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1/2" Spring-wire Gibbs

Version A Version B Version B (modified)
Version A Version B Version B (modified)
 
Version C Version D Version E1 Version E2
Version C Version D Version E1 Version E2

Overview


The earliest Gibbs were springwire models. Here is a quick summary of the versions in my collection (all have aluminum shells):

  1. Crude sand cast 11-tooth cam, plastic retainers
    (#128)
  2. Springwire retainer.
    (#61, 252, 253)
  3. New 9-tooth cam with rib
    (#1521, 1977)
  4. Cord cam keeper.
    (#62, 1521)
  5. Anodized shell, new ribless 9-tooth cam, cam keeper glued into hole in top of cam.
    (#63, 1548)

Version A
(#128)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Gibbs Springwire, Version A at the NSS Auction in 1998.

Version A is 103 mm. tall, 64 mm. wide, 36 mm. thick, and weighs 148 g. The shell is bent from 1/8 in aluminum to form a U-shaped groove. The cam is cast aluminum. It has 11 teeth, and is tapered near the tip, something some copies have failed to do. The cam rides on a steel pin axle that is drilled at the end to accept a retainer. The retainers on this Gibbs are 0.1 inch nylon line. The same material is used as a pin keeper.

There are no markings on Version A.

Comments

Gibbs ascenders are still the premier ascender for long free-hanging ascents. This is one of the first 50 made. This basic design has lasted for decades, almost without change.


Version B
(#61, 252, 2248)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my first Gibbs Springwire, Version B sometime in the 1980s, and got a second one from Bill Boehle at the 2008 Old Timers Reunion. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

Version B is 103 mm. tall, 64 mm. wide, 36 mm. thick, and weighs 152 g. This ascender uses the same cam, shell and pin as Version A, but the nylon retainer and pin keeper have been replaced with a spring wire (much like a thicker guitar string).

One side of the shell is stamped "GIBBS PROD."

Comments

The springwire is a significant improvement over the nylon retainer.


Version B (modified)
(#253)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this modified Gibbs from Bill Boehle at the 2008 Old Timers Reunion.

This modified Gibbs is 103 mm. tall, 64 mm. wide, 37 mm. thick, and weighs 144 g.

One side of the shell is stamped "GIBBS PROD."

Comments

The original owner cut the tip off the cam. This saves weight (but only 8 grams), but means that the ascender cannot be used on very thin ropes. Of course, I wouldn't recommend using excessively thin ropes to begin with.


Version C
(#1521, 1977)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired a Gibbs Springwire, Version C ascenders from Myra Nicholas in 2009 and a second from David Jones in 2014, both in used condition.

Version C is 103 mm. tall, 59 mm. wide, and 36 mm. thick, and weighs 150 g. Version C features a new the cam design. The number of teeth was reduced to 9. The upper part of the cam was reshaped to give a distinct rib.

Both sides of the shell are stamped "GIBBS PROD."

Comments

The new cam performs better than the original. The rib is for aesthetic reasons, and serves no utilitarian function. The new cam was dubbed the "racing cam."


Version D
(#62, 1978)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired a Gibbs Springwire, Version D ascender from John E. Weinel, Inc. in 1989. I got a second one used on eBay from David Jones in 2014.

Version D is 104 mm. tall, 59 mm. wide, 37 mm. thick, and weighs 155 g. This version adds another terminal crimp for attaching a keeper cord. Unlike later designs, the cord is tied to the cam eye instead of being directly attached to the cam. The rib on the top of the cam is wider as well, 9 mm. instead of 5 mm. on the previous version.

Both sides of the shell are stamped "GIBBS PROD."

Comments

The red cord keeper may not be original, but it matches the cord used on the following version. The second one in my collection has the crimp but is missing the cord.


Version E
(#63, 1548, 2244)

Front, D1 Front, D2
Version E1
Front
Version E2
Front
Rear, D1 Rear, D2
Version E1
Rear
Version E2
Rear
Open for Rigging, D1 Open for Rigging, D2
Version E1
Open for Rigging
Version E2
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired three Gibbs Springwire, Version E ascenders from Gibbs Products Inc. in 1973, and three more from J. W. Jackson in 2011. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

Version E is 104 mm. tall, 59 mm. wide, 36 mm. thick and weighs about 182 g. Version E introduced yet another cam design, also with 9 teeth. The rib was eliminated. A hole was drilled in the top and side of the cam, and a keeper cord was glued in place. The shell is anodized.

Both sides of the shell are stamped "GIBBS" with a double underline.

Comments

I have two minor variations of this version, one with the cam keeper cord attached to the left side of the shell and one to the right.