History of Machine Tools



I'll
Not a celebrity, but it does make me certifiably old.
Ed Huntress
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Second prize, *two* free cerfications!!
:^)
Jim
================================================= please reply to: JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com ================================================
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Ed Huntress wrote:

Ed,
Maybe you should give a lecture. Danbury isn't that far.
John
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is:
contributions
"rubber
I'll
Nah, I'm no expert on it. I was just one of a team of editors who researched and put that history together. We each took a few slices of it and studied them for a year or so.
A great deal of the research material was right in the building with us -- the collection of American Machinist magazines going back to 1877, and the McGraw-Hill corporate library, which contained every important book published on machining up to the early 1950s. McGraw-Hill published most of those produced in the US up until that time, anyway.
And some of our editors knew the key people very well. Colvin had been an AM editor himself at one time. Dick Moore used to come in for lunch. Parsons was around from time to time. Andy Ashburn, who wrote much of the WWII training material for machinists, was our Editor when I was there. And so on. We had the living history right there with us.
The curators at the American Precision Museum in Vermont know more about it than anyone alive. If you ever get up there, stop in. It's worth it.
Ed Huntress
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Errol Groff snipped-for-privacy@snet.net

I don't have suggestions for electronic research, but the main English history was written up in the late 1800s by Samuel Smiles, from whom we get most of the info on Henry Maudslay, James Nasmyth, and like. I don't have the text references, but the titles are close to "industrial biography," and "lives of the engineers." In the U. S. Joseph Roe's 1916 "English and American Tool Builders" is still a standard. The mentioned article from the 100 year issue of Am Machinist is good. Mid-20th-century texts by academics are Robert Woodbury's "Studies in the History of Machine Tools," and Abbott Payson Usher's "A history of Mechanical Inventions."
One form of electronic research might be for the students to learn to search for patents electronically, using the free Alternatif software available through the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office site. All of the mechanical patents from 1790 top present are now available (minus those lost in the Patent Office fire of 1836-7?).
Imo, the history and the hands on shouldn't be at opposite poles of the curriculum. Learning the mechanical history "can be" an excellent way to learn to think about more than the mere operation of the tools. Frank Morrison
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I think its a great idea for the students to understand the history of cnc machines, but perhaps looking for the history of machinists would be in order. :)
They will be on milk cartons soon.
Or beer bottles. <g>
L8ters Bing
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Errol Groff wrote:

A few topics to consider:
The impact of electrification and the availability of small reliable electric motors, the change from main lineshaft driven machinery to individually powered mobile machines.
The role of the machine tool in the general shift toward standardized parts and procedures, the advent of "scientific management", Taylorism, the rationalization movement.
Backlash against machinery/technology in general, Luddites. Who gained, who lost, as machine tools/manufacturing facilities became more advanced and capable?
A thorough treatment of these topics would be beyond the scope of the assignment, but some students might want to explore how machine tools developed in a larger context.
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Hey Errol,
History Channel:
<http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/robotics/2000/10/vcr_alert/
Also, contact David MacMillan on this list or modeleng-list. He is into very old machine stuff.
Take care.
Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
wrote:

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I believe the first Numerically controlled machine tool was developed as a joint venture of the Devlieg machine tool company and the Massachusetts institute of technology (M.I.T.).

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wrote:

