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The 1935 Craftsman/Walker-Turner 15 Inch Drill Press Mystery

Ted D

Plastic
Joined
May 30, 2022
The 1935 Craftsman/Walker-Turner 15 Inch Drill Press Mystery
Part 1

A number of years ago I bought an old cast-iron 15 inch Craftsman drill press at an auction. It needed some repair and maybe paint, but all the parts were there and I thought it would make a useful addition to my workshop. When I got it home, I cleaned it up a little and looked for a tag with a model or serial number. To my surprise, I found that there wasn’t any nor was there any indication that there had been one at some time but had been removed. I thought this a little odd because I own a number of old cast-iron Craftsman tools and ALL of them had some type of ID number on them somewhere. So I hit the internet, and for the first couple of years, I found exactly nothing on this machine, no pictures, no manuals, no parts diagrams … nothing at all.

After about 3 years of looking, I finally found a photo of another Craftsman 15 inch drill press like mine on an internet forum. The problem was the owner didn’t know anything about his machine either except it had NO identification tags on it.

It’s now 5 or 6 years later and I have kept up my search. To date I have found photos of 9 of these d.p.’s, and have spoken with a reliable source who tells me that he had 3 of them in very bad shape that he broke up for parts. If you count mine, that makes a total of 12 of them.

Interestingly, of the ones I have photos of, six are 15 inch and three are 10 inch. There is a possibility that one of the 10 models is a 13 inch drill press. For more information please see photo number 5 below. Of the six 15 inch drill presses, two are floor models.

Over the years I have found a lot of speculation and guesses but little fact about these machines.

Most people seem to agree that these d.p.’s were built by Walker-Turner in the 1934-35 time-frame. These same people also say that Craftsman stopped dealing with Walker-Turner at the end of 1935 and began selling the Craftsman/Atlas drill presses in 1936.

Please note: For those who may not be aware, Sears never built any of their tools; they always put the Craftsman name on tools built by somebody else and sold them as their own.

I am not an expert or historian on drill presses. I am only reporting what I can see and trying very hard not to speculate. If you have information, manuals, parts diagrams, or anything else to add, or to correct me on, please share what you have.

I am only certain of two things: The 10 inch version of this drill press only appeared in the 1935 Craftsman power tool catalogue, and I have never seen a reference to the 15 inch model in any catalogue.

So where did the 1935 Craftsman/Walker-Turner 15 inch (and maybe a 13 inch) drill press come from?​



IDENTIFYING FEATURES.

1 Six features of the 1935 CW-T DP.JPG

The photo above shows what could be regarded as the identifying features of the 1935 Craftsman/Walker-Turner drill press (C/W-T d.p.’s). Number 1 shows the largest sheave of the 4 tier pulley facing up and at the top of its shaft (i.e., the “inverted pulley”). Number 2 is the smooth-sided upright bowl-shaped spindle pulley guard. Number 3 is the flange-shaped feature the bowl sits on. The bowl and flange are NOT removable from the head casting. Number 4 is the Craftsman logo on both sides of the head more-or-less centered top and bottom, left and right. Please note that this logo can also be located diagonally on some of these d.p.’s. Number 5 is the upward arch from rear to front of the head casting. Number 6 is the V-belt adjustment lock hand-nut.

Additionally, this drill press has NO model number or serial number tag on it anywhere. Walker-Turner did not begin putting ID tags on their machines until 1939. After that date W-T machines had the tags installed on their base, in front of the column.

All of these features can be found on each of the 10 inch and 15 inch versions of the nine 1935 C/W-T drill presses that I have found photos of and listed below.​

2 Comparison.jpg
In the photos above note the smooth-sided bowl shaped spindle guard and the flange feature (in yellow circle) of the 1935 Craftsman/Walker-Taylor d.p. on the left. Compare that with the somewhat flat sided bowl and the lack of a flange (yellow circles) of the 1934-35 Walker-Turner D921 on the right. As an aside, note the different feed levers.​

ADDITIONAL FEATURES:

  • These 1935 Craftsman/Walker-Turner machines can be found in 2 sizes, 10 and 15 inch. I have seen photos of the 10 inch size only as bench models, but the 15 inch can be found as either bench or floor models.
  • There is an oval SKF Bearings decal on the front of the drill head of the original machines I have seen photos of.
  • These machines all seem to have been fitted originally with 2 handled feed levers.
  • There is only one fastener to secure v-belt tension instead of 2. The fastener is a 4-handled knob and not a bolt or grub screw. It’s located on the right side (facing) on 10 inch models and on the left side (facing) on the 15 inch models.
  • From the photos of original, untouched machines I’ve seen, I believe these machines came painted in either red or blue. The 2 red ones I found are 15 inch floor models.


