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By Boringgeoff
I've been trying to find the patent for the Gedges pattern auger bit but no luck so far. I have attached two photos of Gedge style bits. The two shorter bits are branded: James Swan Cook Patent USA this is a reference to Ransom Cook who patented this bit on June 17 1851 (US Pat' 8162) ... US8162.pdf
The other is branded J. Jowett Sheffield and although not stated is what I would refer to as Gedges pattern. My only reason for calling it that is because it is made in Gt Britain and that seems to be the nomenclature used here.
The Cooks appear in James Swans 1920 catalogue as Plug or Sugar Bits.
Any helpful pointers will be gratefully received.
Cooks & Gedge 004.png
Cooks & Gedge 002.png
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By RichardG
Slightly off topic but I’m intrigued by the naming as my surname is Gedge and I’ve never heard of the Gedge pattern bits. So I’ll watch with interest...


Ps. The only other claim to fame of the Gedge name is “The Gedge” which was a monster in He-Man!
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By AndyT
Well, that was a nice little challenge.

I started with a text that is often useful for this sort of thing - Volume 2 of Holtzapffel's monumental "Turning and Mechanical Manipulation" published in 1846. Ignore the title; this volume is one long digression aimed at describing and categorising how tools work. It's a great resource for lots of detail on chisels, saws, planes, files - and boring tools. It includes a description of the new American screw auger which has a detachable cutter wedged into a slot - I wonder if you have any of those Geoff - and it mentions what we would now recognise as a square auger for a mortising machine. A footnote says:
"The author has never seen one; it seems far too complicated an instrument for general purposes, and its success appears to be overrated." We can all make mistakes, even the experts.

But I digress. The point is that the absence of the Gedges pattern from the book suggests it was unknown in 1846.

Beside Holtzapffel on the bookshelf is a 1912 edition of Paul Hasluck's "Woodwork", much of which is devoted to guiding the amateur on what to buy in the big tool shops of the day. He sums up a variety of bits in these words:

"Most of the patents have now expired, and there is not much to choose between any of the following: Gedge's, Scotch Pattern, Jennings', single twist and solid nose. Gedge's and Jennings' are particularly good." So no real help there, except to give us a latest date we could have guessed any way.

Wondering if Gedge actually was English or American, I checked Datamp, which seems to have no reference to anyone of that name. So maybe he was English and didn't take out a US patent.

Over to Grace's Guide - not much direct help, except to show me that a John Gedge seems to have been an inventive sort of chap, with bright ideas about drying grain, coupling railway carriages, billiard cues, ladies' dresses and much more, but there was no mention of his auger.

I tried a text search at but that seemed to bring only lots of references to a feeding device for invalids.

But a text search at Google books brought the answer. This link should lead to a summary of English Patents for 1854. There, you can find patent number 1872, awarded to John Gedge, of 4 Wellington Street South Strand, Middlesex (ie what anyone now would call central London).

This link should lead to the book where you can read all the details and learn that the patent covered several specialised variants, for greater smoothness or for use on end grain. ... ger&f=true

but meanwhile here's the picture


I hope this helps!
By Boringgeoff
Andy you are an absolute legend. Thanks very much for your hard work in tracking the patent down.
I haven't read the text of his patent yet but it will be interesting to compare Gedges claims with those of Cook in the USA who headed him off by three years with a bit that is more or less identical.
An authority on brace tools is James Price in the US and he told a story of a travelling sales rep' for Irwin bits in the late 1880's or early 90's. He met a man who showed him some Irwin style bits that he had had for thirty years so nothing new or innovative about Irwins he said. The traveller was amazed and wanted to buy one to take back to Ohio but the man wouldn't sell. The point that Mr Price raised is, was it a case of parallel inventing albeit thirty years apart or had W. Dimitt (the original patentee of the Irwin bit) seen an example of this bit and copied it?
What's my point? I wouldn't for a moment suggest that Mr Gedge pinched Mr Cooks design and I probably should read the patent papers before I put my neck further onto the block.
I do have an auger with a detachable cutter, I'll go up to the shed and have a look to see who and when after I finish writing this.
Richard you could well be related to John Gedge.
Thanks again Andy, you've made my day.
By Boringgeoff
As is quite usual for me I dived in without looking. Prior to my previous post I should have read the attachment that Andy provided which I have now done. It would seem that John Gedge was a patent agent as stated on pages one and two. At the top of page one he says " a communication from Mr Ransom Cook..."
What does this mean? British Patent No 1872 was awarded to Gedge in 1854 which means he is the patentee of that bit. In the USA this bit is known as Cooks pattern, in the UK Gedges pattern. Therefore if I'm looking at a bit made by a UK manufacturer it's a Gedge and made in the USA it's a Cook.
Andy perhaps those other patents you mentioned in Graces Guide are the same John Gedge and he was an agent for them also.
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By AndyT
I've now looked again, and I think you must be right.
The words exactly match the US patent granted earlier and easily accessible here

