View Full Version : OT: machinist belt buckles

07-08-2011, 03:50 AM
I found these while browsing ebay, didn't know they existed. Do some of you older members have old belt buckles like this? I imagine they've been made for a long time.

07-08-2011, 05:40 AM
Oh, we have to get Sir John the Bridgeport belt buckle! :D

Forrest Addy
07-08-2011, 06:02 AM
Brings to mind BT Price, one of my old mentors and a great guy. He had a Dunlop belly held up by an aluminum belt buckle with a horse's head cast into it in elaborate relief. Many years of belly chafe had worn the mane and ears off the horse so it looked like a seal's head.

We used to kid him about it. "Hey Burt! Izzat a rabbit on your belt buckle? Where did the ears go?" "Never you mind!!" he'd roar, startling pigeons 70 feet up on the building trusses.

Come to think of it we machinists do need better gewgaws to advertize our trade specialties. I'd give a minor fortune (say, $20) for a set of galluses featuring G A Gray planers of the late '40's and early '50's. I know a toolmaker addicted to Moore jig borers and a guy across town has a lathe he thinks has no equal.

Your Old Dog
07-08-2011, 06:49 AM
If you can get those made out of real billet then put me down for a couple.

07-08-2011, 07:04 AM
Better make that cryogenic-treated billet while you're at it..... :D

07-08-2011, 07:09 AM
There was a guy handing out lapel pins with a micrometer on them at the second (?) NAMES show. Nice idea, but who has lapels these days?

It would be nice if some of the companies like Starrett, Bridgeport, Jet, or whoever, started making belt buckles for advertising. I've got a Troy-Bilt belt buckle from maybe 30 or 35 years ago that was part of their advertising campaign.

07-08-2011, 12:14 PM
No belt buckles, but this is the Starrett merchandise store;


I wonder what Harbor Freight's looks like.

07-08-2011, 01:34 PM
I pretty sure the ones in the OP pics are made by Siskiyou Buckle Co.
I have several made by them.


This link takes you right to the machinist buckles


07-08-2011, 02:37 PM
I thought belt buckles were made of bronze

What kind of equipment does it take to cast this level of detail in bronze?


More machinist belt buckles:

07-08-2011, 02:45 PM
Friend of mine had a pair of the micrometer lapel pins re-cast in gold and made into earrings for his wife.


07-08-2011, 02:57 PM
A couple of years ago I bought a casting furnace from a widow lady.

When I went to pick it up, I noticed 3 or 4 pickle buckets full of scrap.

I asked her what she was going to do with all the aluminum and she said that is brass, not aluminum. (the power was out and it was pretty dark) She told me she was going to bring it in for scrap. She also told me her husband used to cast belt buckles. I bought the scrap for $200 and when I got it home I weighed it and had about 400# of brass there. I called her back and told her I wanted to bring her another $100 but she told me not to bother as she was happy with the price she had gotten.

I ended up finding probably 150 belt buckles in the bottom of one bucket. He used them for patterns.

There were buckles for maybe a dozen motorcycles, lots of gun maker buckles, casting buckles and even a KKK buckle:eek: but no machinist ones.

I did however find some buckles that were the same as the one that I was presented with when I graduated from my apprenticeship, as were all of us graduates. She told me that her late husband made those for us.

And speaking of Dunlap Disease, a friend of mine had a bad case of it and told me he was on a diet because his belt buckle was cutting into his belly.
Seems like it would be a lot easier to get a smaller buckle but hats off to him for losing 30# or so.


07-08-2011, 05:13 PM
Elnino, for that kind of detail you need a centrifugal caster, a good lostwax mold and some "real" bronze, that is tin-copper, not the "architetural bronze" that is really brass.
I cast a belt buckle in the patern of a stag head using sterling silver. The mold for the patern was one of bunch that the silver casting workshop had. It was at one of those "retirement winter centers" in Mesa. I decided that I was not old enough to join, but the workshop facilities were sure neat AND cheap.
Anyone with a jam jar of older coins could make some really smart buckles from coin silver. AND NOBODY START WITH "THAT IS ILLEGAL"-most of the fun things are illegal!

07-08-2011, 08:46 PM
I have the second one with lathe, caliper and mill. Got it from a fellow selling them at a stall in the mall. Bronze and heavy. Peter

John Stevenson
07-09-2011, 02:34 AM

That's rich.
A Bridgeport and an ER collet, what happened to the wimpy R8 ? :eek:

07-09-2011, 03:04 AM
That's rich.
A Bridgeport and an ER collet, what happened to the wimpy R8 ? :eek:

Why, they cast the buckle out of it!

Elnino, another way is to use vacuum casting and lost way. Also die cast.

07-09-2011, 06:51 AM

That's rich.
A Bridgeport and an ER collet, what happened to the wimpy R8 ? :eek:

Come on John -- the ER collet goes with the arbor press. The NT30 collet above the Chinese 9x20 lathe goes with the Bridgeport :D