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A previously unknown American Micrometer ! WELLS BROTHERS GREENFIELD LITTLE GIANT

SalemRule

Cast Iron
Joined
Jul 26, 2018
There is an ancient saying: "There is nothing new under the Sun".

With apologies, I would like to paraphrase it, in regards to Micrometers: "There is nothing new under the Sun - Ken Cope has discovered them all".

Like Roger Smith and Patented Planes, Ken Cope's research into Machinist Tools extended far beyond what any of us could possibly have ever discovered on our own.

So imagine my delight to acquire a Micrometer, that, to my knowlege, has never surfaced before.

The Wells Brothers originated in 1876, in Greenfield, Mass, and continued thru various iterations into 1916.

Wells Brothers & Co. - History | VintageMachinery.org

Their specialty, of course, was Taps and Dies. And related items. But up until now, never Micrometers.

This Micrometer is clearly marked, and has a possibly unique feature of having interchangable anvils to account for varying functions.

Many mikes, even manufactured currently, have anvils of various lengths. But this is, to my knowledge, the first Micrometer to have anvils designed for various purposes.

The anvils currently installed have, most likely, a function in setting Dies. And both can be readily removed and replaced.

The Micrometer can be a simple 0-1 inch flat anvil mike if the need arrives.

I have photographed it with a contemporaneus B&S Micrometer, to illustrate the similarity.

Several Notes:

The Little Giant is graduated to measure from 0-1 Inch by .001 inch.

It is stamped "1", with odd stars that contain the letter "H" within.

By the forward anvil, it may say "USA-V". Or they may be errant marks, nothing more.

Comments and suggestions, of course, are encouraged.


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SalemRule

Cast Iron
Joined
Jul 26, 2018
I guess this is it.

My new acquistion is for measuring screws.

As it could mount anvils for any possible gage and pitch - pretty clever.
 

SalemRule

Cast Iron
Joined
Jul 26, 2018
That's it.

So did you sell yours, or does that Auction Listing illustrate a third example ?

And, is it exactly like yours, and is mine unique ?

And possibly earlier, due to lack of Patent ?

(not that it matters much. as I have said, tools that ain't in a book - no one wants !)
 

PeteM

Diamond
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Location
West Coast, USA
Yours seems to be the earlier version, perhaps pre-dating the Starret screw thread comparator? I hadn't seen one like yours before your post, either.

The patent (for the one I had) is the expensive-to-make version with that pitch adjustable side-step. Seems it didn't survive corporate mergers in the tap and die business and (likely) lackluster customer demand for a high priced thread comparator.

The catalog image (on something like page 200) is of the one I previously owned and donated and shipped off to a conference ten years ago. Some friends (we'd seen each other year after year) arranged a sort of auction with the goal of funding an engineering scholarship. Everything went for the listed donation prices - and the whole lot of 700 or so ended up funding near a $30K scholarship. I don't know who ended up with it.

I believe the hand engraved marking on yours - probably by the user -- is USS-V for U.S. Standard V thread?
 

PeteM

Diamond
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Location
West Coast, USA
Interesting photo - showing the companies sharing a sales location in NYC.

Maybe a marriage of convenience since Goodell-Pratt and Wells had different tool lines and both may have attracted more business at the same location? At the time of that photo, Wells would soon be acquired/merged into Greenfield Tap and Die -- which would continue its "Little Giant" brand.. Goodell-Pratt made a lot of tools but was never that large an operation and ended up part of Miller's Falls during the Great Depression.

Both companies were based in Greenfield, Mass. One assumes the owners knew each other? Maybe they decided to share rent in a NYC store?
 

rivett608

Diamond
Joined
Oct 25, 2002
Location
Kansas City, Mo.
42BC6798-658E-49DA-942C-F4657EC4C02C.jpgWells Bros. Was bought out by Greenfield Tap & Die, here is the mic in their 1916 catalog. They also made a stand for it.