THE INVERTED PULLEY

Grey iron castings are just shapes which can be easily changed; it’s the Inverted Pulley that helps make the 1935 Craftsman/Walker-Turner drill press the odd duck that it is. So what is it?​

3 C-W-T and W-t 921 joined.jpg

Quickly stated, it’s an assembly comprised of a shaft, a couple of bearings, a locking collar, a four tier-step pulley with its largest sheave facing up (as seen in the photo above) and a woodruff key as seen in the photo below to guide and drive the spindle.​

4 woodruff key photo.jpg

This assembly slides into the spindle pulley guard portion of the head casting from the back and is pushed upward into a machined recess located at the top of the pulley guard where it is held into place with a couple of threaded fasteners and locking nuts.

The photos above show spindle pulley, bearing and shaft assemblies. On the left is an assembly from a 1935 Craftsman/Walker-Turner drill press. Compare this with the photo seen on the right of the same assembly from a 1934-35 Walker-Turner D921 d.p. Although the dimensions and part numbers are unknown, obviously, they are very similar. This assembly is similar to those found in other drill presses first seen in the 1934 Walker-Turner and WT Grant Driver Line Power Tools catalogues.

Although I haven’t taken one apart yet, I’m told to make these things all the more interesting, the bearings are of an odd size and their construction is unusual which makes finding them difficult. Also, it’s said after the assembly has been in the head for about 87 years, removing it is nearly impossible. This is probably the reason very few drill presses use this method.

It should be noted that the photo on the left in this series is of a spindle pulley, bearing and shaft assembly from a 1935 Craftsman/Walker-Turner drill press listed on Ebay. This photo is used with permission of oldamericantools. It is from one of their Ebay sales. Oldamericantools has many parts from the 1935 Craftsman/Walker-Turner drill press listed on Ebay.​
 

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Ted D

Plastic
Joined
May 30, 2022
PART 2
CATALOGUES


As I have mentioned, I have never been able to find any owner manuals, parts diagrams or even lube charts for this series of Craftsman/W-T drill press. If you have anything at all, please share what you have.

In the time I’ve been researching these old Craftsman d.p.’s, I’ve been told more than once that “advertising copy is not a good source as reference material”. That is certainly the case for the 1935 Craftsman/Walker-Turner 15 inch machines.

The unfortunate truth is, unless somebody unearths documents not seen before or that I have been unable to find, the Craftsman and Walker-Turner power tool catalogues are the only record of these drill presses we have. Sears and Roebuck general merchandise catalogues from 1933 to 1936 do not have information on power tools.

I was born in 1950 when catalogues and little catalogue stores were still a very big part of Sears marketing and sales. Imagine my shock when I learned that catalogues going back to the mid-1930’s when catalogue sales were all the more important, were inaccurate, incorrect … and even completely left out important models of products that Sears wanted to sell.

A number of people have used the Craftsman ad from 1935 (seen below) to date and identify the C/W-T d.p. we are discussing. This ad is actually page 23 from the 1935 Craftsman Power Tools Catalogue. The drill presses are similar, but I have found 4 areas where the ad copy falls somewhat short.​

5 CraftsmanAllPurpose35 - Circle Copy.JPG

The machine seen in the ad copy above lacks the “flange feature” under the bowl-pulley shield; the "long C" Craftsman logo is incorrect and located at the top of the head casting rather than centered; and although the shape of the base table is roughly correct, I’ve not seen one with stiffening gussets. Further, the text of the ad (red circle) discusses a 10 inch machine which was offered only as a bench model. No mention is made of other sizes. The catalogue number is 99PM304 for the 10 inch without motor and 99PM305 for the 10 inch with a motor.

As for advertising copy being incorrect, ALL of the 10 inch models I have found photos of have diagonal Craftsman logos and have their V-belt adjustment lock hand-nut located on the right (facing). This is completely different from what is seen in the ad. That being said, ALL of the 15 inch d.p’s found have horizontal logos and their V-belt adjustment lock hand-nut is on the left, EXACTLY as shown in the ad for the 10 inch drill press.

