Parkinson was a vice maker until the late 1930s (I've been told) and they are supposed to have invented the quick acting release mechanism found on modern Records and Paramos. I have three, all rebuilt but not repainted (yet). The only thing that ever goes on these vices is the coiled spring on the quick release which can break or lose its temper, but they can be replaced by a springmaker (we're lucky, we've got two within a mile). Other that that they suffer from the same things that anything old gets - rust and general wear and tear (I'm speaking from personal experience here) - but I presume you checked that it wasn't too sloppy before you bought it. BTW, what colour is yours?
It's blue but that's not the original colour, looks like a re-paint job.
The vice works well just given it a thorough going over in the garage and it looks fine. I must say that it certainly doesnt look anything like a 1930 vintage though.
A question for you, how would you align the reaf jaw face with the workbench, flush with the rest of the front, proud or what?
Spark, I'd go with burying it in the face of the bench. Jolly useful when you want to deal with a long board that can be held in the vice at one end and clamped to the face of the bench at the other. You could make a spacer if you had the jaw proud in order to do achieve the same thing, but the board would probably flex (Murphy's law)
Assuming you talking about a joiners-type bench with a 6 to 8 in deep apron, I'd split the vice and hang the vice from the underside of the worktop on hardwood packers and coach screws. If this is a pre-made worktop you'll probably need to mortise-out a slot for the rear jaw of the fence of the vice and its two buttress fillets). Four holes through the apron (two bars, one buttress thread and the quick realease operating bar) and the front jaw is ther rehung and that just leaves you with a beech or similar jaw lining to make, the top of which should probably be level with the worktop).
If the worktop has no deep apron it is easy enough to rout out a recess deep enough for the jaw plus a 3/4in or so thick facing in the front of your worktop. This should stop 3/4in or so below the top of the worktop. As before the vice is suspended on hardwood packers with coach screws, but in this instance you'll need to make a rear jaw facing plate in hardwood and screw that to the vice and preferably also to the worktop. This has to be a flush fit to the side of the worktop and the front jaw of the vice needs its wooden lining carried up to the same level as the top of the bench.
I don't favour vices standing proud of the worktop as this robs you of the ability to clamp a long workpiece into the vice then secure it across the opposite end of the bench against the side of the worktop using a sash cramp or whatever.
You have confirmed my thoughts for a practical way of mounting the vice.
It will be the second option though, making the rear jaw flush with the front apron of the bench, of course allowing for an 18mm or so, liner.
The one I was talking about is a Parkinsons Perfect #15 and is a dark red-brown colour which appears to be original. Another one already on a bench is battleship grey, but it was military surplus ex-Royal Naval Dockyards whilst the third is currently awaiting restoration and is a nice rust colour! (all over).
As to the demise of Parkinson there is a comment in Scott Landis's Workbench Book that in 1942 the Ministry of Supply instructed C & J Hampton (Recod Tools) to assist F. Paramore and Sons, a Rotherham cast-iron grate maker and founders, in setting up a vice making production facility in order that there would be more than one source of mechanic's and woodworlker's vices which were deemed essential to the war effort. I have found a couple of references to this elsewhere so it is certainly safe to say that if you have a Parkinson vice it is at least 60 years old.
Parkinson Perfect Vice original colour is dark red (plum). It should be set into a woodworking bench flush with to top surface.The jaws should be fronted with hardwood and the steel lower than the bench top. I use one with (9" jaws and 12" opening). I know this is old stuff, but I just found the site researching old tools. I could send pics on request. Away for three weeks hol...........oak
HaHa I've just fitted a Parkinson perfect 16 (hammer) it was in my dads workshop when he started as an apprentice in the 1920s. He went on to buy the place when he got to 21 years old. I sold the shop in 04. Brought the vice with me. (And lots of other goodies)
Parkinson always called them Vises - I saw a comment that Vice would have offended Victorian sensibilities; I've no idea if this is correct!
Parkinson certainly survived longer than the 1930's - their vices are featured in my 1964 Buck & Hickman catalogue, but not the 1971 version. Whether because they had closed, or because B&H had stopped selling their products, I'm not sure. They were part of a company who also sold grinding machine tools, I believe under the name Parkson.
As has been said, I think they invented the, now common, quick release mechanism - these feature in the 1913 B&H catalogue. For woodworking vices, I think the design of the front plate changed over time in the logo etc that was cast into it.
My main interest is in the engineering vices where they made 3 main ranges - the names may have varied over time :
Handy - aimed at the home user, cast iron, plain thread, ie no quick release. Sizes 0A 2.25/2.00 width/opening to 3E 8.00/9.25
Perfect - mechanics, cast iron, quick release. Sizes 5 3.25/4.00 to 9a 7.50/10.00
Samsonia - engineering, cast steel, quick release. Sizes 35 3.25/5.00 to 39 7.00/8,.00
They also made a couple of "funnies" :
Ball base vise - an elegant design of small vice mounted on a ball with a cam to lock it in position. Only one size, I believe A 4.00/3.00. I'm currently restoring one.
Swivel jaw - where the rear jaw could swivel about a post, or be locked parallel with a pin. I found one recently which is awaiting attention. 3 sizes from 7 4.25/5.00 to 8a 6.00/8.00
Record eventually dominated the vice market with a staggering range of vice designs and sizes - probably far too many variations with huge working capital / stocking costs. When they were eventally sold to Irwin & production shifted to China, the range contracted a lot - to the extent that you wonder why Irwin bought them, except for the name.
When people look for a vice on Ebay etc, much of the focus is on Record - but vices of at least the same quality are available from Parkinson, Fortis, Woden, Paramo.