Entwisle & Kenyon’s Instantaneous Grip Parallel Vice


The next two articles are about a couple of important quick-release vices that predate Parkinson’s design:

  • Entwisle & Kenyon’s (Accrington) Instantaneous Grip Parallel Vice
  • the Standard Instantaneous Grip invented by Smiths Marks & Co, Keighley and sold by Thomas Syers and co.

Both vices are described by Francis Young in Everyman His Own Mechanic. which was originally published in 1881 so we know both products available at least 3 or 4 years before Parkinson launched the revolutionary Perfect range of quick release vices.   Both vices get a plug from Mr Young, so lets take a look at each in turn.

Entwisle & Kenyon’s Instantaneous Grip Parallel Vice

This vice was invented by Wilson Riley in 1877. He filed for a US patent in 1880: US227582

The design was also licensed to Massey in the US who marketed it as the ‘Lightening grip’.


from Charles Strelinger and Co. catalogue from 1896

You could be forgiven for thinking it was all Massey’s own work, but here is a letter from E&K clarifying matters!

This letter was printed in English Mechanic and World of Science, Volume 45 (1887)

You can see how it works in the partial cross-section below – There is a toothed rack (E) and a toothed block (L) – when the handle is turned upwards the block is disengaged from the rack, and a half-turn downwards causes the cam (H) to engage the teeth in the block with those of the rack. The cam has a spiral shape which causes it to draw the movable jaw slightly forward so the work is gripped.


I have reproduced a picture of the internals of the vice here:


As you can see, the moveable part of the vice rides in a wide groove in the undercarriage which helps prevent the front jaw from racking – this is the feature that meant E&K could claim to have created a ‘parallel’ vice.


In addition to the cam/rack arrangement and unusual bulbous handle, the casting is sometimes stamped with [STEEL RACK] as in the example above – the Massey version is clearly marked “Massey No 17 LG”1)“LG” standing for lightening grip on the front face.

By 1905 Melhuish were selling a rebranded  E&K vice alongside vices by Parkinson and the US maker, Toles.

Melhuish catalogue 1905


References   [ + ]

1. “LG” standing for lightening grip

2 thoughts on “Entwisle & Kenyon’s Instantaneous Grip Parallel Vice”

  1. Another relevant vise is the original Sheldon, USA, which has a lever with similar knob and curve in the handle. It also seems to have a very similar rack and floating (?) nut, also machined slides, not bars, but the cam seems to be at the front jaw. (I have only looked at some easily googled pix) – patented about 1890? As with Syers, Entwhistle and Parky, the early versions seem to have a very heavy build, with a long base, only later moving to bars and a shorter, lighter base.

    These seem more common than the scarce Entwhistle or Syers, but less so than the early Parky, which was arguably the long term ‘winner’ (albeit as Record)

    You’ll easily find pictures, but I don’t have permission to attach — a couple of the blogs showing these look very friendly and may allow you to link or copy.


Leave a comment