Saturday, January 30, 2016

A bit of History (w/pics & links)

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I put a few more antique items up for sale yesterday—three long augers and an old wrench. All came from the estate of some relative at Volcano, West Virginia. The augers are usually called “raft augers,” since they were used by the brave souls who used to ride the log rafts down America’s rivers. They allowed the men to stand up and drill the holes for whatever system was used to link the logs. The operator’s upright stance was also aided by the use of a special tall brace to hold the “bit” (auger), that allowed BOTH hands to crank, thus upping torque on the bit. In an economy version, the brace and bit was made in one piece, and was solid, with no swiveling hand grips.

photo of economy version found on internet

Such augers and braces were also used in the early oilfields to drill holes in the sills, band wheels, bull wheels, etc. on the old wooden rigs (derricks). The bits in the photo were some of those. My grandfather was a rig-building contractor in those days and had some of the bits and one of the braces, also. He called the brace a “gary own,” pronounced the way I spelled it, though I don’t know how HE spelled it, or why he called it that. I donated his tools to the local oilfield museum many years ago without remembering to take a photo first.


SO, there’s your history lesson for the day. I hope you enjoyed it. © 2016
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