I just made a lucky acquisition. Through a friendís referral, I was able to acquire via a trade a very nice early D. E. Whiton gear cutting machine. It uses standard involute gear milling cutters. Iíve attached some photos. Iím just about positive it was built pre-1900. D. E. Whiton moved their factory to New London, CT in 1886, so a pre-1900 manufacturing date is certainly possible, and the machineís general design strongly suggests that era. It will cut gears from a fraction of an inch up to 30 inches in diameter, with either straight or angled teeth. It will also cut bevel (miter) gears at any angle between zero and 90 degrees. There is provision for both manual and power feed of the cutter carriage and a very efficient quick indexing mechanism. This machine was originally equipped with 42 index plates which allowed cutting any number of gear teeth up to 100 and many additional gear tooth counts above 100. Miraculously, all 42 of the original index plates are still with the machine, as well as about a dozen different original arbors for holding the gear blanks. Additional index plates are easily made Ė I already plan to make one for cutting 127 tooth gears for making metric conversions. This couldnít have come at a better time either since I am planning to make full sets of metric change gears for both my Rivett 608 and my Pratt & Whitney Model B lathes. Here's a look at the new machine and some links to more photos:
What an amazing old machine! A simple and versatile design. Probably kind of slow for production, but easy to set up for one-offs. I want one !
I wonder what the original belt drive setup was? I assume a flat belt to a lineshaft, but was there a floating jackshaft? I looks like the input shaft would move with the stroke of the head.
I agree with Bruce. I want one and I thought your little Wormwood planer was the slickest thing I had seen in awhile !
Now we know who to turn to when looking for those missing gears for our Rivetts.
I want one too! Gary P. Hansen
Thanks for the great photos. The very last thing I expect to see was a whole herd of D. E. Whiton gear cutting machines! From what I can see, the main difference between your soon-to-be machine and mine is that mine has a power down feed which can be engaged or not by swinging one of the worm gears into or out of engagement.
Regarding the drive, mine has a recently added hinged platform under the table for use as a motor mount. The drive is now set up for a V-belt - not very authentic but it should work fine. As far as the original drive arrangement, yes, the overhead drive pulley would certainly have to travel with the spindle carriage. I can offer only one clue as to how it might have been done with overhead shafting. One of the items that came with my machine was a 128 pound cast iron counterweight which appeared to have been accompanying the machine for some time. It's a simple solid cylindrical casting about 8" in diameter with an eyebolt screwed into the top to hang it. Perhaps this was the counterweight for the overhead drive pulley.
Consider a teeter-totter balanced arm kind of arrangement with the drive pulley on one end of it and the counterweight on the other. If the arm pivoted on the same axis as the line shaft, the drive pulley would always stay the same distance from the line shaft, allowing a belt to transmit constant power from the line shaft to the drive pulley. If the counterweight was hung an appropriate distance out on the other end of the arm, it would provide a counterbalance for the drive pulley plus sufficient belt tension to transmit power to the driven pulley. And since the arm is on a central pivot, the drive pulley could follow the machine's spindle carriage up and down while maintaining constant power transmission to the driven pulley on the machine. That's one possibility anyway.
Also, I have a question regarding the indexing mechanism. Its basic function is clear, but the indexing procedure requires you to skip the same number of notches on the index plate every time you advance the gear blank for the next cut, similar to skipping a set number of holes in the plate on an indexing head. On an indexing head, the quadrant helps you to avoid errors by providing a positive positioning indictor for inserting the indexing pin. I don't see anything (yet) on the indexing mechanism of the Whiton machine that provides a positive stop so that the ratchet picks up the same number of notches every time you swing the indexing lever. I'm sure there must have been some provision for a feature like this. Any idea how it worked?
I want one too.
I know, not very original...
Say can ya share a better shot of the table of divisions??
Thanks for all the pictures of your machine! Until I get mine in-hand, your pictures are all I have to go by as far as how the thing works.
As to the indexing, I see a flat on the indexing lever that looks like it can be used against a stop. But I don't see a stop. And if there were stops to limit the swing of the lever, there should be another stop in the opposite direction, I would think. Maybe that flat on the lever hits the base of the machine if you swing it all the way around. Then you would count the notches as you swing it back. To index the gear blank, you'd move the lever until it stops against the side of the base again. I don't really think they would have relied on just counting though. What we need to show up somewhere is a manual for this machine. As if they even had such a thing back then.
Basically, I don't know how it works!
Great machines guys..... Irby, is that photo from the Brink the one I took? That's OK if it is..... and the last photo is that the same machine inside Brink's barn? Were you there?
I wasn't there, but I wish I had been (and with a BIG trailer and a BIGGER wallet). I got the first picture from the time they were posted here, I think. And the second one from a friend. Both a while back, and now they are just on my computer. If I had known who took them, I'd have given some credit. So you were there? You're out that way. I know Rich Spens bought the Whiton cutter and at least the Boynton & Plummer shaper, maybe more. The second picture may even have come from his web site. Yes, the second picture is the same machine inside.