Apart from the differences listed above, the drill press in the ad has everything else correct and in the same place as the 10 inch and 15 inch drill presses shown in the photos below. What’s more, apart from the “flange” feature, the general shape of the head casting is spot-on.

The important thing to remember is that it does have that “inverted pulley” behind that bowl-shaped spindle pulley guard linking it with the Walker-Turner drill presses.

Over the years I have located and downloaded the 1933 Craftsman and Companion catalogue, the 1934 Craftsman catalogue, the 1935 Craftsman catalogue and the 1936 Craftsman and Companion catalogue from the archives of the Vintage Machine and checked. This 10 inch machine only appears in the 1935 Craftsman Power tools catalogue.

For what it’s worth, Craftsman did offer a 15 inch d.p. in the very same 1935 catalogue. It is described on page 24 and 25. The image below is page 25 from that catalogue.​

6 1935 wrong drill press.jpg

The catalogue numbers of this drill press are 99PM473 (no motor) and 99PM499 (with motor) for the bench model and 99Pm462 (no motor) and 99PM461(with motor) for the floor model.

As can be seen, there are vast differences between the 15 inch drill press on page 25 and the 10 inch machine found on page 23. The spindle cover is an upside down bowl shape and it is removable from the rest of the head, the Craftsman logo on the side appears to be a decal and is of the “long C” style. There are many other dissimilarities as well, the most important being the spindle pulley has its largest sheave face down; it has no “inverted pulley” as seen on the C/WT 10 inch found in the 1935 Craftsman catalogue, and found in all of the 10 inch and 15 inch drill presses seen below.​
 
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Ted D

Plastic
Joined
May 30, 2022
PART 3
THE WALKER-TURNER CONNECTION


So how was Walker-Turner involved in all of this? From the Vintage Machines website:

"The beginnings of Walker-Turner are murky, but the business was founded sometime between 1927 and 1929 by Ernest T. Walker and William Brewer Turner. They were located in Jersey City until 1931 when they relocated to Plainfield. In 1948 the company was purchased by machine tool maker Kearney & Trecker, and they operated as the Walker-Turner Division of Kearney & Trecker. The division was purchased by Rockwell Manufacturing Co. in 1956. The Walker-Turner name lived into the early 1960s as the Walker-Turner Division, Rockwell Manufacturing Co.

In their earlier years, Walker-Turner made the "Driver Line", a collection of inexpensive machines sold through department stores. In later years they also made larger and sturdier light-industrial machines."1

As mentioned previously, Craftsman never built any of the products they sold. They outlined what they wanted and engaged outside vendors, such as Walker-Turner or Atlas, to build product for them. I’ve found that Sears and Craftsman assigned a “Source Product Code” number to the manufacturers of products sold by Sears. For many products, the first three numbers of the Model Number (usually followed by a decimal point and additional numbers) indicate the actual manufacturer of the product. Walker-Turner’s SPC number is 102.2 Unfortunately, Walker-Turner didn’t begin putting serial numbers on their equipment until 1939.

Unlike Craftsman/Sear & Roebuck we do have an important supporting document from Walker-Turner. On July 26, 1933 William Brewer Turner applied for a patent, “Design for a Head Casting for a Drill Press”. This patent was granted as US Patent D91,094, Nov 21, 1933. The patent documents are very sparse: barely two paragraphs of text and some signatures on one page and another page having 3 drawings with no dimensions or explanation of anything what-so-ever. And therein lays the genius of this patent filing. Once Brewer had this patent, the dimensions of the described drill press head could be literally anything. The casting could be stretched or altered to build a 10 inch d.p., a 13 inch d.p., a 15 inch d.p., a 20 inch d.p., or whatever size was desired. The only change that needed to be made was to the distance between the center of the drill chuck and the d.p.’s column. It’s obvious that the design was intended to be fitted with an inverted (largest sheave facing up) pulley but does not indicate how many tiers or steps such a pulley would have. At the top of the rough right-side-up-bowl shape of the spindle pulley guard is a disc feature. It’s easy to see this feature as a flange which would accept a bearing. If it was to be a single bearing or a double bearing is not indicated in the patent drawing. Also included in the drawings are casting features for the quill lock, the feed lever, the depth gauge, and motor mount bosses having a fixture for the V-belt adjustment lock hand-nut. It cannot be an accident that all of the above described features appear on not only the Walker-Turner D520, D750, and D920 of 1934 and 1935 but also the 1935 Craftsman/Walker-Turner 10 inch and 15 inch drill presses as well.​

