About the ‘St. Peter’s Cross’ Mechanism

In “The Anarchist’s Workbench” (download it for free here) I mention that the device we now call a “Crisscross” from Benchcrafted was once called “St. Peter’s Cross” or “Croix de St. Pierre.”

Several people have called foul, saying (as the record states) that St. Peter was crucified on an upside-down cross, not the X-shaped cross shape created by the mechanism. It was instead St. Andrew who was executed on an X-shaped cross. So the mechanism should be called the St. Andrew’s cross.

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The reason I continue to call it St. Peter’s cross has nothing to do with religion, personal ignorance or trying to offend. I promise. Instead, the first place I can find a reference to the mechanism calls it “St. Peter’s Cross,” so I use the original name until I can find an earlier reference.

The reference is in the 1890 book “Every Man His Own Mechanic” (Ward, Lock & Co., London) by Francis Young. Young writes:

This ingenious contrivance for keeping the inner surface of the cheek of the bench-vice parallel to the outer surface of the board that forms the front of the bench is the “Croix de St. Pierre,” or, “St. Peter’s Cross,” as it is called on the continent, where it is very generally adopted and used by all carpenters and joiners.

Young might very well have been mistaken in calling it “St. Peter’s Cross.” Or perhaps Young called it that name for a reason we don’t know. Until I can find an earlier reference, I’ll continue to use the name that Young used when I talk about the mechanism’s history. And I’ll use “Crisscross” when referring to the modern mechanism.

— Christopher Schwarz

Source: lostartpress.com

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