Big Muddy, I couldn't see the photo's well enough to be certain what they did, and think that Nordfork doesn't look quite like the ones we use. We do use them just about exclusively, believing them to be easier on calves of all sizes, not to mention the 'rasslers'!
I suspect there are quite a number of 'inventors' and innovators who have tinkered with the design. Pretty sure ours were produced locally. I know the first ones were some years ago.
Also not sure how many ranches we trade work with use them, but am guessing there are at least a few thousand calves within maybe a 20 mile radius of us that are handled with Nordforks.
Our guys heel them. It takes a little practice to get good at putting the 'fork on the calf. The heeler keeps the heels under control. We drag the calves out of a corral onto grass to brand and 'work' them, release them into the pasture where the cows are bawling around the area and take off with the calf as soon as it is turned loose. It takes so little time to do everything, from penning them to branding to knife castrating to vaccines that there is very little stress on the calves. We see even the castrated ones following the cow away and getting a meal within a few minutes of being 'man-handled'. I doubt it takes more than a couple of minutes per calf, if that.
Our branding crews consist of men, women, boys, girls, ages 4 to 80 from several families in the area. Anyone who wants a chance to do any job they can handle gets it. There are getting to be some awfully good little ropers. There are always a lot of capable people on horseback and on foot in the corral and branding area, and they catch most potential wrecks before they happen, and de-fuse some that get a start. I'm a 'nervous nellie' with the little kids participating, but few of my fears have happened, and none have been serious. We do have an EMT in the family which eases my fears, but don't believe she has had to do much for brandings. Horses falling with/on Shorty in the pasture do result in her getting some 'practice'.
Will try to get some pictures when we brand to demonstrate how we use the Nordforks. My point of view is that they make the work easier and more fun and are much easier on the calves than any other way we see.