Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 1, Issue 2
January 2007
Featured Patents

Nester’s Patent Marking Gauge - U.S. Patent No. 72,885
Nester's marking gauge - front view
John Nester, of Portland, Oregon, patented this marking gauge on December 31, 1867, with patent No. 72,885. The patent paper states, “…this invention consists of an improved form of weather-board hook, in combination with a fluid-level, graduated rule, marker, and gauge, the whole constituting a carpenter’s combined tool, of great utility and convenience.” In use, its primary function seemed to be the scribing of clapboards with a minor use of a conventional marking gauge.

Like most multi-tools, it does one thing well (scribing), while the other intended uses suffer from the apparent over-engineering of a simple marking device.

On December 14, 1869, with patent No. 97,795, Nester attempted to correct the deficiencies of his first offering by making the spur and fence more adjustable, allowing the level to be used as intended in the first patent. There is no evidence that the second patent was ever manufactured.
Nester's marking gauge - top view

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