History of Machine Tools

I am preparing a research assignment for my students on this subject. Looking for suggestions as to names which might be used as search
terms or links to sites that would be appropriate.
Also, I am not remembering the names that were involved in the creation of the first NC machines back in the late forties/early fifties. I know that the info is back in my head somewhere but it is not coming forward. Help would be appreciated!
I don't want togfive the kids everything obviously but I do need to give them enough to get started It is tough to do research on a subject when you don't know enough about it to even know what questions to ask.
Thanks for your help!
Errol Groff Instructor, Machine Tool Department H.H. Ellis Tech 613 Upper Maple Street Danielson, CT 06239
860 774 8511 x1811
http://pages.cthome.net/errol.groff /
http://newenglandmodelengineeringsociety.org /
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snipped-for-privacy@snet.net says...

Giddings & Lewis is the first that comes to mind, perhaps Warner & Swasey.
Giddings & Lewis claims they were first in this company history.
http://www.glcastings.com/ne/basenav/dateline.asp
Ned Simmons
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Take a look at the American Precision Museum in Vermont web site
http://www.americanprecision.org/Default2.html
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Hate to mention this, but we received word last week that G&L's foundry is closing permanently.
There is some possibility that our foundry would get some of the work. I work at the former Cincinnati Milling Machine Co. (or Milacron) foundry, now known as Cast-Fab Technologies, Inc.
If you'd like to see some historical photos of the machine tool industry, please go to:
http://memory.loc.gov /
Click on the search link and type into the search bar "Milling machines and machine castings" WITH the quotes. You will get a hit for a number of photos of the foundry in 1942. The foundry is not identified, but it is the Cincinnati Milling Machine Co. foundry. The reason it was not identified is because it was early on during WW2 and there were fears that sabotage or bombing would take place so the foundry name was kept secret.
Next week the auctioneers will be at the machine shop and everything must go. The foundry is the only part left still producing. Of course we use electric furnaces instead of the cupolas and furan sand instead of green sand but the building itself is still the same.
Mark Fields
says...

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Great link, Mark! I am wasting a lot of time looking around in this archive. Thanks! :-)
Al

now
and
the
is
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Mark Fields wrote:

I was rummaging around on that link for a couple of hours til I fell asleep at the computer. A lot of those parts looked familiar since I have rebuilt a couple of those Mills. The spur gears look like the table feed gears and the bevel gear may be the one that supplied power to the quill feed. Those old machines still do the job. Not too many CNC's can remove metal as fast as a #5 vertical.
Very good site. Thanks.
John
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Jesus Christ, now G&L's joined the Liars' Club :-( It's documented all over the place; M.I.T. and John Parsons built the first functional NC machine. It ran in 1952. I even have a jpeg (somewhere) of an ashtray made on the thing. It used a Cincinnati Hydrotel for the base machine. Parsons-Bendix-Dynapath-Autocon was the first maker of ANY nc control. All this is discussed in any of the early books on NC ... you don't have any of those ?
As for Battleboob's concerns, perhaps if they researched the *ideas* behind revolutionary machine tools instead of the boring/useless 'who when where' aspect of it ? I am continually amazed by the number of 'CNC machinists' who don't have a clue about basic machining functions and processes.
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I don't read this as a lie at all. It's all in how you read things. I believe they are telling the history of G&L, not the history of machine tools.
Therefore they are stating they built "THEIR" first NC machine tool in 1955.
It would be different had they put "invented the first NC machine tool".
Mark Fields

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Mark Fields wrote:

Yeah, it's a lie. The beginnings of NC/CNC were done by a couple guys in a tool shop in Traverse City, Michigan. They made charts of X/Y coordinates for movements on a Bridgeport mill. Then one guy stood in front of the machine with the saddle handle (Y axis), while another stood at the side of the machine with the table handle (X axis), and they made simultaneous moves in a step by step fashion.'
This wasn't NC machining, of course; but it was a beginning. The two guys in the tool shop (Parsons might have been one of them; but the names escape me at the moment), showed their idea to the defense department as a way to improve and streamline the manufacture of military stuff. That led to the idea being taken up by MIT, with DOD funding, where the two guys with charts and handles were replaced by punched cards, crude calculating machines with relays and vacuum tubes, and electric motors. THAT was the first NC machine.
If the iron that this idea was first applied to happened to be a G&L, or a Bridgeport, or whatever, it seems to me that that was totally incidendtal. G&L not only didn't invent it; but they were actually pretty slow to do anything that ended up being sold as a useful machine.
Based on what I've read, heard, looked at in museums, and seen with my own eyes (I'm old, you know), G&L didn't invent NC or CNC machining any more than Al Gore invented the internet.
KG
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That was Parsons Corp., Traverse City. They were producing helicopter-blade templets with the aid of an IBM 602A Multiplier, calculating positions and then setting the machine to those positions by hand.

