The Record 74 Auto Vice

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The Record 74 is an excellent little vice, it weights 26lbs , has 4 inch jaws and opens to about 4 1/2 inches.

Record 74 vice catalogue

It was pitched as an inexpensive1)In the 1935 Record catalogue it is slightly more expensive than the bog standard cast iron 4” no 3 mechanics vice ( £1 9/- vs £1 5/-) but cheaper than the equivalent swivel base model, the 3S, which cost £1 13/- vice for the amateur mechanic or the woodworker who has an occasional need to do a bit of metalwork (where the fact it can be popped into a dog hole on your bench and removed after use is an advantage) and, if the Record marketing maestros are to be believed, was a popular choice in factories and mechanic’s workshops up and down the country.

Mine is probably 70-80 years old and, cosmetics aside, is in perfect working order.

new jaws and a replacement pipe holder

If you are patient they can be found at very reasonable prices (mine was about £60 delivered) and at this sort of money they represent an absolute bargain: a very well made vice that is a handy size and has the potential for generations of future use.

The vice has a number of unusual features and most of the ideas were explained in a patent taken out by Record in 1928:

This advert, probably from the 1930s, shows some of the features in action:

(with thanks to for finding the advert)

Record 74 features

Valve holders

The valve holders consist of two holes of different sizes and according to the patent are…

adapted to support a valve stem of an internal combustion engine or for use in straightening bolts or rods

No doubt automotive technology was a little more agricultural in the 1920s than today, but I am not sure many engine valves got polished in the manner shown above. Still, you never know!


The anvil – which comes in handy surprisingly often – is made of hardened steel. It is held in place by a square headed bolt and is removable, a feature that I suspect was included for the manufacturers convenience rather than ours. The “beak” of the anvil, and indeed the rest of the vice body, is cast iron so should not be pounded on too hard.

Pipe Bender

This consists of the curved section at the base of the movable jaw and the vertically grooved lug opposite on the fixed jaw. The pipe is gripped between the grooves of the two lugs and can be bent around the curved part.

The jaws are offset so as to not interfere with the pipe. In the earliest adverts the pipe bender is described as ‘adjustable’, but I have no idea what this refers to (unless it just means that pipes of different size can be accommodated?)

Swivel Base

The underside of the fixed jaw has two tabs which sit in the 9 pairs of notches in the triangular base – simply loosen the monkey nut lift the vice and twist to a new location.

The vices were supplied with some added extras:

fibre jaw grips

 for gripping delicate items (good luck finding a vice where these have not already been lost!)

Cylinder head holding plug 

a hexagonal rod with two screw threads designed to insert into the threaded cylinder head holes that received the spark plugs (one for US plug thread and one UK). I assumed these had all been lost along with all the fibre jaws, but much to my surprise a fellow poster on the forum (where I original posted the information about this vice) is in possession of one:

pipe gripper

Finally there was a pipe gripper included. This consisted of a removable v-shaped metal part with a serrated edge that fits in a groove in the moveable jaw, below the grip. The casting on the other side is v shaped and has a slot which receives the removable metal part allowing the vice to fully close even when it is installed. According to the patent the removable part was originally designed to be held in place by a set screw, but the screw was only used in the earliest models. This no doubt explains why they were all immediately lost.

this is a modern replacement of the removable pipe gripper. An improvement on the original since it has an embedded magnet allowing it to be affixed to the body of the vice when not in use.

You may also be interested to read about the 74’s diminutive counterpart, the Record Imp 80.


1 In the 1935 Record catalogue it is slightly more expensive than the bog standard cast iron 4” no 3 mechanics vice ( £1 9/- vs £1 5/-) but cheaper than the equivalent swivel base model, the 3S, which cost £1 13/-

4 thoughts on “The Record 74 Auto Vice”

  1. I am still using my 1947 model punched at that years Motor Show, for a show price of £5 . This has been used for many motorcycle rebuilds over the years. Only missing the cylinder head holding bolt. J.L.

  2. Hi,I am Chris Langley,living in South Africa,I have just purchased a Record Auto vice 74,looking to restore it and then sell it,some parts are missing such as the round part that fits into the anvil,and the pipe holding jaws,is there a place where I can purchase these parts? My number in SA is 0835973513

    • Type record 74 Auto Vice into Uk ebay and there are a couple of guys who will manufacture the parts you require.
      I restore them myself and have around 15 awaiting there turn.
      I even got my hands on a 80 year old one the was “new old stock” Original box with all components still wrapped in grease proof paper.
      If you want to sell it on and take pride then you need to get the paint right.
      After stripping down to bare metal give 2 coats of red oxide paint.
      Then use 3 coats of Massey Ferguson paragon gloss enamel paints.
      Biggest mistake people make is the fast Buck one.
      Wipe it over with detergent and slap red metal paint on it.
      Then expect £200?
      Best of luck


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