It does look as if we should have been calling them Cook's pattern all along, but Gedge's name was the one that stuck, appearing in the Sheffield List and then in later manufacturers' catalogues.
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By thick_mike
RichardG wrote:Slightly off topic but I’m intrigued by the naming as my surname is Gedge and I’ve never heard of the Gedge pattern bits. So I’ll watch with interest...


Ps. The only other claim to fame of the Gedge name is “The Gedge” which was a monster in He-Man!

And David Gedge, frontman of awesome indie powerhouses The Wedding Present
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By AndyT
I've had a quick look at a few of the other patents with John Gedge's name on and it does look like he was just an agent, not an inventor. Even when there's no explicit reference to anyone else, I guess he could have just been making a more private application on someone's behalf.

Sorry Richard, it doesn't look worth your while chasing a string of unpaid royalties!
By Bod
Don't know if this brings much to the topic.


This is the only one I have similar to the topic.
On the shaft is a trade mark of crossed hammers, the word "W(?) GILPIN" followed by "Wedges mill".
The other side of the shaft is "PATENT."
This is marked up "16" for the one inch size, it has been sharpened by filing the inside of the curve, but the tapered thread is very shallow, I doubt it will work even in soft wood, no chance in hard wood.

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By AndyT
Hmm, that's another one I haven't seen before. I can find from similar pictures on ebay that they aren't broken - they should only have one wing cutter. You've probably seen the Grace's Guide entry that says they were in Cannock, Staffordshire from before 1819 through to 2014, in various incarnations. ... or,_and_Co

The entry also features this 1876 ad referring to their patent augers.


Searching online, it seems that the Gilpins were into auger making and patenting earlier than many - here's a patent relating to making the things, from 1811 ... er&f=false

and a report about their exhibits in the South Staffordshire Exhibition of 1869 by which time some of their patents had expired and the young upstart Cornelius Whitehouse was coming up with even cleverer stuff ... er&f=false

The only full text patent I can find online is this one from 1915 - ... 27G15%2F00

It's not your one Bod, but it's another oddity - a solid nose auger with cutting spurs.


My little selection of old bits is starting to look somewhat lacking!
By Boringgeoff
AndyT wrote:Hmm, that's another one I haven't seen before. I can find from similar pictures on ebay that they aren't broken - they should only have one wing cutter.

Andy what are you saying? They've two cutting wings, or am I reading you wrong? (it wouldn't be the first time I've erred)
I've got about a dozen Gedge bits one of which is branded Cooper and Moulson, which, according to Geoffrey Tweedale, gives a time line of from 1870 to 1882, from when their partnership began until it ended. I find it amazing that this bit is still here after all that time, especially when you realise they are a consumable item which with use will eventually wear out and get binned.
Not coming from a woodworking background, I get confused with the coarse/fine pitch single/double thread lead screw and their manufacturers recommendation they be used for hard woods or soft woods. I've found the fine threads clog up in pretty well any wood I've tried them on and generally prefer to use an auger with a coarse lead screw. It's not as if I sit in my shed boring holes all day but when I find a bit I've not seen before I like to sharpen it up and give it a test run.
On the other hand a professional who used them daily would have their preferred brand and type to suit the wood they were using, regardless of the manufacturers claims.
Thanks, Andy, for the link to the solid nose with cutting spurs, another one to add to my shopping list.
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By AndyT
Sorry Geoff, I wasn't putting that very clearly.

Assuming that I've not confused myself (and it wouldn't be the first time) the relatively well known Cook/Gedge pattern bits, like you showed at the start, have a pair of cutting wings.

The Gilpin Patent bits that Bod posted appears to have only one wing. So does this one, seen on eBay


I just thought that was another oddity, to add to the shopping list, as you put it.