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Large Horizontal Borer

billmac

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Joined
Oct 17, 2004
Location
Lancashire, UK
This is a scan of a photo (one of many) that our museum has acquired. The photos are all related to Hick Hargreaves, a well known Bolton company that I have mentioned in other threads. This caught my eye because it is a high quality photograph of a job set up for facing on a fairly large horizontal borer, I think Richards based on what I can see of the machine name. The Broadheath location certainly fits with this.

The job is possibly a condenser housing or part of it, but I will need to ask one of our voluteers who worked at Hick Hargreaves - they will certainly know for sure.

I particularly like the various methods used to hold down the work on the table. The chain is obvious, but I also see various bracing stays that have been used to keep it rigid.Horizontal Borer_000007.jpg
 

JST

Diamond
Joined
Jun 16, 2001
Location
St Louis
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I particularly like the various methods used to hold down the work on the table. The chain is obvious, but I also see various bracing stays that have been used to keep it rigid.

Rigid, and ROUND....with those internal braces. It would probably sag due to gravity, depending on tolerances that could be important..
 

gbent

Diamond
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Location
Kansas
Interesting it is braced to the floor.

The foreground has wood planks, perhaps covering a pit. Any idea why a pit would be that close to a large machine tool? An even larger machine tool?
 

James H Clark

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May 11, 2011
Location
southern in.
Looks to be a facing operation. If so, that means that the tool arm if feeding out. It could be used to bore the inside of the joint if needed. Very interesting, as Artie would say. Thanks to BillMac for bringing it to us.

JH
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
Manchester, England
Definitely a “ Richards “ PRT type machine. Facing slide only, no travelling spindle. Although “ Richards “ were in Broadheath, “ Kearns “ were also based there.
I’d say around the 1940’s.

Regards Tyrone.
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
Manchester, England
Interesting it is braced to the floor.

The foreground has wood planks, perhaps covering a pit. Any idea why a pit would be that close to a large machine tool? An even larger machine tool?

Some places I worked at had pits like that for building extra tall machines. They were usually covered over with timbers when not in use. Another purpose for timber lined pits was so the slingers/riggers could turn large components over with the overhead crane without damaging them.

Regards Tyrone.
 

billmac

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Joined
Oct 17, 2004
Location
Lancashire, UK
1940s feels about right. Later machines from the 60s onwards would have been Kearns Richards I think.

Hick Hargreaves were famous for building very large mill engines and some marine engines. Typically these engines would be built (in the factory) with the bottom half of the flywheel running into a pit. That was the only really practical way of handling the height of engines like that, and of course they would be installed that way in their final mill location. It was also common practice to finish the flywheel OD and rope grooves with the engine running. A tool post would be fitted to the end of the pit and finishing cuts taken.

Hick Hargreaves probably had a number of such pits left over from their mill engine building days.

Visitors to our museum are often suprised at the height of the top of the big flywheels above the floor. I remind them that there is at least that depth of pit under the floor to accomodate the other half. We built these pits and associated foundations when we had to move our museum. Many months of work and tons of concrete.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
Manchester, England
Thanks for that, Tyrone. Early 40's? It just "feels" older to me - no proof, of course.

You’ve got to bear in mind that machines were designed and then built over a period of years before the latest re-vamp. Also once installed specialist machines like that one were run for decades. That photo could be from say 1930 to 1950 quite easily.

“ Kearns “ were combined with “ Richards “ in the late 1960’s. The “ Richards “ factory was by far the best site of the two but with the infinite wisdom that accountants possess they moved “ Richards “ into the “ Kearns “ factory !

Regards Tyrone.
 

billmac

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Joined
Oct 17, 2004
Location
Lancashire, UK
Very good question. The horizontal borers that I am familiar with are built with the assumption that the operator can reach the controls near the spindle. With this size of machine I guess that some controls such as starting and stopping the spindle can be operated from ground level. The facing head is (I think) automatic but there are still some controls that will not be duplicated. Clamps come to mind.

If this is the case the job must have been 'interesting' to set up initially. Perhaps explains the smile on the man's face.
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
Manchester, England
Very good question. The horizontal borers that I am familiar with are built with the assumption that the operator can reach the controls near the spindle. With this size of machine I guess that some controls such as starting and stopping the spindle can be operated from ground level. The facing head is (I think) automatic but there are still some controls that will not be duplicated. Clamps come to mind.

If this is the case the job must have been 'interesting' to set up initially. Perhaps explains the smile on the man's face.

With most machines that style the operator had a big set of wooden steps, usually made by the pattern shop of the company. Most of the relevant controls are on the spindle frame itself, so you need a head for heights.

As an aside the guy in the photo wasn’t necessarily the operator. It was normal practice to put the smallest guy in the shop on that type of photos just to make the job look bigger. Honestly.

Regards Tyrone.
 

billmac

Stainless
Joined
Oct 17, 2004
Location
Lancashire, UK
I asked our Hick Hargreaves veteran about the photo today. He confirms that the part being faced was a condenser body and he thinks it was going to Brigg power station. He was one of the team that used to install all the large systems like condensers on site and has a really detailed knowledge of them.

I have another largish machine tool photo from Hick Hargreaves coming up - I am just trying to research it a bit but will post it in a new thread soon.
 








 
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