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List of the top Job Shop Machines

G&L4nahalf

Cast Iron
Joined
Jul 27, 2014
Location
Temporarily Florida
Greetings all

I thought it might be interesting to submit a list of what I think are the very top quality machines for job shop work. As this is the antique forum, I thought the list should be manual operated machinery before CNC. There is still plenty of work out there for manual machinery. Building a reputation is often hard. I made up this list especially for the younger men.

Following are my picks for the very top manual machines mostly from the 1950s, in the various categories. I have forgotten some of the names. You are invited to submit your choices with discussions.

George the Rogue journeyman

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Engine Lathes :
Mid-size work : 15" X 8 or 10' = Lodge & Shipley
Smaller : Hardinge tool room engine lathe
Larger : American Pace Maker

Turret Lathes :
Medium to Large : Warner & Swasey
Small : Hardinge Chucker

Vertical Ram Lathe : Niles

Vertical Turret Lathe : Bullard

Horizontal Milling Machines : Cincinnati

Vertical Milling Machines :
Mid-size work : Cincinnati compound head
Heavier : Kearney & Trecker
Light : Bridgeport

Horizontal Boring Mill : Giddings & Lewis

Horizontal Jig Borer-Miller : Devlieg

Vertical Jig Borers : Pratt & Whitney

Shapers : Cincinnati

Radial Arm Drills : Carleton

Turret Drills : Burgmaster - only those made in California

Surface Grinders : Blanchard

Centerless Grinders : Norton

Bandsaws : ??

Fork Trucks : ??

Boring Head : Davis soft steel, bought up by G & L and used for manufacturing their machines. Caution - these will ding easy, and need to be used with care, but I have seen none better.

Dividing Head : Kearney & Trecker

Micrometers : Brown & Sharpe

Gage Blocks : GMC Johanson

Optical Comparator : ??

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add anything ?
 

ewlsey

Diamond
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Location
Peoria, IL
Is there a need to polish the brass on the Titanic? You could call the list "my favorite machines", but the "top" machines for any job will be different for every situation.
 
Is there a need to polish the brass on the Titanic? You could call the list "my favorite machines", but the "top" machines for any job will be different for every situation.

Agree.

And if the OP (actually "_N_"ew P ) would do some searches I'm pretty sure this has been covered a number of times in the past. At least educate yourself to the site, drudge up a likely old one, and add to it rather than starting another pointless thread. :D

smt
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Location
Manchester, England
Any type of grinding machine made by " Churchill ", tool room grinding machines by " Jones & Shipman ". " Asquith " OD 1 radial arm drills. " Webster & Bennett " vertical boring machines. " Butler " planing, slotting, shaping machines.
Any centre lathe made by " DSG", " Craven", " Lang" . Any turret lathe made by " Herbert " or " Ward ".

I could go on but I won't. Regards Tyrone.
 

G&L4nahalf

Cast Iron
Joined
Jul 27, 2014
Location
Temporarily Florida
Agree.

And if the OP (actually "_N_"ew P ) would do some searches I'm pretty sure this has been covered a number of times in the past. At least educate yourself to the site, drudge up a likely old one, and add to it rather than starting another pointless thread. :D

smt

No.. I think you're the one needing education.. I have searched and read a few thousand posts..

As I wrote, I had the younger men in mind.. many of them will have a different opinion than your pointless comment..
 

ewlsey

Diamond
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Location
Peoria, IL
No.. I think you're the one needing education.. I have searched and read a few thousand posts..

As I wrote, I had the younger men in mind.. many of them will have a different opinion than your pointless comment..

I'm a young guy. I don't have any of those machines in my shop. I manage to get by.

The oldest machine in my shop is a Victoria gear head drill press. It works great. It's not the best.
 

Limy Sami

Diamond
Joined
Jan 7, 2007
Location
Norfolk, UK
Any type of grinding machine made by " Churchill ", tool room grinding machines by " Jones & Shipman ". " Asquith " OD 1 radial arm drills. " Webster & Bennett " vertical boring machines. " Butler " planing, slotting, shaping machines.
Any centre lathe made by " DSG", " Craven", " Lang" . Any turret lathe made by " Herbert " or " Ward ".

I could go on but I won't. Regards Tyrone.

+ Holbrook centre lathes, Huron mills and Herbert drills, Tyrone?

For sheer all round versatility within it's capacity 10'' Boxford lathe (SB clone)
 

alskdjfhg

Diamond
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Location
Houston TX
I'm a young guy. I don't have any of those machines in my shop. I manage to get by.

The oldest machine in my shop is a Victoria gear head drill press. It works great. It's not the best.

I can guarantee that I'm younger than you and my youngest machine is probably older than your drill.

Remember, one man's trash is another's treasure. I would love to have any of those machine listed, and most would be quite a technological step up from the machines I've got (one in particular is a real boat anchor.....).

I'm not a machinist, and I don't have a shop, but I'm slowly moving that way.

