This week’s antique is a #44 C.S. Osborne & Co. leather strap cutter or “draw gauge”. These tools were used to cut straps (such as belts) by drawing the blade down a piece of leather with the edge of the leather riding against the tool body. This tool works like a table saw because it makes a cut parallel to the fence.
The body is solid brass with rosewood infill. The fence is cast iron and the area of the body that forms the fence is reinforced with an iron plate to prevent wear (as shown below center). The blade is very thin steel.
The C.S. Osborne company still exists, and they still make a version of this draw gauge. They also sell replacement blades which are often missing from these antique tools.
So how old is it? I have no clue, but I can say it is a “premium” tool that looks like it would have been marketed during the late Victorian era. If you have more information, let me know and I’ll add it to the online knowledge catalog that these pages are becoming.
Next week, I’ll introduce you to the modern day version of this tool, so you can cut your own leather straps without fear of lopping off a finger.