View Full Version : Antique Machine Tools

03-25-2001, 03:57 PM
I was wondering if there was anyone interested in the collection, and restoration of antique metalworking machines.I have in my possesion several elderly lathes, mills, drill presses, etc.that I have used over the years, and have admired them for the quality and pride that was built into each one. Yet,as I look around, everyone seems to be preserving and collecting every item under the sun except for the machines that made them. Does
anyone else have the same views?

Ben Shank
03-26-2001, 01:30 AM
I have several, very elderly machines with patent dates of 189x and several I'm not sure about but I'm sure they are in the early 1900's. I hope to restore each back it's orginal condition, including the paint color(if I can match the color...black). I plan on using them after restoration, as I don't want a shop of fullscale models, if they can't be used what's the point of having them.This will be a long term project
rebuilding as I have the time and resources. I will probably continue to collect "orphans" as I run across them, since once they are gone they are gone. I am not interested selling them after restoration. Are you trying to find a home for these machines.

green frog
04-01-2001, 11:12 PM
Gentlemen, I am a "newbie" both to machining and to the acquisition and restoration of old tools, however, my Father has fallen heir to a benchtop engine lathe made by Lempco of Bedford (now Cincinnati) OH sometime in the 20's or 30's. I have searched several sites for info, including a thus-far unanswered e-mail to the current Lempco for any info on this veteran. Do either of you or any of our other readers have any info on this neat old machine? TIA, the Green Frog

Bobby Roakes
04-01-2001, 11:29 PM
Hi I have an old sear's lathe and I get more enjoyment from playing with that at home the I do with a very expensive cnc at work, If you are looking for a home for one of your old machines I have a little room and some time to make it run like new or if you need help fixing it I'd be glad to give what advice I can have a good day

Ben Shank
04-02-2001, 12:08 AM
Try looking at this site, it's a really neat site with probably the most information on old machinery of any I've found: http://www.lathes.co.uk/page21.html
Unfortunately a lot of the info on old machines has been lost in the closing of shops and no one ever thought anyone would ever want it...so it got pitched. Some is surfacing from woodwork, but I'm afraid a lot is just gone.
I don't really have any machines I want to let go, maybe if run across something in the future, I'll post it. There is a lot of pleasure from taking an old machine and brining it back to a useful life, anyone can go a piece of Chineese junk, but not everyone can restore an old machine.

Milacron of PM
04-02-2001, 01:31 AM
This might be of some interest


Ben Shank
04-03-2001, 02:35 AM
Thanks, D. Thomas,I went and took a glance and bookmarked the site. I don't have time tonite but I'll look it over good and probably addthat to my ever growing list of things to look at............when will ever find time to actually WORK on my machines?????

04-04-2001, 12:43 AM
To all the people who replied to my original post, thank you. It is heartening to know that there are a few people who are genuinely concerned with the loss of a part of our industrial heritage. I firmly believe that if enough of us get together, we could very possibly get an "antique machine tool collector" movement started.
P.S.: I do not wish to part with any of the machines I have, they are such a part of my life and past, that I have given them names( my 9" Logan is called Ernie.)

oil mac
11-02-2013, 07:42 PM
J.D. I was browsing back through the past threads when I came across your post on old machine tools, like you I like older machine from a by-gone age, I have four old machines , an old hand operated planing machine from the early 1930/s , a three step cone drive back geared, screw cutting Colchester lathe from the late1920 early thirties era & a bigger geared head Holbrook tool room lathe from 1946 But I think the jewel in my crown is a pretty powerful six inch stroke slotting machine, by the Denham Engineering Co although a last war machine 1939-45 era it was built to a very traditional design
I forgot another machine which I unfortunately have never got round to setting up, a little bench mounted 4" centre height toolmakers lathe American in design, but sadly no makers name
Being a home craftsman, I am not beating the clock on machining times, Somehow the old machines have nicer flowing lines than todays machines , It may sound stupid but they almost have a soul, One can think on the past, forgotten craftsmen who earned their daily crust on these items of plant The little Colchester I own has a particular attachment to me, many moons ago at evening classes I was introduced to turning on the self same model of lathe, My particular lathe is still in mint condition. Enjoy your old machines they are a valuable link to a proud period when manufacturing reigned supreme

11-02-2013, 08:28 PM
So many neat things, so little space. I guess the closest I could come is my Chandler & Price 8 x 12 (printing press). The last patent date on its frame is 1897, so it was probable produced sometime between 1900 and 1910.

