This article previously appeared in The M-WTCA Scribe, Vol. 3 No. 2 June 1974
Phillips' Shingling Clamp
A Whatsit Identified
HORACE PHILLIPS & JOHN ALTERMATT,
PHILLIPS & ALTERMATT'S SHINGLE GAGE
This so called Shingling Clamp was invented and supposedly patented by Mr. Horace Phillips, a builder in Perrysburg, Ohio about 1895. It was never marketed due to ill health and eventual death of Mr. Phillips in 1908. Mr. Adin C. Lepper, also a Perrysburg builder inherited the Shingling Clamp concept and continued to use the clamp until the end of the wood shingle era, possibly the mid 1920's. Mr. Lepper made a few clamps but only until the materials on hand were used up, it is f elt that less than 100 clamps were made.
The clamp was designed to slide under the previous row of roof shingles and to hold a straight edge approx. 1 inch x 4 inches x 12 feet long which eliminated the timely and conventional methods of either snapping a double chalk line or nailing a straig ht edge directly to the roof. The double chalk line method required immediate nailing to keep the shingles from sliding out of place.
The wood handles were turned on a home-made lathe that was driven by horsepower, this was a mechanical arrangement to convert the power from the horse to a revolving shaft. The metal stamping and forming was done with a special built hand operated shear and punch press.
It was said, two men using these clamps could outdo 3 men using the double chalk line method.
These particular clamps have been on the "WHATSIT" table of both the EAIA and MWTCA without success of identification.
This story was told to Ron Mossing by Mr. Wayne E. Lepper. Mr. Lepper, now 72 years old, was the nephew of Mr. Horace Phillips and the son of Mr. Aidin C. Lepper. You will note on the Reproduction of the original letterhead used by Mr. Phillip s, the name John Altermatt. According to Mr. Upper, Mr. Altermatt was a neighbor of Mr. Horace Phillips but was not involved with the invention or production of the Clamp but was possibly the financier.
Editor's note: Patent 651,266 was issued June 5, 1900 to Horace Phillips and John Altermatt