sheffield Drill Brace Rosewood Early Wood WorkingVintage Yankee Handyman Screw Drivers Bits Counter Sink 33h 133h 233h On CardGoodell Pratt "egg Beater" Hand Drill No. 655aVintage 43 Pieces Hand And Brace Auger Drill Bit Lot, Snell, Swan, Stanley Sw !!Vintage Antique Millers Falls No. 718 Bit Brace Chain Drill Attachment WoodworkVintage Goodell Pratt Egg Beater Style Hand DrillVintage Lot 15 Auger Drill Bits Incl. 1"-3" Adjustable Bit ,old Brace And Box Vintage Stanley Yankee No.03-043 Push Drill With 8 Yankee BitsVintage Auger Bits Set 7 Assorted Bits & Working Hand DrillStanley Hy-lo Drive Hand Crank DrillMillers Falls No.1 Hand Drill Circa 1910Vintage Stanley Yankee Push Drill Bits Wooden Case Millers Falls No.35 18 Inch Extention Bit For Hand Brace WoodworkingEarly Patent ? Bit Brace 2 Piece Chuck Collar No. 9 Wood HandlesSpoke Pointer Hargrave Cutter Dowel Brace Tool Sharpener Cone BitstockSpofford Brace Nov.11-1859 & Auger Bits Irwin Russell Jennings Ect. Antique Millers Falls Angle Brace Attachment 1910 Patent Date1906 Morse Triangle Twist Drill HolderVintage Millers Falls No. 12 Breast Drill And A Unkown Partial Breast DrillMillers Falls Hand Drill Model 2 A With Original Bits In Handle