7. W-T US Patent D91,094.jpg

For more information we have to go back to the catalogues. The 1933 Walker-Turner Driver Line catalogue lists a “New Driver”, the 13 inch bench model SD-80 on pages 14-15. On pages 26 to 28 the “Standard Driver” DP100 11 inch (bench only) can be seen. These were gone by the next year and in the 1934 Walker-Turner Driver Line Power Tools catalogue the D520 (11 inch, bench), the D705 (13 inch, bench) and the D920 (15 inch, bench and floor) drill presses can be found. Although the shape of their cast iron heads maybe a bit different, all of these drill presses have control devices located in the same place as seen on the November 13, 1933 patent as well as the C/M-T 10 inch drill press listed in Craftsman’s 1935 catalogue. Please note that these Walker-Turner drill presses only appeared in the 1934 and 1935 W-T catalogues and by 1936 they were gone.

Most importantly is that the 1934/35 W-T drill presses have the “inverted pulley” feature a year before it was used in the Craftsman tools.​

8. W-T series 500.jpg

9. D705.jpg

10 W-T D920.jpg

The image above is page 25 from the 1934 Walker Turner catalogue. It shows the W-T D920 (15 inch bench), D921 (15 inch floor) and D922 (15 inch bench with special accessories) drill presses. You can see the differences (spindle guard shape, no flange, no rise in the casting, etc.) between the Craftsman W-T and the W-T driver series, but again, this machine does show many similarities to the C/W-T drill press, including the distinctive inverted front spindle pulley.​

11  1935 W-T D921 15inch Craftsman 10.jpg

To illustrate the similarities of the 1935 Craftsman/Walker-Turner and 1934-1935 Walker-Turner drill press, pictures of the Craftsman and the Walker-Turner D921 have been joined side-by-side and appear above. Absent the few differences in the head casting discussed above, these machines are virtually identical. Please note that the C/W-T on the left is a 10 inch model, and the Walker-Turner D921 on the right is a 15 inch model. A 10 inch Craftsman d.p. was selected purposely for this comparison to ask this question: How easy would it have been for Walker Turner to simply increase the size of the Craftsman 10 inch casting to create a Craftsman/Walker-Turner 15 inch model?​

12  Base comparison.jpg
In the photos above, the base table on the left is from a 15 inch Craftsman/Walker-Turner drill press and a 15 inch Walker-Turner D921 drill press base table is found on the right. This time a 15 inch Craftsman drill press base table was selected to show that it is identical to the base table of the Walker Turner. Note that the columns in each are 2 ½ inch in diameter.​
 
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Ted D

Plastic
Joined
May 30, 2022
PART 4
AN INTERVIEW


During the research for this paper, Jeff Hofmann at Walker Turner Serviced Machinery, LLC, was contacted and through email was asked a series of questions which he graciously answered.

Walker Turner Serviced Machinery is a company located in Coventry, Connecticut which provides service, serviceable OEM & new replacement parts & bearings, machine & electric motor rebuild, for Walker Turner and other vintage machinery. They reverse engineer new replacement wearable parts for Walker Turner and other vintage wood working machines and harvest OEM parts from original machines, cleaned and inspected for resale. The questions and Mr. Hofmann’s replies are copied in full and are non-edited from the original.

Mr. Duncan -

The 1935 time period models of Walker Turner Driver Line tools are from a period of rapid transition relative to earlier designs, manufacturing improvements, design innovations for enhanced service and production cost reduction.

We find tools from this period have not yet "graduated" into large scale industrial use, but are transitioning slowly from hobbyist / personal use. The WW2 industrialization is the spring board for Walker Turner pertaining to large scale recognition in heavy industry.

I'll attempt to address your questions below to the best of my knowledge base:

Q. Do you service and stock parts for these machines? They are very similar to the W-T D920 machine from the same year. Especially problematic is the Craftsman front spindle pulley.