Not everything is CNC..... See that nasty evil obsolete shaper in the vid? :D
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BckZ4i1BzF0
 

Mebfab

Diamond
Joined
Jun 7, 2003
Location
Mebane North Carolina USA
You forgot Lucas

Side note. Greatest machine in the world in 1958 is now old and worn unless stuck in the back and forgotten about (very unlikely) or rebuilt (not much more likely). And the new crop of "machinists" are trained in code. Not dials. They would have as much ability to run these productively and safely as I would banging out an interstellar space ship in the back yard.
 

nsaqam

Cast Iron
Joined
May 20, 2013
Location
Hermantown MN
I like this thread fine without the pointless comments from the peanut gallery. It is an interesting exercise and the OP has given me some machines I'll need to research. The antique forum isn't about competing with modern stuff, they'll lose in that context. To me it's about a celebration of our past achievements in this field and exploring the foundation upon which our present day machines are built.
The Op asked for a list of the best machines prior to the soulless computer driven stuff of today. You won't see anyone decorating their upscale houses with parts from a CNC VMC like you see people (idiots?) doing with the classy and finely crafted stuff of yesteryear.

For my small lathe I'd choose a Rivett 1030 or a Smart & Brown 1024
Medium vertical mill would be a long table powerfeed Gorton 9J.
Small VM, Gorton 8.5D Universal head with powerfeeds.
Smallish T&CG, B&S #13 Universal and Tool Grinder. Will do double duty as a smallish cylindrical grinder as well.
Small Horizontal, Nichols 8SA with toolroom table and Bellows feed.
Small SG, B&S 618 with OTW dresser or J&S 540.
Big SG, Thompson
Dial test indicators, Alina.
Small jig borer, SIP 1-H
Bigger jig borer, SIP 5-E
Jig grinder, Moore 3
Bigger cylindrical grinder, Cincinnati
Small gear hobber, Mikron 79
Bigger gear hobber, Mikron 102
Dividing head, Leitz Wetzlar Master optical dividing head
Large rotary table, SIP Rotoptic 6 motor driven universal.
Smaller RT, SIP P1-4 universal.

Thanks for an interesting topic.
 

Walter A

Titanium
Joined
Jul 7, 2007
Location
Hampton, Virginia
Yeah. That's why I said it's ridiculous to call something the "top" if it's obsolete. It's just your favorite.

In some of the cases it is but, in some it is not ridiculous. There are more than a few older manual machine tools that have not been equaled by "modern" machine tool manufacturers. However, since finding any of these machines in pristine condition is mostly a dream, this is only a very nice exercise in favorites.

Even in the 1960s when I was an apprentice in a top machine shop there were the "old" guys who argued about wither American or Lodge & Shipley made the "best" lathes. That goes the same for K&T vs. Cincinnati. It mattered not to me cause I had to make parts on the old "no name lathe" conversion with a 4 speed Ford Truck transmission for a gear box.

Nice list to think reminisce about though.

Walter
 

Dupa3872

Stainless
Joined
May 1, 2007
Location
Boston Hyde park Ma.
Hardinge DSM-59 with all the gadgets. I bought a brand new one in 1986 for $6,500.00 and wish I still had that machine. Over head cut off manual angle turning slide, Turret box tools, knurling tools, tapping head and a bar feed. You name it I had it on that machine. God I made a ton of money with that machine. You could get very creative and knock out parts like nothing. This machine alone launched a Job shop doing millions of $ by 2000. Within a year I had another and two TR lathes all brand new. Next step was the CHNC chucker. I was in the basement of my parents home for the first year. All these machines were financed by Hardinge with a hand shake at the picnic table in the back yard. Next day the paperwork would show up Fed-X and I would sign it and send it back. Tooling would start showing up UPS within a week and the machine would be on the floor so quickly it made my head spin. I remember the first one showing up with no notice and no way to get it off the truck. I was 25 years old and had the world by the balls. Yes by the balls, I'm still working seven days a week I think it has me by the balls :) I'm a lucky guy.

Hardinge launched a lot of Job shops like this. I wish they still had the market they once had and I could afford to put a nice Hardinge CNC lathe on my floor. God that would be nice, I see a used CHNC in my future loved those machines.

Ron
 

G&L4nahalf

Cast Iron
Joined
Jul 27, 2014
Location
Temporarily Florida
"All these machines were financed by Hardinge with a hand shake at the picnic table in the back yard."

This was also the method of Warner and Swasy up to 1970s? and then taken up by the Japanese CNC makers :)
 

stevewatr

Stainless
Joined
Aug 9, 2013
Location
Worcester County, Massachusetts
At the risk of getting flamed, I'll give my unqualified opinion.

For a lathe, I'd like to see a hendey make the candidates list . A tool and gauge maker's model, or a big 12 speed gear head.

For mills I'd add wells index and van Norman to the list.

Steve
 








 
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