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Antique Clamps and Receipt Found in Factory

Bill Warner
November 08, 2018
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For today’s Bill’s History Corner, I found something that interests me. Old tools are very dear to my heart. I found a receipt dated Feb 8, 1908, when the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. purchased 5 Doz. number 2 size hand screw clamps from the ADJUSTABLE CLAMP CO. of Chicago. The original price was $37.50 but the company was given a discount of 2 % which equals $.75, to make the total cost $36.75. Looks like the freight cost was $.38.  These clamps were the JORGENSEN PATENT WOOD CLAMP style of hand screw clamps, a style that has been favored by woodworkers everywhere. A company note on the receipt indicated that ½ of the clamps were intended for Factory “A” and the other half for Factory “B”.

In 2018, these clamps are still being used in the Coppes Napanee custom kitchen factory. There is almost no way of knowing if the clamps we find in the factory today are the original ones purchased in 1908, because the style of the clamp has changed very little. One interesting sidebar is the clamp pictured below with an original size Jorgensen clamp. This longer clamp likely was broken during use, and someone in the company (maybe a maintenance man) decided the clamp could be repaired and made usable again. And that they did by putting new longer wood jaws on the original screws. This clamp was found on a shelf of tools in the factory about a month ago.