View Full Version : S shaped levers

07-13-2007, 08:27 PM
Aside from aesthetics, why are so many old machine lever handles S shaped?

07-13-2007, 08:46 PM
Longer handle = more leverage


07-13-2007, 08:51 PM
Longer handle = more leverage

Hmmmm? The handle is longer but the leverage does not increase. The distance between points being equal. JRouche

Oh, now I see yer lil eyelid closed...Hmmm

07-13-2007, 09:00 PM
I believe some thought it true. Pick any room full of people today (except machinists) and I bet some will think it so even now.

Lew Hartswick
07-13-2007, 10:09 PM
just like the longer blade on a screwdriver. :-)

Doc Nickel
07-13-2007, 10:22 PM
Now that actually does work, Lew.

If you don't believe me, try it yourself the next time you're opening a can of house paint, or prying drywall down. :D


07-13-2007, 10:25 PM
I have to agree with Doc on that. How do I know?


07-13-2007, 10:57 PM

07-13-2007, 11:08 PM
Could it be that they were much stronger due to the cast iron being shaped into arched segments? Or, was it simply the aesthetic choice of the day?

Or were they invented by a guy named Sam or Simon?

Ok, its getting late and I see that aesthetics were already mentioned by YF.

07-13-2007, 11:20 PM
I believe the best answer is it allows the cast iron to shrink as it cools without cracking away at the root of the spoke or handle. Of course, it could be the added leverage.

07-14-2007, 04:31 AM
It could be to add that slight bit of extra flexibility so it's less likely that someone would break the lever.

Your Old Dog
07-14-2007, 10:03 AM
Aside from aesthetics, why are so many old machine lever handles S shaped?

Ooh Ooh, I know this one!
Because R was a lot more Labor intensive, X seemed redundant and W looked liked it was broken?

07-14-2007, 10:23 AM
Curved shape always presents a level spot to apply BFHammer as it turns;)

07-14-2007, 12:44 PM
I think it's just a lot more user-friendly. But I doubt they used that term back in those days.
My old LeBlond tailstock wrench has a nice double curve (curved the wide way that is) which permits much more comfortable hand placement. Very pleasant to use. Makes the operator feel better about himself. ...enhances self-esteem! :)

I'd bet in a days time of lathe use, productivity would be enhanced as well.

OTOH, I never have liked those old S-curved open end wrenches, but I suppose one might come in handy in certain limited access situations.

Frank Ford
07-14-2007, 01:43 PM
I don't know about the s-shape levers and spokes, but I do know that the gold pinstriping on old machines increased their efficiency and durability an average of more than ten percent. . .

07-14-2007, 05:57 PM
I'm sure it has to do with ease of use. Over its range of motion, the handle doesn't interfere with your hand operating it.