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Bench Plate

1810-1850
Origin: United States
OL: 30" OW: 8 " Maximum thickness: 2"
Cast iron
Gift of Stephen Eisenhart
Acc. No. 2014-68
Cast iron bench plate with one round aperature and ten square ones, of which the largest five are reinforced. There are four round bolt holes to secure the plate to the working surface.
Label:Before the industrial revolution, tinsmiths mounted their stakes in mortises cut directly into the tops of their workbenches. This was a less than ideal set-up since changes in humidity would affect the way the tools fit into the bench, and the constant moving of stakes would cause wear. Cast iron bench plates like this one appeared early in the 19th century and effectively solved these problems. Stake wear to the wooden bench top was minimalized, and the iron apertures supporting the stakes allowed for easy withdrawal, even in humid conditions.
Provenance:From the Eisenhart collection of tinsmithing tools.