I don’t remember why Ken Cope didn’t include it, I vaguely remember we talked about this mic but that was a lot of years ago.
 

SalemRule

Cast Iron
Joined
Jul 26, 2018
View attachment 319817Wells Bros. Was bought out by Greenfield Tap & Die, here is the mic in their 1916 catalog. They also made a stand for it.

I don’t remember why Ken Cope didn’t include it, I vaguely remember we talked about this mic but that was a lot of years ago.

Wow !

The mike in the catalog lacks the cool transverse screw adjustment, AND any replaceable anvils.

So there are at least three major variations, not counting the fact the catalog lists five sizes.

Rivett608 - do you have any of these various mikes ?
 

L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
"By the forward anvil, it may say "USA-V". Or they may be errant marks, nothing more."

Looks like USS-V to me. United States Standard V-threads, previously the Sellers Standard, was a common thread designation when that mike was made (1903/1916), before the Unified form.

Which raises the question of whether Wells supplied interchangeable point and vee anvils so the mike could measure threads. You probably know that Mitutoyo makes thread mikes with interchangeable UN-metric and Whitworth points and vees.

The very small plain cylindrical anvils could be useful for watch repair work. But no watchmaker would treat a micrometer that badly.

Larry
 

SalemRule

Cast Iron
Joined
Jul 26, 2018
On my mike there is a series of unsightly pinpricks above the "Little Giant" logo.

Anyone care to take a guess at how they may have arrived ? I'm guessing a very botched attempt to place an owner's initials.
 

SPDTool

Aluminum
Joined
Feb 17, 2011
Location
Greenfield, Massachusetts
Hello,
I am associated with the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage in Greenfield MA and was tipped off to this thread by SalemRule. I have passed along the question to the historians and we will see what we can find out specifically about this micrometer. We have a collection of early Wells Tools catalogs.

We are in the process of rebuilding our website and will soon have much more information available online, however as one who has been researching and assembling much of it I can offer some insight. Greenfield was (and is) a small town and at that time (early 1900's) was a hub of activity in machine and cutting tool manufacturing. Many of the machinists had been employed at the same companies such as Wiley and Russell and left to begin their own own ventures (FE Wells). These companies most certainly "cross pollinated" and Wells Brothers could very well have used or modified parts made by Goodell Pratt, or made it themselves. We know not every company had their own foundry and would outsource to others or "job shops" in town such as BB Noyes.

Our actual museum located in Greenfield MA is (still !) open year-round by appointment and arrangements can be made to access our archives by contacting us at [email protected].

Thanks,

-Scott
 

Joe in NH

Diamond
Joined
Jul 28, 2007
Location
Stratham, Cow Hampshire
Given that Wells Brothers had what one might term a "truly adjustable" die holder setup (as opposed to their competitor down the river at Wiley & Russell who relied on deformation of the die to effect adjustment) it makes sense that Wells Brothers might make available a thread micrometer to measure out the adjustment.

Of course one could (and does) use a nut as one's trial standard. For standard sizes anyway. Nuts are a lot more consistent relying as they do on a totally non-adjustable tap.

One imagines there might be a correlation between the thimble of the micrometer (turns) and the adjustment screw on the LG die holder. Normal Micrometers are 40 turns (1 turn = 0.025) to the inch and a similar thread on the die block adjustment screw might making using the two tools together somehow "easier?"

But still, answer to a market demand. And not having a matching nut for a non-standard but damaged bolt "in situ" might make a Wells micrometer a useful tool.

Now having seen the micrometer - is there possibility for "standards?"

Joe in NH
 

rivett608

Diamond
Joined
Oct 25, 2002
Location
Kansas City, Mo.
“Standards”, on page before the micrometer they had theses, while not for the mic they are different than what we normally see.
 

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SalemRule

Cast Iron
Joined
Jul 26, 2018
rivett608 supplied me with this pic; I have enlarged it.

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Read the copy to understand it is very different, and far superior to any average Screw Thread Micrometer.

No kidding.
 








 
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