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Lewis Machine Tool: New Yahoo Group

Art Volz

Jan 19, 2002
Houston, Texas
Hi Don,et al--

I've started a new Yahoo Groups: http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/Lewis_Machine_Tool . The primary purpose is for owners and wanna be owners of Lewis Machine Tools, both kits and completed kits although machines by Minton, W.F. & John Barnes, Pootatuck, and others are fair game for discussion as well.

Lewis Machine Tool Co. started off making machine tool kits in San Francisco in 1935 and soon moved their operation to Los Angeles. The last advertisement that I saw--I believe it was in "Mechanix Illustrated" magazine--was about 1957. Lewis marketed these kits as raw castings or partially finished (they did the hard stuff) machines and sold them to both home hobbyests and school shops. This was a less expensive way
for a school to gain additional machine tools and let the students learn by making them as well. The 7-inch wide Lewis shaper vise that I have appears to have been made by a student as his take-home-and-keep project.

Lewis made a 10-inch shaper, a small 23-inch high benchtop horizontal milling machine, a power hacksaw, a bench and floor drill press, both a 24-inch and a 16-inch bandsaw, a wood shaper, an 8-inch tilting table circular saw, a 6-inch jointer, a centrifugal pump, a steam and a gasoline model size engine, an 11-inch swing x 25-inches between centers wood lathe, and various indexers, vises, arbors, and other accessories.

Minton, also from the West Coast, made two kits:
a small horizontal milling machine much like the Lewis and a shaper that I have never seen.

None of the Lewis tools are marked with an ID tag or cast-in letters so to identify a Lewis requires that one "know" what you're looking at. The same is true of the Minton shaper.

Pootatuck/Jones made a myriad of small machine tools to include a 6-inch shaper: Peter V. (Sudbury) is completing his Pootatuck which is the only such shaper I have ever seen. They also made kits for several small horizontal bench mills and small lathes. W.F. and John Barnes of Rockford, IL, made a zillion different tools: I have a complete 4-1/2 Velociped lathe
c. 1890 and Mario V. of St. Louis has a beautiful friction disk drive floor drill press that originally was set up for over head belt drive.

Those are just a few of the machines we'll be discussing...and lusting and Questing for. I have both a Lewis shaper and a Lewis horizontal mill, the later built by the legendary writer Walter Burton and illustrated in a two part article in the April and May 1958 issues of "Popular Science" magazine. There is also a two page illustrated article about the Minton milling machine in a back issue of "Home Shop Machinist" magazine.

And then there are all of the others....

Join us.

Art (Houston)


Sep 17, 2012
Hello, The last post on this topic was July of 2005. Is anyone still monitoring this? I have some questions about a mill

mister honey

Feb 2, 2005
eastern blowville heights, ohio
Yahoo Groups went belly up a couple of years ago, now see:


Jan 25, 2005
Victoria, Texas, USA
Art Volz passed away somewhere around 2008. R.I.P.
He had put together a set of drawings for the shaper back then. Don't know if anyone carried the Yahoo group over to Groups.IO or not. Do a search over there and see if anyone set up a Lewis Machine Tool group over there.