Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 6, Issue 4
   March 2012
 
   Featured Patents
 

The Drill Box

Neatness always counts, or so they say. It can be most frustrating to spend more time looking for a tool than actually using it. This is further magnified when small parts come into play. Who hasn't had the experience of reassembling a repaired item and realizing near the end of the process that one screw or part has been mislaid? The opposite is true when a manufacturer includes one extra bolt or screw with a new toy, barbecue or piece of furniture requiring assembly. Coupled with the often cryptic instruction sheets, these scenarios are guaranteed to provide a lively environment.

  Drill boxes
  Two versions of the patented drill box
The modern twist drill bit can be obtained in a myriad of sizes (specified by numbers, letters, fractions, etc.) and in many different materials (HSS, carbon steel, carbide). To have one of each would easily run over 300 pieces. Finding the proper bit in a box or receptacle (I am partial to old coffee cans and jam jars) can prove problematic when looking for a particular size. There are many commercial boxes and storage cabinets available for the home workshop, but for the job site, there has to be a better way. It would appear this problem was recognized and addressed over 110 years ago.

With patent #702,904 (June 24, 1902), Thomas Abraham, a British citizen residing in Hopedale, Massachusetts (although, he had declared his intent to become an American in the patent papers), sought a method to improve the storage of similarly shaped objects, specifically twist drills. He created a series of holes in the top of a round receptacle with a rotating cover that could be indexed, allowing one to access a particular item. The different-sized circular slots in the cover (some units had two, others had three) corresponded to a concentric series of circles in graduated sizes in the container. The sizes were marked on the side of the round container in terms of fractions. It is unknown if drill boxes with other means of size specification were manufactured.
 
 
                   
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