Arguably the most successful hand drill in history, the No.2 has had many variants over nearly a century of production.

The first variants were produced in the late 19th century, such as this elegant example.

Early Millers Falls No.2

Millers Falls No.2 1885 - 1894

The performance of this early drill is not as good as its later descendants, which it actually shares relatively little with other than the model number of “2”.

Later variants of the No.2 (ca.1894) followed a new design that would endure for over 7o years. A feature that was carried over from the old No.2 was its immediate size, they fall in a fairly unique position that balances the power of a large drill with the flexibility of a small one, thus making the No.2 incredibility versatile. The new No.2s also featured more precisely cut gears and better support for the drive wheel resulting in considerably improved performance. Indeed this performance is still near un-matched to this day with the equalised variants of the No.2 being possibly the best all around hand drills that have ever made.

There were several variations just within the equalised No.2s, most notably changes in the chuck design. This variant dates from 1922 to 1938, it has a smooth mechanism that loads up drilling holes to the chucks maximum drill bit capacity with no difficulty at all thanks to its adjustable roller equaliser, while still being light weight enough to be delicate and precise.

Millers Falls No.2 1922 - 1938 (equaliser)

Like all equalisers it keeps the drive gear pinned down under load preventing all manner of mechanical issues, but the roller on this No.2’s equaliser allows for less friction than many simpler designs. The net result is that the mechanism remains smooth even under maximum load. This equaliser is also adjustable allowing differing downward pressures to be applied, the exact benefit of this is unclear as they is only one sweet spot where it performs best.

Millers Falls No.2 1922 - 1938

Millers Falls No.2  1922 - 1938

The most recent models of the No.2 (1938 – 1957) replaced the equaliser with a second pinion. Though this was something of a downgrade from the equalised models, these models still easily outperform other standard hand drills.

Millers Falls No.2 ca.1938

Millers Falls No.2 (2 Pinion Model)

Design

  • Weight (1885 – 1894): 860g
  • Weight (1922 – 1938): 930g
  • Weight (1938 – 1957): 1kg
  • Length (1885 – 1894): 340mm
  • Length (1922 – 1957): 375mm
  • Drive Wheel Diameter (1885 – 1894): 108mm
  • Drive Wheel Diameter (1922 – 1957): 103mm
  • Chuck Type (1885 – 1894): Pratt’s Two-Jaw
  • Chuck Type (1922 – 1957): Protected Spring
  • Chuck Capacity (1885 – 1894): 5mm
  • Chuck Capacity (1922 – 1957): 11mm
  • Chuck External Diameter (1885 – 1894): 27mm
  • Chuck External Diameter (1922 – 1957): 32mm
  • Frame: Iron
  • Handle(s): Hardwood
  • Mechanism (1885 – 1894): 1-Pinion Wrap around frame
  • Mechanism (1922 – 1938): 1-Pinion Equalised
  • Mechanism (1938 – 1957): 2-Pinion
  • Special Features (1885 – 1957): Bit storage handle

Model Information

  • Dated (1st example): 1885 – 1894
  • Dated (2nd example): 1922 – 1938
  • Dated (3rd example): 1938 – 1957
  • Production Period (earlier design): 1878 – 1894
  • Production Period (later design): 1894 – 1968
  • Patent: unknown
  • Made by: Millers Falls Co., Massachusetts, USA

1922 – 1938

Millers Falls No.2 1922 - 1938 (dismantled)

1938 – 1957

Millers Falls No.2 ca.1938 (dismantled)

Notes: The 19th century example is hard to dismantle, hence no picture.

References

  • http://oldtoolheaven.com/index.html