REFLECTIONS

A BRIEF WORD


| July/August 1991



XL machine

This month we're including a couple of unusual things in our column. The first is a wood wool making machine as they called it in England, or an excelsior machine as we would call it here in the U.S. The illustration is from the September 26, 1924 issue of Machinery Market published in London. It shows the new 'XL' machine of Haighs Ltd., Oldham.

We've often wondered how these machines were built, and in fact, one of our readers inquired a couple of years ago about them. A heavy frame, working in wide and specially built slides, carries a grooving knife at each end. Behind this is a planing knife driven by the connecting rod. A series of grooves are cut into the block by the grooving iron, and the ridges are then cut off by the planing knife.

The pieces of timber are clamped between fluted rollers and fed up to the knives by a gear train. The latter can be adjusted for the desired feed, much as with the change gears on a lathe. This sets the 'thickness' of the shavings. For each 'width' of fibre, separate knives are required, having the proper spacing of the grooves. This machine had a capacity of two blocks of 24 inches thick and 12 inches high, and required only 10 horsepower. Now, if you folks that like to make models want to bring a new sensation to the shows, here ya' go!

A second illustration this month is from the September 25, 1936 issue of Machinery Market. It illustrates an unusual conversion offered by J. & H. McLaren Ltd. at Leeds. As the advertisement states, 'Convert your existing steam ploughing and threshing engines to diesel drive.' Apparently, all the old mechanism, including the smokestack, is removed from the top of the boiler, and a big diesel engine is mounted in its place.

We've never heard of this conversion before, either in England, on the Continent, or here in the States. Did any American builders offer such a conversion? Did the McLaren conversion gain any popularity in England? If we hear anything about this, we'll let you know in later editions.

Ye olde Reflector also wishes to inform you that our history of J. I. Case is now with the publisher, but it will probably be late summer before the finished book can be in your hands. See our ad elsewhere in this issue. We also wish to inform you that we are working on our little handy book of serial numbers, paint colors, and other useful information. This too, should be ready by late summer.