Manually Operated Metal Working Machinery

Grinding lathe

Content Tools

1744 Pine Tree Road Hernando, Mississippi 38632

Foot operated grinding lathe and grinding wheel.

I know this article gets away from gas engines and tractors, but I hope it will be interesting to most readers.

Several years ago, while looking around in a scrap yard in south Memphis, I noticed the crane operator cleaning up a pile that I knew had been undisturbed for thirty years. At the bottom was this foot operated hammer, lying on its side in the mud, dated July 10, 1883, and marked A. Standish and Company, Columbus, O. I purchased the hammer, took it home, oiled and cleaned it up and it worked perfectly with so little effort! It weighs 725 lbs. and will smash a penny flat with only three strokes.

The hammer got me interested in finding other foot operated machinery. I'm a machinist for the Illinois Central Rail Road at Johnston Locomotive Round House in Memphis, Tennessee.

A year later my son came home telling me of an eighty-year-old fellow who had a foot operated lathe and grinding wheel for sale in an old workshop in Cold Water, Mississippi. So, off we went to see them. I could not believe what I was seeing. The lathe was in perfect condition with all its original tooling including all thread cutting gears, centers, four-jawed chuck, face plate, drill chuck, steady rest, wrenches, and tail stock. The lathe is dated 1876 and marked F. & J. Barnes Company, Rock-ford, Illinois, 8 swing 28' bed. This machine works so effortlessly, it's a real pleasure to use. It has automatic feed left or right with a flip of the lever.

This started the search for a post hand operated drill press, all of which I found were either too small or worn out.

While looking around in the swap meet area of our Sardis, Mississippi Gas Engine and Tractor Show in October, I found exactly what I needed to round out my machine tool set. It is the largest hand operated post drill I have ever seen. The drill has two speeds, adjustable automatic feed, and a gear drive to raise and lower the table. Turning the handcrank makes a 36' spoke flywheel spin over your head, thus storing energy for the drilling job at hand. This machine weighs 475 lbs. and is dated 1909 and marked Champion Blower and Forge Company, No. 7, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

I wish I knew more about these four pieces of equipment, as to whom they belonged and where they were used, because most blacksmiths in this area of the country only had a forge, anvil and maybe a small post drill.

I enjoy making parts for my engines and tractors with this equipment. It gives me great satisfaction to know 1 can do machine work under my own power.

I feel these are pieces of early American history that should be saved to show how far we have come in our technology. Please call or write if you have any questions about this equipment.

I would like to thank the people who have written all the interesting articles in GEM. Each monthly issue is a pleasant learning experience for me that I look forward to.

Always be careful and have fun!

twomanyprojects
9/12/2014 6:49:56 PM

Lathe built by W.F. & John Barnes Rockford, IL Lathe shown is a #4-1/2 model introduced 1885 and sold up the start of WWII. Barnes also built wood working equipment.