Read "Tools For The Job" by LTC Rolt. Superb book, and Tom Rolt was also a pioneer in the preservation of industrial archaeology.
Names to conjure with are "Watt & Boulton" "Bramah", "Whitworth", various US gunsmiths, and the Norton grinding wheel company. The RAC Cadillac re-assembly trial is worth studying too.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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Hi, - I see you are sort of close to me, I'm in NY. Rutland, VT is about a four hour drive for me. I think Windsor was 5 hours over fromGlens Falls, NY. I was there about 1990 and then it was just a collection of machines like Ferdinand Snow's place of used machinery over in Westwood, NJ, that spanned a few generations. There was a minature machine shop to a very small scale, all working models, made by hand by an old retired machinist/toolmaker they had on display there. I was impressed! The display said it was ALL done by hand files in this guys spare time until he died!! But when I was there, there wasn'tmuch of a paper trail of history on display, just old machines to look at and a bit of a mess. =======http://www.americanprecision.org/Default2.html =======The 1st computer run lathe I ran had a blinking idiot lights display like "Robbie-the-Robot," run by a binary computer---a SOB of a big ass turret lathe made by Pratt Whitney, the PJ400. This was 1975 for me, that lathe had to be 1950's era. We used it to turn cast iron actuator housings for Kieley and Mueller automatic control valves. I think the PJ designation was a merger of Potter & Johnson, but just a guess. =======Off Topic: =======The oldest automatic turret lathe I ran was a Potter & Johnson 3JU Speedflex, probably at least WWII or before. It was basicly a glorified clock with electrical relays. Dogs on a rotating drum that engaged levers that engaged the relays. You'd start out cold in the morning, especialy in the winter, then adjust tooling accordingly as it warmed up, a real art to work tight tolerances and still keep daily quota. And of course I was running two of 'em simultaneosly! =========== The 1st NC tape lathe I ran was the Warner & Swasey 1 SC, both chuckers and bar stock machines that ran off perforated paper tape encoded identical to the stock market ticker tapes of that era, supposedly built early 1960's. I got on those in 1987! The back panel was just loaded with circuit boards which overheated in the summerime and it had heat safeties built in and would trip off. So I would open the rear circuit board housing and aim a big floor fan in there to keep it cool and keep working. (DUST?) Ideally suited to an air conditioned environment, but bosses will be bosses!! A photoelectric eye read the code, BUT it also read dust specks, and paper wrinkles---and BOY could that sucker MOVE---and where you didn't want it to go! One tended to develop lightning quick reflexes. When I was working these we used a flexible plastic perforated tape, but stll the dust and wrinkles! - I would think some university, maybe MIT, developed these early computer controlled machines as a research project as to the fundamental concept and I would think the reason was for aerospace/Air Force purposes. Wonder if MIT has a museum? - The 1st TV screened CNC I saw in our shop was a German made lathe that came in new about 1977. ===========Other Stuff: ===========I was to Henry Ford's Museum near Detroit about 1961, I was about nine years old. I still remember an old fashioned machine shop display there. ~~~~~~~~~~~ Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford http://www.hfmgv.org/village/libertycraftworks.asp ===========In 1980 I was to Washington, D.C. and one of the Smithonian Museums had a mid-1800's machine shop on display fired by a steam engine. I'd go nuts if I was allowed access to their archive areas! ===========The Workbench Book http://www.taunton.com/store/pages/070061.asp ~~~~~~~~~~ Within this Workbench Book, I think this is the book I read, there is a description how the 1st WOOD helical leadscrews were made---sawn and chiseled, then refined. Then from a rudimentary wood lathe with screwcutting capabilities the first metal leadscrews were made, then refined. And over time, eventually, the guy that made the Moore Jig Borer got it down to millionths of an inch refinement to work accurately to fifty millionths off hand wheeled controlled machines. Moore was in Bridgeport, CT at one time, maybe still?. Maybe they got a museum? ==========Some stuff from my stash: ==========Medieval and Renaissance Lathes http://www.his.com/~tom/sca/lathes.html ==========Yahoo! Photos - View Photo http://photos.groups.yahoo.com/group/humanpoweredmachinetools/vwp?.dir=/treadle+ornamental+lathe&.src=gr&.dnm=ornamental+treadle+lathe.jpg&.view=t&.done=http%3a//photos.groups.yahoo.com/group/humanpoweredmachinetools/lst%3f%26.dir=/treadle%2bornamental%2b ==========Soule Live Steam http://groups.msn.com/SouleLiveSteam/soulesteamfeedworks.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=7 ====================I found ALL this stuff off GOOGLE initially, then searches within MSN.com and Yahoo.com Some of my searches (not necessarily machine shop) are rather intense, instead of watching a game on the TV, I go find something. - Oh, yeah---used bookstores in Maine got some interesting finds, if not to buy, just read. There is one place in Wells, ME out on the main road just south of "The Lighthouse Depot" (a store) that had a $200 big pictorial book on how steam engines were made. - I think finding a chronological history of machining may be difficult as to who or what was 1st as to the needs of the marketplace or just the fact that people were interested in working, not necessarily interested in keeping an accurate record of it. Kind of like asking who the 1st blacksmith was and who invented the hammer? - My father-in-law told me some interesting stories what went on to Bell Aircraft in Buffalo, NY during WWII. Try finding history on that or the entire factory full of old machines buried somewhere under the production floor there and sealed over in concrete to justify buying all new! - Take care, - Kurt {:{ =========re:
History of Machine Tools Group: rec.crafts.metalworking Date: Sat, Oct 25, 2003, 8:31pm (EST+5) From: snipped-for-privacy@snet.net (ErrolGroff) 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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says...
...

In westwood? Where in westwood? Is there any of that still left?
Jim
================================================= please reply to: JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com ================================================
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Hi Jim, - This was awhile back, probably 10 to 15 years ago. The guy's place was Ferdinand Snow used machinery. Coming down from Mahwah, before Paramus, over off Rt.17, coming east, cross the RXR tracks, thru town, on the main drag on the right, a couple miles. Maybe do a PHONEBOOK via computer to see if he is still around? Or maybe somebody else has it. At the time, most shops I knew about, knew this guy. Do you have anybody in here from Bergen County, NJ? Maybe they got the scoop. - Kurt {:{
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says...