A. The spindle was still a 2-fluted design (same as early Delta 14" drill presses), which changed to the 6-fluted spline drive in 1936. Therefore, parts associated with this spindle design are in extremely low demand, and spares are usually not available due to the fact that this drill press design is rare to find, and not a great business case to procure and part out for a business such as ours.

Q. Are the parts in both the 10” and 15” 1935 Craftsman Drill Press the Same?

A. I'm not familiar with a 10" Walker Turner drill press, I believe their smallest drill presses were 11".

Q. Are the Parts in the Walker Turner 920 and the 1935 Craftsman Drill press the same?

A. Sears usually made refinements or added custom specs to their suppliers including Walker Turner. Most likely the machined components are interchangeable, and castings for tables or motor mounts would be tailored to meet a Sears spec.

Q. Do you have a parts list or parts diagram for these machines? If so, would you be willing to email me a copy?

A. All of our reference literature for drill presses is 1938 and later.

Q. As I'm sure you are aware, apart from Craftsman and Walker Turner catalogues, you are probably the last remaining source of information on these machines.

A. We bought a 1935 900 Series 10" wood lathe about 6m ago - a period where the spindle / pulley system components were all identical to the later more popular 900 / 1100 series 12" wood lathes. However - all of the castings were scrapped - they shared no commonality with later models - and this lathe was produced maybe 2 years. I do believe they were doing heavy competitive analysis on Delta, Atlas, Duro to name a few - and designs were being upgraded at a fast pace. Earnest Walker was the engineer, graduate of Maine, had spent his early career with Allis Chalmers turbine and motor division. Bill Turner was a cost driver - ran the business from a profit and loss sense. This pair, along with a very good chief engineer / designer, really drove the company to its peak. When Walker and Turner sold the company in 1948 to Kearney and Trecker - innovation was limited, cost reduction was priority. Rockwell purchased them in 1956 of course - the inherent designs of the 20" drill press and the Radial Ram drill press stemming from the mid/late 1940's ran forward to the early 2000's on Delta's 20" and radial drills. Tells you something about the quality that was thought out by the original team in the mid to late 40's. I think Walker Turner lost out to Atlas for the power tool contract in the mid 30's.

NINE 1935 CRAFTSMAN/WALKER-TURNER DRILL PRESSES

Below are the photos of 1935 Craftsman/Walker-Turner Drill Presses I have found. I have included the sites I found them on, the owner’s description, and some of my observations.

1. The first one belongs to the author. It’s a 15 inch floor model. Apart from a work light and its motor, it is all original and complete but in need of restoration. Although it’s not clearly visible, this machine has the horizontal Craftsman logo and its V-belt adjustment lock hand-nut is located on the left side (facing) of the machine.​

13 MINE DSC01188.JPG

2. Below is one found on the Tractor Forum as “Antique Craftsman Drill Press (a 15” bench model) With No Model or Serial Numbers”. This machine has the horizontal Craftsman logo and its V-belt adjustment lock hand-nut is located on the left side (facing). It’s base table is the same as seen on the W-T D920 machines. Note that the 4 handle feed has since been changed to a 2 handle style.​
https://www.tractorforum.com/thread...-press-with-no-model-or-serial-numbers.32638/

14  C-WT 15 inch A.jpg



15  Craftsman Walker-Turner 10 In.  Bench Model.jpg

3. Above is a 10” bench model. Note the diagonal Craftsman logo, that the V-belt adjustment lock hand-nut is located on the right side (facing) of the machine and it has the correct base table. Also, note the motor mount having the handcrank-operated raising and lowering feature. I found this drill press here: http://vintagemachinery.org/photoindex/detail.aspx?id=40864

16  Craftsman Walker Turner 15 in Floor DP.jpg

4. I really do not have much information about the above floor model. Doing some rough measurements I believe it to be a 15”. If you look carefully, you can just make out a horizontal Craftsman logo. Although it cannot be seen in the photo, its V-belt adjustment lock hand-nut is on the left (facing).​

17  Craftsman W-T 13 in Bench model.jpg

5. Above is a Craftsman/W-T “about 13 inch” Bench model from a 2016 ad located at: http://www.vintagemachinery.org/classifieds/detail.aspx?id=12233&p=2

It has both of the identifying features observed on other 1935 Craftsman 10 inch models: 1. the diagonal Craftsman logo 2. the V-belt adjustment lock hand-nut located on the right (facing) side. This machine also has the two handled feed lever, the rise of the center of the head casting and the correct base table seen on the 10 and 15 inch 1935 Craftsman drill presses.

