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]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Old Antique Rare Unusual Millers Falls Collectible Corner Drill Carpentry ToolsIrwin Set Of 13 Wood Bits In CaseAntique Hand Crank Cast Iron Barn Beam Boring Drill Press Auger Tool PrimitiveAntique Millers Falls No. 182 Combination Hand Drill Ratchet Bit Brace Pat. 1875Vintage Military Irwin Auger Bit Set With Cloth Case Complete Set Antique Hand Crank Cast Iron Barn Beam Boring Drill Press Auger Tool PrimitiveStanley Yankee Brace North Brothers Yankee 2100 Hand Brace And Peck Stow Wilcox 8012b Hand BraceVintage Antique Bit Brace Stanley Fray No. 110 Spofford Style Hand ToolJames Swan Co. Mechanics Tool Auger Drill Bit Set Vintage Antique 13 Piece J Vtg Set 13 Irwin Mainbor Drill Auger Bits In Orig Pouch 4/16-16/16Alfrid Auger Bits... Near NewBrass Ebony Stuffed Marples Ultimatum Frame Brace Drill Tool Hc Long SheffieldJohn Fray Spofford's Patent Brace W/ Assorted Bits, Swan, Snell, Free Ship!Vintage The Cleveland Twist Drill Co. Drill IndexVtg Black & Decker 1/4" Electric Drill 1917 Buck Rogers Leather Chuck-key HolderStanley Hand Drill, No 803.Vintage Ratcheting Brace Drill Miller Falls No. 192Vintage Irwin Auger Bit Set In Walnut BoxGoodell-pratt Sears, Roebuck Co. Push Drill Point Set "yankee" Imprint Bits LotVintage Set Of Auger Bits (14) In Canvas PouchVintage Irwin Brace Drill Auger Bit Set - Very Old - Wooden Box With DrawerOld Hand Drill Tool Pat'd Aug. 13, 1895 Goodell Pratt Co Tool Hand Drill 2 SpeedAntique Lancaster L. M. & K. Wks Combination Hand Drill Ratchet Bit Brace *rare*Vintage Stanley No. 984 Ratchet Corner Brace Hand Tool Drill Functioning U.s.a.Vintage Craftsman Auger Bit Boxed Set Chrome Plated Vanadium Steel Ca 1950Vintage Millers Falls No.737 Corner Ratcheting Brace Drill ~ Original FinishAntique Vintage Tool Woodworking Hand Drill – Millers Falls No. 5L502- Antique Adjustable Hollow Augers Hand Tool Brace Bits- Bonney, B.s.v. Co.Vintage Miller Falls No.2 A Hand DrillVintage Pair Of Antique Hand Auger Drills W/oak T-handle Barrel Reamer Record Marples Ridgway Wood Boring Drill Bit Set 3/8" To 7/8"Rare Nickel Coated! Lowentraut Century Brace Drill Wrench - Johnson Patent 1901Vintage Drill Brace ToolAntique Q S Backus Angular Ratchet Adaptor Bit Brace Wood Drill Nov. 5, 1872Stanley Yankee North Bros For Repair Or Parts.Vtg--millers Falls No. 2a--double Pinion--eggbeater Style--hand Drill--very FineVintage The Standard Tool Co.drill Bit Index HolderAntique Turned Wooden Drill Holder Stand Union Twist Drill Co. Athol, Mass, UsaVintage Eggbeater Hand Drill OldStanley Brace & Bit Drill No 901 8 " Swing Old Used Vintage Mechanics Tools Drill Bit Holder For PartsCraftsman Eggbeater Hand Drill Like Millers Falls No. 2aOld Winchester Drill Ratcheting Bit Brace Wbb14 14'' Sweep Scarce & Fine ToolVintage 1960's Irwin 7 Piece Brace Drill Auger Bit Set, Oak BoxVintage Millers Falls No. 2 Hand Drill "egg Beater" StyleVintage Morse Jewelers Drill Bit Index With Wooden CaseVintage Millers Falls No.2-a Hand Drill 2a Eggbeater Drill With BitsLot Of 12 Antique Brace Drill Bits Russel Jennings Irwin Keen Kutter GreenleeIrwin Brace And Bit SetVintage Hand Drill With Three Auger Bits (brace And Bits) Very Good Condition17 Vintage Wood Auger BitsAntique Drill PressVintage Antique Wood And Brass Hand Drill 14" LongLot Of 12 Vintage Antique Lakeside Auger Drill Bits & Rustic Wood & Brass CaseStanley No. 180-18 In. Brace Bit ExtensionYankee Continuous Ratchet Drill Egg Beater Hand Drill Model No 1545Millers Falls 2a Hand DrillVintage Millers Falls 2 Pinion Hand Crank Drill M/ Pat`d Sept. 29th 1896 Antique13 Center Bits Screw Drivers Countersinks Bagshaw Hilger & Sons.