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Johansson & his gauge blocks *big slow pics*

WoodburnBob

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 14, 2004
Location
PDX (Oregon)
I'm reading a biography of CE Johansson and his gauge blocks:

Torsten K.W. Althin. C.E. Johansson 1864-1943: The Master of Measurement. Stockholm,1948

It's pretty astonishing when he did this and that when he began he and his wife were doing this in their kitchen by using a converted sewing machine.

Granted he prepared the gauges by machines at the rifle factory and hardened the steel there before bringing home the rough forms. But, I'm very perplexed how he and his wife might have managed to get flat and parallel surfaces of such incredible accuracy and precision. Evidently he kept the process secret.

Anyone know how it was done?


jo1.jpg

jo2.jpg

jo3.jpg

jo4.jpg
 

Dimitri

Titanium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Location
Southern Ontario
I heard that these blocks would "weld" together from a old book I have from about 15 years before I was born (early 70's) because of the surface finish. :eek:

Dimitri
 

Toms Wheels

Titanium
Joined
Dec 30, 2005
Location
Jersey Shore
I recall about 4 years ago the grandson, great grandson whoever. Had the first Johansson set of blocks on Ebay with a reserve of 50K. Attached in the listing was the history of the blocks and a number of papers that went with them. Henry Ford purchased the first production set. FWIW

my wheels don't slow me down
 

toolmkr

Hot Rolled
Joined
Apr 25, 2004
Location
Burlington, NC, USA
Maybe dumb sounding, but;
Isn't this where the term "Jo Blocks" came from?
B&S were called "Jo-Blocks"
Starret were called webber.
But everyone called gage blocks "Jo-Blocks".
 

gar

Stainless
Joined
Feb 17, 2005
Location
Ann Arbor, Michigan USA
060616-1931 EST USA

WoodburnBob:

In 1917 Johansson started manufacture of gage blocks in the United States. The economy was not good in the early 1920s so Johansson contacted Henry Ford in 1923 and started work for him later that year. Prior to joining Ford the blocks were labeled CEJ. At some point the labeling was changed to Ford instead of CEJ.

Where these frist Ford block were made I do not know. The Ford Engineering Labs were not completed until 1925. It should be noted this building was cooled by expanding steam from the adjacent power plant. A picture of the front of the lab is shown at
http://www.hfha.org/homestour02.htm
http://www.hfha.org/

At some time after the lab was completed the final gage block operations were performed in a temperature controlled room in the basement of the Ford Engineering Labs in Dearborn Michigan.

When Johansson came to the United States he brought along a number of his employees from Sweden.

One of these men was Charlie Anderson. When my dad came to Dearborn in 1926 he found a room to rent at the Anderson home. From then on they were life long friends, and I can remember visiting the Andersons a number of times.

One time in the mid 1940s, probably about 1945, Charlie Anderson invited me to see his work space and how he did the final lapping of a gage block. I saw the comparator he used for checking the blocks. It was totally mechanical and could probably display increments less than 10/1,000,000". I was amazed that such resolution was possible with a mechanical device. For some reason my memory seems to tell me that there was some spiral mechanism that provided the mechanical amplification. Whether a microscope was needed to view the pointer I do not remember.

The point of this background is that to make very accurate blocks one had to have temperature control and the appropriate measurement equipment as well as having techniques to make parallel flat surfaces. To adjust parallelism I believe this was accomplished by the point of pressure while lapping. Measuring equipment was just as important as the other operations. To rebuild worn blocks these would be chrome plated and re-lapped.

.
 

WoodburnBob

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 14, 2004
Location
PDX (Oregon)
Gar, it's all incredibly interesting to me. The maiden name of CEJ's wife was Fredrika Margareta (Greta) Andersson. By 1900 they had 3 workers. One was Abraham Andersson -- perhaps kin to his wife and your Charlie. CEJ was apparently quite secretive about the whole process and ensured no worker knew more than his own task. I suspect having family involved may have created a measure of additional security.

Just for time frame, by 1899 CEJ was demonstrating and selling gauge sets in Europe. Patent applications in various countries began around that time as well.

You might take a second look at the third picture above. Perhaps it's an early version of what you are remembering. It is a fixed micrometer with a shopmade huge index ring. The string and weight standardize the force on the screw.

I'm still very curious about how the flat surfaces might have been done...apart from the measurement accuracy and parallelism...and aside from issues of thermal expansion.