11-02-2013, 08:39 PM
Interesting post. My oldest machine is a small 4x12 British built "WADE CVA" round bed lathe.
According to tony's lathe site these were last built in 1937. It is complete and Tony was surprised that i have all the change gears.

Dr Stan
11-02-2013, 08:41 PM
I have a 9' Cincinnati planner from the very early 1900's, it a line shaft machine I'm planning to restore and use to resurface small (9" to 14") lathe beds.

BTW, don't let Fylo know what you have, he'll be beating down your door. :D

11-02-2013, 09:43 PM
Have a look at Old woodworking machinery website, they have a section for old metalworking machines, brilliant site, enthusiastic and helpful people.

11-02-2013, 10:33 PM

Paul Alciatore
11-03-2013, 03:12 AM
Ahhh, come on guys, this thread is screaming for pictures, pictures, and more pictures.

And a video or two.

11-03-2013, 06:26 AM
Since the thread was started on 2001 that would explain why there are few pictures or videos. Back the Sir John was still an apprentice. ;-)

11-03-2013, 08:04 AM
Old equipment is the only way to fly. I'm so pissed off at humanity and it's blatant greed and lack of pride in workmanship as well as design ( built in obsolescence) I could puke:mad:. Everything from the houses most live in to the medicines given to the food is nothing but gucking farbge. I left behind a large amount of mint old equipment when I came here with full intent of never lifting a finger other than tending to my animals and plants.. FAIL :p ! Now I'm kicking myself.
Current project : 19 inch deep throat( 26" cap) metal/wood cutting bandsaw.
3 HP/VFD. C frame- 2 " AA6061-T6511. Waiting for the boat-customs BS. I designed it and had a firm in Brazil cut the frame.
I'd even make the damn motor if I was capable.If I were 20 years younger, I'd learn and make it anyway. F-'em :mad:

11-03-2013, 08:22 AM
There is an impressive collection of antique machine tools at the American Precision Museum in Windsor, Vermont. http://www.americanprecision.org/

11-03-2013, 10:40 AM
You don't even have to go back that far to find more useful machines. I have a Walker-Turner 14" bandsaw from 1952, with four step cone pulleys and a back gear, for a total of 8 speeds. Just finding a decent 2 speed machine in today's market is like pulling hen's teeth. Another advantage is the old ones are rebuildable. Old iron definitely has it's charms.

11-03-2013, 10:52 AM
Okay, 19 posts and no showing from or mention of Flyo?

GUYS!?! Are you okay? Do I need to call for help?

11-03-2013, 11:19 AM
http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i169/kooldoozer/Machines%20and%20Stuff/IMG_0365.jpg (http://s72.photobucket.com/user/kooldoozer/media/Machines%20and%20Stuff/IMG_0365.jpg.html)
1913(?) Superior Drill
http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i169/kooldoozer/Machines%20and%20Stuff/SDC10924.jpg (http://s72.photobucket.com/user/kooldoozer/media/Machines%20and%20Stuff/SDC10924.jpg.html)
Showing her flying out.
http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i169/kooldoozer/Machines%20and%20Stuff/IMG_0364.jpg (http://s72.photobucket.com/user/kooldoozer/media/Machines%20and%20Stuff/IMG_0364.jpg.html)
1885(?) Barnes Drill
http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i169/kooldoozer/Machines%20and%20Stuff/IMG_0139.jpg (http://s72.photobucket.com/user/kooldoozer/media/Machines%20and%20Stuff/IMG_0139.jpg.html)
1927 SB Junior 9"

Pics for ya.


oil mac
11-03-2013, 04:06 PM
Absolutely awesome, I like your camel back drilling machines, I have regretted getting rid of my old Barnes fifteen years ago, due to space restrictions, your big Superiors name just says it all

11-08-2013, 05:34 PM
My wife would draw the line at a garden swing for machine tools.

12-01-2013, 03:52 PM
I bought a 20" Champion camelback drill Friday. Just because.

Mike Nash
12-01-2013, 07:55 PM
I know I have to be missing something here, but just what is the appeal of the camelback drill press? Am I the only one that thinks they are somewhat ugly? Is it the looks, or is there some functional advantage I am not seeing? Serious questions, I'm not trying to diss anyone at all.

12-01-2013, 08:20 PM

They are a cheap, simple, and very strong design for a drilling machine. Many also like the ascetics, though that is quite personal. They are also good for drilling steel because they run slow enough and are rigid enough to run larger drills. Something modern drill presses aren't really very good at until one starts getting into radial arm drills which are often expensive and take a lot of not only floor space but headroom also.

