The Iron Hand - Emmert Vises

by Carl Matthews updated 06/11/05




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Welcome to my Emmert Vise web site known as



The Emmert Patternmaker's Vise is by far the most versatile woodworking vise ever made! This web site is a tribute to this wonderful tool used by so many woodworkers and patternmakers.

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing, posting, emailing, discovering, discussing and interviewing so many colorful people. This study and information is intended as a research and educational tool.


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The Famous Emmert Patternmaker's Vise

The Iron Hand


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bulletEmmert Type Study
bulletEmmert Anatomy
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bulletSerial Numbers on Turtlebacks
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Born in the mind of Joseph F. Emmert in the 1880's, the Emmert patternmaker's vise has become world renowned. Patternmakers, woodworkers and machinists would agree that this Emmert invention is the most versatile work holding device available. The Emmert patternmakers vise has the unique ability to not only hold the work piece but to change positions without releasing it. You merely release a handle and rotate the vise and the work piece. Adjust another handle and flip the work piece onto the bench top still being held by your Emmert. You no longer have to be in an uncomfortable position when carving, sawing, planning or fabricating. The design worked so well that it has changed little since it was first patented in 1891. According to the sales literature, there are 30 fixed positions, 2 taper adjustments and 7 pairs of jaws for hold all types of materials.

Joseph Emmert lived in Waynesboro, PA and started the Emmert Manufacturing Co. He says that "my invention, which relates more particularly to carpenter's bench vises, has for its object to provide a vise which can be arranged for substantially universal adjustments, whereby the same will possess many advantages over those now in general use ... [and] to provide a vise of this character which will be simple, effective, and easy to manipulate." The Emmert Mfg. Co. designed and manufactured many vises, clamps and other inventions. The turtleback patternmaker's vise was invented by Joseph Emmert in 1891. The K-1 or "New Improved Universal" patternmaker's vise was invented by Victor Koontz and was patented in 1919. The Emmert Mfg. Co. continued to produce vises and other items until it's closure in the late 1970's.


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This site was last updated 06/11/05

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