Following the last few posts on the history of the quick release vice covering the major developments in the UK over the past 100 years or so, the Twenty Century Vice deserves an honourable  mention, if only for its memorable face design

The main aspects of this unusual vice’s history were uncovered by a contributor to the ukworkshop forum.

Abraham Chris, a Russian immigrant living in Brick Lane London took out a couple of patents relating to the vice:

  1. GB193768A
  2. GB258095A

The earlier patent from 1922 describes a base plate designed to simplify the attachment of the vice to a bench, and the second is a modification to accommodate a QR mechanism.

This picture gives us a clue about what Mr Chris had in mind:

notice the raised points on the casting of the base plate

Although the patent describes a base-plate with one or more transverse ribs that engage with corresponding mortices on the underside of the bench, the actual implementation is a series of raised pointed cylinders. This seems like a decent idea since you could use the points to mark the underside of the bench and then drill holes rather than chopping a mortice.

The QR mechanism itself seems to be a pretty standard Parkinson/Record affair:

Fair play to Mr Chris for getting someone to make them for him and selling a few into what would have been a very competitive market. Extra plaudits for naming the vice ‘The twentieth Century’ and then coming up with an ornate face that harks back to the 18C.  The few that have appeared online are all different colours, so it is not possible to be sure what they originally looked like.  Hopefully they were suitably garish.

a reimagined paint job by bm101 on