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Bit Brace Drill manufactured by Millers Falls Company
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This tool, made by the Millers Falls Company of Greenfield and Millers Falls, Massachusetts, is known as a "bit brace drill." The design, which goes back thousands of years, relies on hand power to provide rotation of the drill bit and hand pressure to make it cut. Tools like this, dating from the 1930's and 40's, were used to drill holes and drive screws in wood. During this period, the company was producing up to 10,000 bit braces each week. At one point during World War II (WWII), the company and its 1600 employees were shipping 20,000 bit braces a week for military use. In response to craftsmen's affection for quality tools, the company incorporated exotic wood and artistic styling into these tools. In 1928, while building the Garden Theater, in Greenfield, carpenter Fred Schmidt and three others spent a month drilling holes in the hardwood floors and screwing down 2,500 seats with this type of tool.
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