History - Bench Vice

The bench-vice history

An indispensable tool and its origin.

In the mists of the distant past, whoever came upon the idea of fixing items to be worked on in such a way that they would not move under the pressure of sawing, filing and boring, is unknown. The astonishing fact is that today in the computer age, the vice as a purely mechanical tool is indispensable; and no workshop crammed with electronic devices can do without it.

A decisive step in the development of this indispensable tool into its present form was the replacement of clamping techniques using wedge and hammer by clamps with threads in the middle ages. The disadvantage: the moving jaws could only be guided radially so that the clamped items would more less tilt.   
It was only with the introduction of the parallel vice in 1750 on which the movable jaws were guided on horizontal adjustable slots that a breakthrough was made to the optimal application.   
  
In 1830 in England the first cast iron vice was produced. Liquid iron could be transformed into any shape easily. When pouring, air pockets often occurred within the cast, so-called cavities. The structure was therefore porous and brittle. The result: insufficient resistance for harder tasks, causing breakage. For this reason, for example, parts vital for safety in the car industry and high-grade unbreakable vices are made of steel. The structure of the steel is made homogeneous through forging. With the introduction of the jackhammer with its heavy hammering capability and the use of forges with strict tolerances, the problem of accurate shaping was solved.

The birth of the HEUER vice

When Josef Heuer, the experimenter and inventor from Iserloh, invented a new build of drop-forge vice with its revolutionary dual-prism guide track in 1925, the Brockhaus company in Plettenberg, Sauerland, was already one of the largest drop-forges in Germany. The significance of the invention was recognised as far-sighted. The patent was applied for in 1927, and thus started the production of this vice. This marked the arrival of the world famous and million-selling HEUER vice.

A successful beginning and development  
 
The chronicle says: "in the same year, with a great deal of effort a new vice was successfully exhibited at the Leipzig autumn fair for the first time, and considerable orders for it was the result". No wonder then, that the guaranteed unbreakable pure steel "HEUER - PRIMUS" reached record distinction at the top of its class. This success did not allow Brockhaus technicians to sit on their laurels. They developed a vice along with the HEUER Primus, which opened at the rear, a vice that opened at the front - in the direction of the operator. Thus, clamping and work on even large items vertically in front of the workbench became possible. The new model was appropriately named HEUER FRONT. The operability of the HEUER FRONT was further improved on and its versatility increased. In this way the dual-prism guide thread provided a sturdy, precise and fast clamping force and the forged pipe-gripping jaws for additional applications. Dedicated tubular vices then become superfluous.

The path to a perfect tool

After the second world war, work begun at Brockhaus Heuer on new products with great dedication. At the time of the German recovery, vices were in greater demand than ever. Among other things, the etiquette "Made in Germany" for technical products made for worldwide success.  A word on "Made in Germany": HEUER vices have been made in Germany alone for more than 80 years. Advanced production methods, particularly in welding and forging, spurred the inventor Josef Heuer to seek a new patent in 1948. Today`s HEUER vice is based on the concept of this patent.   
  
In parallel to the perfection of the production methods, Brockhaus technicians worked on the improvement of models according to the principle: "small details have great consequences". Through a pressure disc, spring and snap ring for example, the spindle was thus positioned so that lost motion was eliminated.   
  
These days the HEUER vice has a centrically adjustable guide, forged jaws as standard, a protected spindle location, and, because of its slimness due to its drop-forged guide rails - an advantageous low clamping capability.