Manually Operated Metal Working Machinery

| May/June 1997

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.

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.