A Swiss jig borer, actually.

Integral-rib wing skins were the items that provoked the whole idea of using electronic control, but the original Air Force demonstrations were on a helicopter blade. Then demos were done in late 1948 on a 16-in.-wingspan wing model with a tapered chord. The demos were done at Snyder Corp. in Detroit. The Air Force granted the contract on June 15, 1949.

That's pretty much it. It should be pointed out that it was controlled by a computer, not by a simple logic controller, so it was also the first CNC machine.
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Ed Huntress
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Ed Huntress wrote:

Really? Are you sure? I didn't know that!
KG
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Hi there Kirk..
That's the exact story I've read in MMS yearly "Thick" magazine. I don't remember what MMS calls it's yearly offering.
Regards,
Stan-

by a

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Kirk Gordon wrote:

I think that was done with punch cards, one for each move. There was no memory storage as we know it today.Memory was limited by the number to tubes in the control. One tube for each two bits of data. They did have mechanical relays the were used. Think pin ball machines.
John
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by a

CNC
No, I don't think so, John. What you're describing sounds like some of the commercial machines that came out in the mid-'50s, like the J&L Binotrol, and the G&L Numericord.
I don't have access to the old reports anymore, but the MIT machine was described as a computer-controlled machine. It had a vacuum-tube computer controlling it. I don't recall if I ever read just what the functions of the computer were.
Ed Huntress
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Ed Huntress wrote:

Ed
I just found this site which goes into Parsons and MIT.
http://www.control.com/949951573/index_html
John
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Good catch!
Stan-

controlled
first
no
the
Binotrol,
computer
the
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Ed Huntress wrote:

and this site
http://www.tadesite.com/parsons.mgi
John
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a few years back aparently a bucnh of massive old machines where being transported somewhere--the trailors parked on a side street here in the bronx--they where massive machines one I remeber was a shaper--first one i ever saw--many looked like wwII stuff---what stories there machines could have told!
i once got into the history of electron spark machining--discovered in Russia by two brothers during the nazi invasion of Russia--whiss i could find out modre about them
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Husband and wife, actually. The Lazarenkos.
That's a long story, and it's the one aspect of machine-tool history in which I do claim some expertise. Whether you really want to credit the Lazarenkos with the "discovery" depends on how you interpret some of the earlier history.
The Lazarenkos claim to have made their "discovery" in 1943, at which time they supposedly published a white paper on it in the Soviet Union. But the paper wasn't released to the public nor to foreigners until after the war was over.
In fact, there had been manual-servo tap-busters on the market since the 1920s. In the mid-to-late 1930s, some were being used for rough EDM machining, such as eroding square holes. Liquid dielectric was in use with these machines, and, contrary to much of what you'll read, so were RC relaxation circuits. Just before the US entered WWII, the company that would become Elox during the 1950s sold one or two machines to the Soviets *with hydraulic servos*! In other words, every element that the Lazarenkos claim to have "invented" was known and was in use years earlier -- although not, from the history I've seen, all in the same machine.
This was about the time that the Soviets also claim to have invented baseball, so take their claims with a big grain of salt. Right at the end of the war the US Air Force was working on a secret method they called "Method X." You'll see references to it in the magazines published around 1948 - 1949. Method X turns out to have been EDM, as well.
It was American Machinist that first published the Lazarenko story in the US, around 1948, if I recall correctly, and it was Charmilles (Switzerland) that has published their version of it over and over since around 1952. Most of what you'll read is a repeat of the story as Charmilles tells it.
Ed Huntress
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