The drawbacks are lack of a wide range of speeds, slow speeds, and size, (they are larger and heavier than modern drill presses) coupled with oftentimes a lot of wear.


12-01-2013, 08:58 PM
They are also incredibly top heavy, you will find a lot of old ones with broken pieces.

They have been mostly replaced with gear head style drill presses. Radial drills have always been in another category.

12-01-2013, 09:03 PM
I love the old camelbacks. Mostly because of how they look.

Here's a vid of my vintage drill press that I restored vs a newer cheap drill press.


12-01-2013, 09:50 PM
What constitutes antique? This is my atlas 1940's th54 in action making a new drawbar for my not so vintage milling machine.


12-02-2013, 09:47 AM
Schor, I suspect if you put the time and care into rebuilding that new import DP that you put into those older tools, you could smooth it up considerably.

12-02-2013, 04:07 PM

I have Laidlaw bandsaw that I restored. When I got it the machine was in running order but leaked oil and was rusty. This is a very unique machine and it was built by a small company in New Jersey. I think the company still exists but it has not produced bandsaws since the early 50's. These were made from the mid 20's to mid 50's. They made some unique production models that cut using both the down cut and the up cut sides. Here are some specifics of my machine the JM-20 model. It has 20 diameter wheels with no crown, which seems to be no problem. The guides are all ball bearing. The top wheel can move up or down for tension, tip in and out for alignment, and rotate about the support again for alignment. The bottom wheel is fixed in all directions except it can move in or out. With those movements you can do all alignment points necessary. It has a sliding table with a vice that can be adjusted from 45 to 90 degrees. The sliding table is connected to an adjustable gravity feed that pulls the table through the blade. It has an adjustable stop for depth of cut. The vice can be removed and the material cut freehand. One rather unique feature is that the entire table can be rotated about the blade. The blade bends to follow the table (I do not have the special upper guide part to allow this it is missing, I need to make one). The point was that if you had to cutoff a part that was larger than the 20 clearance you rotated the table just enough to clear the rear of the casting and made your cut. This basically approached the horizontal saw concept. The saw has a two speed gear box and all the lower bearings are flood lubricated along with the gears. The top bearing is greased and it is similar to a car axle with both a front and rear bearing. The blade guard is even a bit novel. It is just a piece of angle iron bent around. There are no bolts holding it on. It just has four supports that have grooves for the guard to slip into and one support is a spring type. Once clipped in place it does not move, very innovative. With the vise only 1/8" from the blade very small parts can be cut. It took awhile but I found a catalog at the Ford Museum library ( good source for old stuff).

This "old" machine gets 98% of the cutting jobs. My guess is it was built in the 30's based on pictures, and it is set up for a flat belt.


http://i1373.photobucket.com/albums/ag398/bobsmodels/Laidlaw-back-2F--EM_zps2bd8c8a3.jpg (http://s1373.photobucket.com/user/bobsmodels/media/Laidlaw-back-2F--EM_zps2bd8c8a3.jpg.html)

http://i1373.photobucket.com/albums/ag398/bobsmodels/Laidlaw-side-1F--EM_zpsfb69d452.jpg (http://s1373.photobucket.com/user/bobsmodels/media/Laidlaw-side-1F--EM_zpsfb69d452.jpg.html)

http://i1373.photobucket.com/albums/ag398/bobsmodels/Laidlaw-table-vise-EM_zps9e6730a3.jpg (http://s1373.photobucket.com/user/bobsmodels/media/Laidlaw-table-vise-EM_zps9e6730a3.jpg.html)

http://i1373.photobucket.com/albums/ag398/bobsmodels/Manufacture-Plate-EM_zps6b2202af.jpg (http://s1373.photobucket.com/user/bobsmodels/media/Manufacture-Plate-EM_zps6b2202af.jpg.html)

12-02-2013, 06:39 PM
Wow, never seen a saw like that, very nice well built unit!! SWEET!!

02-18-2014, 09:16 PM
I love that band saw. You did a great job on the restore.

02-19-2014, 10:52 AM
I have three rolling machines from the 1890s and one from 1864. A circle cutter from 1920 and a Toledo OBI from the 1930s. The OBI is still working but I haven't restored it yet. Still trying to figure out how to pull the 300lb flywheel and gear off of it. The others have all been restored and put back to work.