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anvilfire VISE (Vice) Gallery - Keen Kutter Leg Vise by Columbian

Keen-Kutter Blacksmith leg vise and logo

Keen Kutter Leg Vise by Columbian

Photo by Vernon Kelderman.

This is a rare and interesting blacksmiths vise. The use of the company logo as bench plate is unique in the industry and ingenious use of the shape.

This vise will be auctioned off at a charity auction late in 2015. Look here for particulars.

We know this vise was manufactured by Columbian because of the style of its details, primarily the box (nut) and it is stamped COLUMBIAN very faintly across the movable jaw. Simmonds also did a lot of business with Columbian selling their line of industrial bench vises (among other brands).

Bench plate and logo side by side
Above, the bench plate, the Keen-Kutter logo and inset a standard Columbian bench plate.

Here is where things get interesting. Note that the cast logo is missing the E and trailing S in E.C. SIMMONDS. Obviously this is so that the bolt holes can go in these places. So we reflect on this knowing these facts:
  1. Simmonds was very particular about its Keen-Kutter logo which it put on its own tools as well as items it had made by hundreds of other manufacturers.
  2. Items with the Keen-Kutter logo are one of the most collected AND pirated and forged logos.
SO we have to ask, Would Simmonds alow its logo to be defiled in ordfer to use it? It was used on millions of brass locks by putting a wide border on the logo then putting the rivets in the border. The same could have been done here. We have found another Keen-Kutter Vise with the missing letters just barely showing. It appears that later the letters were reomved entirely as above for a cleaner apperance.

We also have to ask, Would someone make a pirated copy of a leg vice? OR even the bench bracket? No, it is much too expensive with a low probility of a return. On padlocks small overseas shops make them for a couple dollars and then they sell for hundreds, over an over. . . a small investment, a big return. Even if a forger made the bench brackets alone and put them on old vises they would need a large collection fairly specific antique vises. Improbable.

We have found very few mentions of this vise. The fact that the bench plate does not show a perfect logo indicates it was not made in great quantity. It may be a gift or commerative made in very low quantity. So this appears to be a legitimate vise made under the auspices of Simmonds Keen-Kutter.

The Keen Kutter brand was developed by the Simmons Hardware Company of St. Louis, Missouri. The brand dates back to 1870 when it was first used on tools and cutlery. Eventually the brand was expanded to include household items such as meat grinders, sewing machines, lawn mowers and general hardware.

The Columbian Hardware Company was established some time in the late 1800's and manufactured blacksmiths anvils and vises. In 1926 they reincorporated as the Columbian Vise & Manufacturing Co. and ceased making large anvils. The only anvils made from this point on were small bench or craft anvils.

The Columbian Vise Company made vises until 1973 when Warren Tool Company purchased the Company.

  • Dimensions:
  • Weight: 50 - 55 lbs.?

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