LOL. That would be me. I grew up in closter, that same town with Sobel's. My first job was working at the schwinn shop in westwood.
I'm aware of Sobel's, and also there's the Tool Chest in Emerson NJ just down the road. But I never saw Ferdinand Snows, I'll check into it. By your directions it would be out beyond the main part of town, past 5 corners.
Jim
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Ah, looks like he's now *in* Mahwah:
Snow Ferdinand J Inc
63 Ramapo Valley Rd Mahwah, NJ 07430-1133 Phone: (201) 512-9499
Maybe Ed Huntress knows this place?
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Hi Jim, - I still owe you lunch for those tubes you sent me for my intercom. - I was only to Westwood once. I was on a mission with my boss looking at some used equipment. This place was a fairly good sized concrete block building, looked to be built 1950's era,on the south side of the Blvd. This guy bought stuff used, fixed it up, then resold it. I know when I was working to Grant Hardware in West Nyack, some of our stuff came from him. - I contacted Sobel personally a couple of times over the years, but to me, he was always gruffy (prima donna die maker mentality), and I didn't like his attitude, so I never did business with him. I have talked to the guy to http://www.mermac.com and bought some stuff. He knows/knew Sobel as a machinery source and both these guys have done Cabin Fever Expo. He's down on Long Island around the Freeport area. - I did carpentry for awhile, pre-machine shop days. During the 1974 Oil Embargo I signed up for 6 years Navy Reserve Seabees as work was a wee bit scarce. I was gone 6 months doing Basic, schools and some combat training. If you ever get up to Beacon, NY, just below the hospital there, is a 4 bay ambulance HQ & rec hall, RNMCB13 built, my claim to fame. Nice thing about building things, testaments that I was there once upon a time. On winter carpenter layoff in 1975 I took a 165 hour turret lathe course here in Middletown at Kieley and Mueller, Inc. to run automatic turret lathes funded by a government program to get off unemployment and my one year drafting program under Mr. Vizvary (also the soccer coach) in tool design training I got to Ulster County Community College came in handy and that's how I got into machining, a hell of lot easier than swinging a hammer! I worked around learning on the job and a few years later kind of apprenticed under a prick (read SOB) tool maker and worked in a couple different shops doing tooling work, then I hurt my back on a part time construction job, and that was that. I got over twenty years in the machine shop trade and can't do the standing anymore. Well, I supose I could do it, but I wouldn't be a happy camper (read PAIN!!). Any shop I ever worked in, SITTING was not allowed. Really funny. I'm thinking about the real estate racket for these tired old bones. - Well, I have fun reminscing (sp?) (remembering) with you guys. I must say you guys are intimidating or else you all got the gift of gab. Most of the bull sh*t artists I knew weren't too good at doing anything. The really good guys weren't too good at the gabbing. And I've seen high school drop outs, close to genius level in the mechanical trades as to practical know how. Higher education doesn't necessarily mean poo! Though I think the engineering studies would be fun. Well, you guys at least are entertaining and seem to be very in the know. This is my favorite site on the WWW . - Kurt {:{ - Can't shut this guy up! (I change e-mail addies frequently to stay ahead of the spammers, but the {:{ is always me. Wish I had that much hair! I think somebody here ain't too fond of WEBTVers and lately quite a bit of spam, but changes to MSNTV lately should curtail most of it. If I ever get jury duty to some SOB spammer, I'll show NO mecy!) ========re:
Re: History of Machine Tools Errol Groff Jim R. Group: rec.crafts.metalworking Date: Mon, Oct 27, 2003, 4:54am (EST-3) From: jim snipped-for-privacy@newsguy.com (jimrozen)
Kurt {:{ says... Hi Jim, - This was awhile back, probably 10 to 15 years ago. The guy's place was Ferdinand Snow used machinery. Coming down from Mahwah, before Paramus, over off Rt.17, coming east, cross the RXR tracks, thru town, on the main drag on the right, a couple miles. Maybe do a PHONEBOOK via computer to see if he is still around? Or maybe somebody else has it. At the time, most shops I knew about, knew this guy. Do you have anybody in here from Bergen County, NJ? Maybe they got the scoop. LOL. That would be me. I grew up in closter, that same town with Sobel's. My first job was working at the schwinn shop in westwood. I'm aware of Sobel's, and also there's the Tool Chest in Emerson NJ just down the road. But I never saw Ferdinand Snows, I'll check into it. By your directions it would be out beyond the main part of town, past 5 corners. Jim ============================================== please reply to: JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com =============================================
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On Sun, 26 Oct 2003 19:08:15 -0800, jim rozen wrote:

Probably sent to Peterborough UK. We have a Westwood.
--
Neil
My address is Spamless.
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One of my favorite books is "When the Machine Stopped - A Cautionary Tale from Industrial America" by Max Holland, Harvard Business School Press 1989, ISBN 0-87584-244-5
It is a history of the rise and fall of the Burgmaster Corporation, and includes their attempts to break into the NC market, and compete with Giddings and Lewis.
Although it is an economics text, it reads quite well and contains the full history of the company.
Nick
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You might want to look at http://www.emachinetool.com/machine_museum.cfm
There's a forum for people actually interested in machine-tool history, archives of past articles from the museum's magazine, and also a machine tool "Hall of Fame". The hall of fame is a list of names, including John Parsons, with good but brief articles about some key people, and their contributions to the state of the art.
Other links from the site ought to lead your students as far and wide as their curiosity cares to go.
Hope this helps!
KG
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Kirk Gordon wrote:

A side to the machine tool industry is the development of cutting tools and how it changed the way parts were manufactured. Muntz metal, carbon steel, stelite and all the newer material used to make the cutting tools. A job that took a whole day 100 years ago takes 10 minutes today. Machine tools would not do what they do without the development of the cutters themselves.
John
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