Brown & Sharpe

Antique metal working tools

Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Co precision measuring tools.

Company history

Founded in Providence, Rhode Island, USA in 1833 by David Brown and his son Joseph. The partnership between the watchmaker, Joseph R. Brown and his apprentice Lucian Sharp began in 1853, establishing the American tool leader Brown & Sharpe which continues to produce precision tools for modern metalworking requirements.

Initially offering watchmaking and repairs, and mechanical precision work the company progressed to an automatic linear dividing engine in 1850, and a pocket vernier caliper in 1851. This extended to sewing machines and other textile appliances, then on to a precision gear cutting and dividing machine in 1855 which allowed inclusion of services such as gear cutting, circular graduating and index drilling.

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The company went on to produce a myriad of tools, machines and manufacturing instruments.

Since the 1980s Brown & Sharpe have specialised in measuring instruments or metrology.

Brown & Sharpe Micrometer
Brown & Sharpe Micrometer

Significant tools

The company invented and manufactured the Amercian Standard Wire Gage which established a consistent sizing for wire, the gage is still utilised today.

Critical in the creation and design improvement of various metrological and toolmaking items including:

  • micrometers
  • indicators
  • milling machines
  • turret lathes
  • screw machines
  • the American wire gauge (AWG) standards for wire
  • Brown & Sharpe taper
  • Brown & Sharpe worm thread form
  • 20-degree pressure angle gearing

The company, under the current owner Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, continue to produce Coordinate-Measuring Machines (CMMS) used for dimensional measuring.

Brown & Sharpe Small Tools
Brown & Sharpe Small Tools Catalog

Our range of Brown & Sharpe tools

The Tool Exchange has a large selection of Brown & Sharp antique hand tools and catalogues. Our range is ever changing and added to regularly if you’d like to receive updates on our latest tools subscribe to our Tool Exchange Newsletter.

Our current collection includes Brown & Sharpe*:

  • micrometers
  • dividers
  • squares – including adjustable, engineers, die makers, combination
  • verniers
  • callipers
  • indicators
  • gages
  • universal bevels

These are an example only, view our present collection here – Brown & Sharpe Tools