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US patent number 783,031, for ‘new and useful improvements in pipe supporting devices’ was awarded to Elmer M Fell of Auburn, NY on February 21, 1905.
In his own words:
“My invention relates to an improvement for the carrying or support of piping or sections thereof in proper relative position for the purpose of uniting or joining the same to each other by any desired method; and the object of my invention is to hold and support piping or sections of the same securely in position desired without danger of displacement while the joining of the same is being fashioned or made.”
That, my friends, makes this wonderful device a tool!
Mr Fell had one previous foray into patenting, a device for supporting heating radiators without having to cut through carpeting, awarded in 1887. Like many inventors of this era, Fell seems to have sold and also either manufactured, or contracted for the manufacture of, his new pipe clamp himself. Other than in relation to his patents, I can find no trace of him, which argues that he was not very successful – which is a shame, because the articulated clamping method described in his patent is referenced in no less than twenty four other US patents, the latest of which was issued in 2014.
For those interested in such things, the background is the back of a heavily reinforced shovel from the same era as the clamp.