Volume 7, Issue 5 - May 2013
records indicate that the oldest implements used as tools date
back to between 2.4 and 2.6 million years ago. One might say
those tools had a pretty good shelf life. The patented tool
discussed here dates somewhat later. It is but one of the more
than 780 hammer patents filed in North America since 1840, a
number indicative of the many tool users convinced they had
come up with a better mousetrap. I offer no comment on actual
With patent #2,239,719 dated April 29, 1941, John. N. Jarrett
of Toronto, Ontario, sought to improve the standard steel-headed
hammer with the addition of a stepped claw that facilitated
the removal of poorly inserted nails. The patent also claimed
that the stepped-claw design provided a method of removal that
did not bend the nail, be it long or short, a useful feature
during the Second World War, when recycling of nails was a necessity.
The revised claw had a series of tabs on the angular section
joining the head to the hammer body. The claim further stated
that these additional step tabs eliminated the need for a block
or other auxiliary fulcrum during nail removal.
hammers are drop forged or cast steel. This head was fabricated
using one of those methods, although I can't tell which one.
It is clear, however, that it would have been far too expensive
to use a die or mould to produce such a complicated structure,
so the claw section in this example was gas welded onto the
body and claw at four points. At that time, gas welding hadn't
yet been supplanted by the newer process of arc welding that
was being used for tank and ship building. It's unknown if other
versions were manufactured using a different technique.
Of special interest is the fact that this patent was filed by
a Canadian in the United States on November 15, 1939, less than
a month after Canada's entry into the Second World War. The
Canadian application was filed six months earlier on April 17,
1939. For whatever reason, the patent was granted in the USA,
and that is the one we show below.
These hammers are not commonly found in Canada, but when discovered
they are always rather well used. Though somewhat scarce, they
cannot be classed as rare. Participation in the war effort by
both the United States and Canada would have doomed any such
invention by its removal from the manufacturing process. Yes,
hammers are a genuinely collectable tool, and there are many
aficionados who scour flea markets and auction sales for them.
This hammer, however, would have been tossed into the junk box
had it not been for an alert from a fellow tool collector.
D.S. Orr has been a collector, user and student of woodworking
and metalworking tools and practices for more than 40 years.
Recently retired, he has devoted even more time to these endeavors.
States Patent Office.
John N. Jarrett, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Application November 15, 1939, Serial No. 304,608
In Canada April 17, 1939
4 Claims. (Cl. 254—26)
invention relates to improvements in hammers as described in
the present specification and shown in the accompanying drawing
that forms a part of the same.
The invention consists in the novel features of construction
and arrangement of parts whereby during the progress of withdrawal
operative contact with the nail is successively effected at
different parts along the hammer, each point in turn further
removed from the main claws, to compensate for the rotation
of the hammer head on its fulcrum and thereby maintain the maximum
leverage throughout the entire operation.
The main objects of the invention are to provide a hammer by
means of which a nail may be wholly withdrawn from the object
in which it is embedded without the necessity of using a block,
wedge, or other auxiliary fulcrum; to provide a hammer which
can be used with equal facility in the drawing of long or short
nails; to provide means whereby the pull on the nail will always
be at substantially right angles to the surface in which the
nail is embedded so that said nail will not become bent while
it is being pulled; to provide efficient nail pulling means
which will not add materially to the weight of the hammer nor
interfere with the balance of the hammer, and generally to provide
a sturdy and efficient hammer which may be produced at small
In describing the invention reference will be made to the accompanying
drawing, in which—
Figure 1 is a side elevation of a hammer embodying my invention.
Figure 2 is a plain view of the inner face of the hammer head.
Figure 3 is a cross sectional view taken on the line 3—3
of Figure 1.
Figure 4 is a side elevation showing the hammer in position
preparatory to making the initial pull on the nail, the position
at the end of the pull being shown in dotted lines.
Figure 5 is a side elevation showing the hammer in position
preparatory to a further pull on the nail.
Figure 6 is a side elevation showing the relative positions
of the nail and the hammer at the end of the pull from the starting
position shown in Figure 5.
Like numerals of reference indicate corresponding parts in the
Referring to the drawing, the hammer head comprises a central
portion 1 provided with the usual eye 2 for reception
of a handle 3, curved claws 4 and 5 extending
from one side of said central portion 1 and spaced apart
as at 6 to receive the body of a nail, screw or other
object to be pulled, and a striking head 7 opposed to
the claws 4 and 5.
Arms 8 and 8a, preferably constituting
an integral part of the head, connect the respective claws 4
and 5 with the portion 1 of the head at points
substantially equi-distant from the junction of said claws with
the head, the said arms preferably extending at an angle of
substantially 45 degrees in relation to the longitudinal axis
of the portion 1 of said head and joining with the claws
at a considerable distance from the ends of said claws whereby
to leave the said ends free for use in pulling short nails,
prying up the end of a board, or for any of the various other
purposes to which they may be put.
