How To Date A Columbian Vise

How to Date a Columbian Vise

How to Date a Columbian Vise


If you are a woodworking enthusiast or in need of a heavy-duty vise for your workshop, a Columbian vise can be an excellent choice. These rugged and durable vises are known for their quality construction and exceptional gripping strength. However, before you can fully utilize the benefits of this tool, it’s important to know how to properly date a Columbian vise. In this article, we will guide you through the process of determining the manufacturing date of a Columbian vise so you can make an informed purchase.

Identifying Key Features

The first step in dating a Columbian vise is to examine its key features. Look for any unique characteristics, such as logos, branding, or markings on the vise. Columbian vises were manufactured by the Columbian Hardware Company, which underwent several changes throughout its history.

Early Columbian vises typically have ‘Columbian’ or ‘Columbian Hardware Co.’ imprinted on them. The older models may also have a prominent, detailed logo with the company name. Newer vises, manufactured after 1978, are often marked with ‘Columbian Vise’ or ‘Columbian Vise & Mfg. Co.’. However, it’s important to note that in 1985, the company was acquired by the Wilton Corporation, resulting in changes to the branding.

Checking Serial Numbers

Serial numbers can provide valuable information when dating a Columbian vise. Locate the serial number usually found on the main body or the stationary jaw of the vise. It may appear as a stamped or engraved set of numbers or letters. Once you have found the serial number, you can use it to determine the date of manufacture.

To decode the serial number, refer to available resources such as online forums or historical documents related to Columbian vises. These resources often provide detailed information on the different serial number formats used throughout the years. Compare your vise’s serial number with the provided information to estimate its manufacturing date.

Researching Historical Catalogs

Another helpful method for dating a Columbian vise is to consult historical catalogs or advertisements. Although it may require some effort, searching through old tool catalogs or online archives can provide valuable insights into the manufacturing dates of different vise models.

Some catalog examples to explore include the Columbian Hardware Company’s catalogs or the Wilton Corporation’s catalogs from the period they owned Columbian. By comparing the features and specifications of your vise with those listed in the historical catalogs, you can get a better understanding of its manufacturing date.

Seeking Expert Advice

If you are still unsure about the manufacturing date of your Columbian vise, it is always a good idea to seek advice from experts in the field. Online woodworking forums or dedicated vise collectors’ communities can provide a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Join these communities and post clear photos of your vise, highlighting any distinguishing features or markings. Experienced members can offer insights based on their own collection and expertise, helping you narrow down the possible manufacturing dates.


A Columbian vise can be a valuable addition to any workshop, providing reliable clamping power for your woodworking projects. By understanding the key features, checking serial numbers, researching historical catalogs, and seeking expert advice, you can effectively determine the manufacturing date of your Columbian vise.

Dating your vise not only helps in assessing its value but also enables you to learn more about its rich history. So, put these tips into practice and embark on a journey to discover the age of your Columbian vise, unlocking its story and adding to your woodworking experience.

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