Gar, not to seem pushy, but perhaps you might be able to find a hypnotist in your neighborhood who might help grub out a little more from your memory on this topic?
 

Peddler

Hot Rolled
Joined
May 14, 2006
Location
NC
That mic on the third picture is shown on page O-5 in the latest B&S catalog as being built by Brown & Sharpe in the early 19th. century by C.E. Johansson.
 

gar

Stainless
Joined
Feb 17, 2005
Location
Ann Arbor, Michigan USA
060617-0656 EST USA

WoodburnBob:

The gage in my recollection was a horizontal anvil, maybe grooved, so that the gage block could be moved sideways with ease. There was maybe a ball tip contact on the gage mechanism that contacted the "gage block" being tested.

Sometime I will check an old city directory for the spelling of Anderson's last name.

The family linkage is interesting and I was not aware of that connection.


.
 

Sea Farmer

Diamond
Joined
Mar 25, 2006
Location
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Another source of information is the small book "Accurate Tool Work" by C.L. Goodrich and F.A. Stanley, originally copyright 1908 by Hill Publishing, publishers of American Machinist Magazine. Now available as a Lindsay Publications paperback reprint, which is what I have.

Chapters 18 and 19, titled respectively "A new Swedish Combination Gaging System,""Setting, laying out and testing work with the swedish gages" are apparently articles from American Machinist.

The first article states the gages were manufactured by CE Johansson, Eskilstuna, Sweden and sent to American Machinist for inspection by the Gronkvist Drill Chuck Company.
 

Dimitri

Titanium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Location
Southern Ontario
A Gauge block is a peice of metal with high accuracy that is used to set up sine-bars, check measuring equipment etc as far as I know


They sticked together because of the extremely flat surface finish of the blocks. They would in a sense "weld" together from what I've read about these blocks.

I wonder if its possible to try and reproduce these. :confused:

Dimitri
 

JRouche

Stainless
Joined
Aug 15, 2004
Location
So. Cal.
To add.

Gauge blocks are precision references used to impart their particular "size" to ones workshop.

They are a means of conveying a calibration labs measuring instruments numbers and final dimensions to your shop.

A useful set of blocks should be calibrated to be of any meaningful value. :D

Other than that they very precise chunks of metal used to prop up other chunks of metal or used to make a sort of "measuring stick" to check other measuring devices :D :D

The wringing of very flat and smooth surfaces creates a "bond" which can be very strong. I imagine it can be attributed to capillary action.

But I really dont know what the heck any of this is so I suggest you read the above PDF file regarding gauge blocks :D

Here is a nice paper also...JRouche
http://claymore.engineer.gvsu.edu/eod/manufact/manufact-116.html
 

Peter S

Diamond
Joined
May 6, 2002
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
WoodburnBob, thanks for the book info and photos. It sounds like another one I need to read...


Does anyone know if this is the best book about C. E. Johannson, or if there are any others?
 

WoodburnBob

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 14, 2004
Location
PDX (Oregon)
Glad to still see a little action on this topic. I still hold out some hope that hints will still trickle in regarding early methods and procedures on how these were actually made.

I presume methods and procedures of manufacture have evolved fantastically in the past 100 years. I'm mostly curious how Mr. & Mrs CEJ did this on their sewing machine!

The JRouche link gives some clue to modern manufacturing. Thanks.

About adhesion forces: This was a perplexing mystery at the turn of the century, particularly after it was shown the forces well exceeded atmospheric forces (e.g. using water to seal two pieces of glass together).

I don't know that the forces were ever explained. But have read about ideas that Van der Waal (intermolecular) forces were at play.

Van der Waal force

I've also read that two clean surfaces must be flat within 1µ = 1 micron = 0.00003937 inch in order to "wring" them together.
 

gar

Stainless
Joined
Feb 17, 2005
Location
Ann Arbor, Michigan USA
060619-1306 EST USA

WoodburnBob:

Do an online catalog search for -- johansson -- at the Benson Ford Research Center use
http://www.hfmgv.org
and at the top right is the tab for Benson Ford. Pick this, then pick SEARCH Library & Archives Catalog. Benson Ford was the second son of Edsel Ford and his estate donated the funds for the permanent storage of the Ford Archives.

Some time I will stop in and see if there are any photographs.

.
 








 
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