Each of the arms 8 and 8a is provided at
intervals throughout its length with a like number of lateral
fingers, or ledges, 9 extending outwardly in relation
to the hammer head at substantially parallel with the portions
of the claws 4 and 5 therebelow, the fingers from
the opposing arms being arranged in aligned pairs spaced longitudinally
of the arms and the fingers of each pair spaced apart a sufficient
distance to permit of the passage of the body, but not of the
head, of the nail therebetween, so that when the hammer is position
with one pair of horizontally aligned fingers beneath the head
of a partially drawn nail and leverage is applied to the handle
the hammer will be rotated, with the object in which the nail
is embedded serving as a fulcrum, and said fingers will resist
the passage of the head of the nail therebetween and thus cause
further, or complete, withdrawal of the nail, according to the
length of the latter.
The top faces (those farthest removed from the claws 4
and 5) of each aligned pair of fingers 9 may extend
outwardly at right angles to the faces of the arms from which
they extend, or they may be slightly concaved if desired. It
is preferable, however, that the under surfaces of said fingers
be tapered upwardly, to their outer ends, as shown at 10,
whereby to deflect the head of the nail, or other device, upwardly
and thus facilitate the manipulation of the hammer. It is important
that the fingers 9 be spaced sufficiently from one another
that in the swinging movement of the hammer head, during which
the angle of relationship between the nail head and the top
faces of the fingers varies, the said nail head will not become
wedged between the adjacent sets of fingers. This spacing is
indicated at 9a.
The opening 6 between the claws 4 and 5
is of even width from the outer ends of the claws to a point
sufficiently far behind the arms 8 and 8a
to freely accommodate the body of the nail, as the claws swing
upwardly when the head is rotated on its fulcrum in the pulling
operations when the nail head is engaged by one or other set
of fingers, or auxiliary claws, and from this point rearwardly
the walls of said opening converge as shown at 11, to
the end of the opening and are bevelled, as shown at 12,
to provide means for pulling small nails, or other like objects.
The inner faces of the arms 8 and 8a are
slotted in opposition to each other near the claws 4
and 5, as shown at 13, to permit of the passage
of the heads of the nails, or other objects which are to be
extracted by the converging walls of the claws.
In employing my improved hammer to pull a deeply embedded nail,
the head of which is close to the surface in which the body
is embedded, the claws 4 and 5 are placed beneath
the nail head in the manner of using the conventional type of
claw hammer and by exerting a pull on the handle in a direction
towards the striking head the hammer head is rotated on its
fulcrum causing a pull on the nail.
When the hammer head has been rotated sufficiently far that
the striking head has, or is about to, come into engagement
with the object against which the hammer is resting, making
further leverage impossible, and the nail has not been completely
withdrawn, it is simply necessary to return the hammer to its
original starting position with the claws spanning the body
of the nail just above the surface in which the nail is embedded,
upon which it will be found that the head of the nail is now
positioned part way up the rack formed by the arms 8
and 8a and over one or other of the aligned pairs
of fingers, according to the extent that the nail has been withdrawn
on the previous operation. Further withdrawal of the nail is
quickly effected by a pull on the handle as before. These cycles
of operations can be continued in the case of a deeply embedded
nail until the nail has been completely drawn, the nail head
on each occasion being supported at a successively higher point
on the rack whereby to permit of the maximum leverage being
obtained on each operation.
In the extraction of a short nail the head is raised by one
of the claw members sufficiently far to permit of the passage
thereof through the recesses 13 in the arms to the reduced
inner end of the opening for extraction by the converging walls
of the claws.
It is preferable that the longitudinal spacing of each adjacent
pair of fingers, or auxiliary claws, be proportionate to the
distance of rotation of the hammer head in one operation so
that upon each movement of the hammer head to its original position
in the pulling of a nail the nail head will be in position above
the next higher pair of fingers to provide a new grip.
While the invention has been shown and described herein as applied
to a hammer it is of course to be understood that it may be
applied to any form of tool or, it may comprise an independent
tool to be used solely for the purpose of drawing nails, or
other similar articles, in which case various modifications
in construction and arrangement of parts may be made as come
within the scope of the appended claims.
What I claim is:
1. A hammer comprising a head having a lateral inwardly curved
bifurcate extension constituting nail drawing claws, a handle
extending from said head for pivoting said head on its fulcrum
to raise said claws, arms connecting said claws with said head
at points substantially equi-distant from the junction of said
claws with said head, and spaced nail head supports carried
by said arms adapted to be brought into position successively
beneath the head of a nail which has been partially withdrawn
by said claws on a previous movement of said handle.
2. A hammer as set forth in claim 1 in which the connection
between the arms and the claws is at a point intermediate the
length of the equidistantly-spaced portions of said claws.
3. A hammer as set forth in claim 1 in which said arms are provided
with opposed transverse slots to permit of the passage of a
nail to the read of said arms.
4. A hammer comprising a leverage member having nail drawing
claws extending laterally therefrom at one end, spaced parallel
arms connecting the claw elements with said leverage member
at points substantially equi-distant from the junction of said
claws with said leverage member, and a nail head supports carried
by said arms adapted to be brought into position successively
beneath the head of a nail in the extraction of the latter,
the nail head supports carried by each arm being spaced from
one another a sufficient distance to permit of free movement
of the nail head during the pivotal movement of the hammer.