View Full Version : History...When machinists were a power!

05-16-2006, 09:30 PM
This is a very long read and may take time to download.
I'm still looking for any info about my Oesterlein Machine Company OHIO #2 mill.
Google sent me here but there isn't much on the company.
This is some pages from The Machinists Monthly Journal.
I believe it's a Union paper from about 1910.
Members where from both the US and Canada.
It's very interesting, covering their fight for an 8 hour work day, wages higher than $2.50 a day, etc.
These guys held the hammer and where very organized.
It's incredible....there where thousands upon thousands of them and they could shut down entire economies with a strike.
You have to think...their communication was probably by mail, they covered a huge area but were organized none the less.

05-17-2006, 04:53 AM
IIRC in the rail road industry a Machinist is one who rebuilds and repairs locomotives,Like a diesel mechanic on a larger scale.

05-17-2006, 08:53 AM
Wolf, still like that today in someplaces. The last bigger fab shop I worked at had a half dozen machinists that often end up doing a lot of millwrighting.
Reading some of the stuff on the Journal reminded me of some of the old stuff I've torn apart over the years.
One was a cash register ( National). I was amazed at how many intricate parts where in these. Took me two days to get it apart.
Compare that to a new electronic cash register and you can see why there aren't thousands and thousands of machinists out there.
Each part was cranked out by hand, hundreds and hundreds of them just for one machine.
Reminds me of production welding. Having three or four pallets of parts set down in the morning. Each pallet has a thousand or more tacked up parts stacked up on it. You know full well there are even more pallets of parts waiting when these are done. Go as hard as you can...by lunch you have maybe 200 done...yeesh, you know what you'll be doing for quite awhile!
Had to be far worse for the machinists back then. All hand cranked, hand measured....thousands of little parts cut to size, ready for you to put in a machine.
Ten hour days, probably poor lighting, working in a poorly insulated shop, maybe even had to ride a horse to work.
I used to look at old scrap as just scrap, now I look at it and think of what it must have been like, having to make those same parts all day long, what it was like to crank on handles for 10 hours a day.
I'm thinking there wasn't a lot of glory in being a machinist....more like a lot of back breaking work.

05-17-2006, 11:43 AM
Now we know why screw machines were made,Then tape machines, and now CNC.

Now I am not saying its all good, Mind you. ;)

05-17-2006, 04:50 PM
Ah yes, making production parts. This brings back a lot of memories. I used to work for a company that made a top of the line boat winch. They were three speed units with bronze bushings on all the shafts, cut gears, and dip galvanized gears and bodies. I spent nearly a year making the shafts out of 1/2" cold roll bar stock. The machines that we had to work with were made in the '20s and had been worn out at least since WWII. I had to cut lock ring grooves to hold the gears on the shaft plus or minus .003 thousandths. I made tens of thousands of those shafts. I learned quickly that you needed to check every tenth part as the stops on the machine would work loose pretty often. They tried to run them on an old screw machine that they dredged up from somewhere but the operator didn't bother to check the output. He discovered that he made several thousand scrap parts due to the tolerance not holding. Those were some tense days. The shop was dirty and unheated and we only made about $3.50 an hour. The birds and rats in the shop were always a source of agravation. I was glad to get out of that shop, after a couple years of production work.

Jim (KB4IVH)

05-17-2006, 10:05 PM
Production welding,hehehehe we always called them ducks,all you ever saw of them was the're heads popping up and down.

I never welded runs of parts in production much,but I have welded ship laps 12 hrs at a stint.

You wouldn't think a 50lb roll of flux core would disappear twice in a 12 hr day,but they do.