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Title: Vise
Identifier: 2006.7.2
Donor: Jack & Anne McKenna
Item Date: 1865-1900
Image Creator: Museums of Mississauga
Creation Date: 2006
Location: Bradley Museum

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Description: The saw sharpening vise consists of a C-clamp base, a ball swivel and a 23.0 cm rubber-lined vise. The immovable surfaces are painted black. The C-clamp has a large wing nut and bolt for fastening to the work surface. The ball swivel apparatus has a bolt-managed adjustment with a long 7.0 cm handle. The vise is opened or closed with a handle (9.5 x 2.3 cm) that moves through approximately 120 degrees. A copy of an illustration of a similar device from the manufacturer is attached. On the front surface of the front side of the vise, is cast "Henry Disston & Sons". History: The vise belonged to the McKenna family farm of Hope All, New Brunswick est. 1802. The manufacturer, Henry Disston & Sons owned the largest saw maker in the world: the Keystone Saw Works. REF: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_Saw_Works. The Disston company was established in 1840 by Henry Disston as the Disston Saw Works and initially only made saws. In 1855 he cast the first crucible saw steel ever made in America. He also started making files in 1865. In 1872, he started building the largest saw manufacturing facility in the world in Tacony, Philadelphia. It took over 25 years to move the entire facility to Tacony. This Philadelphia neighbourhood seems to have been the only company town in the United States established within an existing city. Henry Disston was renowned for having one of the first industries that exhibited environmental responsibility, as well as a paternalistic view towards his employees. For example, he had thousands of homes built in Tacony for his workmen. Funds to purchase these homes were made available through a building and loan association set up by the Disston firm. Mr. Disston was ready to grant any assistance needed to see to it that his workers could purchase a home, even if advances needed to be made. Other examples of Henry Disston's caring influence on the community were evident in everyday life. To meet employees' cultural needs, a hall and a library were built with Henry Disston agreeing to pay a fixed sum towards maintenance. The Tacony Music Hall was erected in 1885, also with assistance of Disston money. His products won the highest honours at the great Centennial Exposition of 1876. Disston and Sons cast the first crucible steel in the nation from an electric furnace in 1906. The firm's armour-plating building near Princeton Avenue and Milnor Street contributed tremendously to the WWII effort, building a volume of armour plates for steel tanks. REF: Disston Handbook, 1912, pp 420-421.
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