Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 5, Issue 6
   July 2011
   Featured Patents

Langlais Bevel

Langlais bevel

Sometimes the most obvious feature of a tool has nothing to do with its intended use. During the manufacturing process, reworks of the original concept can alter the tool's performance or indicate a different function. This tool is quirky in that its form can lead one to misread its capabilities.

In patent #521,414, granted in 1894, Joseph T. Langlais of Berkeley, California, sought to improve the measuring and marking of angles by introducing a different style of gauge compared to existing single-leg bevel gauges. The tool's two arms, or handles, are used to replicate or record any angle. The arm-fixing mechanisms are locked into the desired angle by pushing down on the two levers. To release them, you simply lift up. By virtue of the gear arrangement on the arms and the blade that joins the two arms together, they always work in concert.

The blade, however, gives the impression that this tool can be used in a much different manner. When the gauge is opened, one would think the metal leg can be used to bisect an angle because the blade is always centered. (The bisector of an angle is the line or line segment that divides the angle into two equal parts.) This is not the case. The width of this connecting blade (used in the construction of the bevel) has no provision or markings to indicate the bisector. This gauge can do only one thing — replicate or indicate an angle, as stated in the patent.
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