Lead cutter, 18th century
Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004
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Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004

  • Overview
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A thick bar of iron is centered between two pairs of shallowly arched legs that end in thick, rounded feet. Each foot has a central hole through which a bolt or screw can be passed to fix it firmly to a working surface. Along the iron bar is a spine or ridge pierced by a series of holes. A moveable bar that tightens by means of a flat-sided brass turnscrew can be run along the ridge and screwed into one of the series of holes. By moving the short bar along the spine, and screwing it into one of the holes, the bed on the top of the tool can be shortened or lengthened, and a piece of lead lying on it can be moved along the cutter.

At one end of the tool is a cast-iron arm that can be raised and lowered. Fixed into the inner surface of this arm is a small, thick, steel blade positioned so that when it is brought down it will cut off a length of lead that is passed beneath it.
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