The owner of this d.p. lists its size as “about 13 inch”, saying in the item description: “I think it's a 13 inch. complete with chuck key. not used in 40 + years. not rusted or pitted. needs a good cleaning. leather pulley belt present but warped. Heavy and needs 2 guys to move it. I'm disabled and two old (86) to play with it.”(sic)

Is this a real 13 inch variant of this drill press? If so, it is the only one found so far. In consideration of the owner’s age and physical condition as well as the lack of a date on this listing, I was very reluctant to contact him. If anyone has any more information about this drill press, please reach out to the author.​

18  Craftsman 15 in bench model.jpg

6. The photo above is of a 15 inch bench model. This machine has the horizontal Craftsman logo, its V-belt adjustment lock hand-nut is located on the left (facing) and the base table is identical to that found one other C/W-T and W-T D920 machines. From the Old Wood Working Machines web forum. https://owwm.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=177026

19  bluemerl 1.jpg

7. The photo above is of a 15 inch bench model. This machine has the horizontal Craftsman logo and its V-belt adjustment lock hand-nut on the left (facing). It can be found here: https://www.owwm.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=233550

20  C-W-T 10 inch Copy.JPG

8. The photo above is of a pretty 10 inch bench model. It can be found posted on the Garage Journal Forum on the Vintage Craftsman Drill Press thread. Of interest is the shape of the flange below the bowl. Note that it is not as sharply shaped as all the machines seen above. Also of interest is the diagonal Craftsman logo, the right hand side (facing) V-belt adjustment lock hand-nut and the up-down adjustable motor mount.​

21  15 inch from vintage machines.jpg

9. Seen above is a 15 inch bench model. This machine has the horizontal Craftsman logo, its V-belt adjustment lock hand-nut is located on the left (facing) side of the machine and it has the correct base table. From Vintage Machinery web forum: http://vintagemachinery.org/photoindex/detail.aspx?id=9012
 
Last edited:

Ted D

Plastic
Joined
May 30, 2022
PART 5
CONCLUSIONS


The head casting drawings seen in US patent D91,094 granted to William Brewer Turner November 21, 1933 describe the design features seen on the drill presses found in the 1934-1935 Walker-Turner catalogues perfectly and are very similar if not identical to those found on the 10 inch Craftsman machine found in the 1935 Craftsman Power tools catalogue. The similarity of the W-T and C/W-T spindle pulley assemblies discussed above only reinforces this point. That these same features are seen in the 9 Craftsman drill presses in the photos above would seem to prove that Walker-Turner designed and built those nine drill presses.

The 1935 Craftsman Power Tool catalogue has been proven to be an inaccurate and faulty document, but it is the only record of Craftsman drill presses known to exist from that time. Therefore, this catalogue must be given some consideration when determining where the 15 inch, and possibly a 13 inch version came from. This said, even a casual examination of Craftsman catalogues from 1933 to 1936 reveals that the Craftsman drill presses developed from the drawings seen in US patent D91,094 appear only in the 1935 catalogue in the form of the 10 inch model found on page 23. In 1933 and 34 there was nothing having an inverted spindle pulley, by 1936 it was gone. From this it is safe to assume that this press design was built and sold for just one year, 1935.

The 15 inch drill press that appears on page 24 and 25 of the 1935 Craftsman catalogue is of a completely different design and decidedly not the same as the 15 inch drill presses seen in the photos above.

Clearly, Sears sold two versions of this drill press, a 10 inch and a 15 inch. I have to include the possibility of a 3rd size, the “13 inch” seen in photo number 5 above. The nine pictures presented above show the 10 and 15 inch models to be very similar if not identical, the only obvious differences being the distance from the center of the drill chuck to the column, the position of the Craftsman logo, and the location of the V-belt adjustment lock hand-nut.

Unfortunately this paper does not answer one of the most important questions asked: Do the 1935 C/W-T 10, 13 and 15 inch drill presses and the W-T D920, D921 and D922 drill presses share internal parts? From the information and photos shared above, as well as considering the intended market of these machines, I believe that the 1935 Craftsman drill presses and the Walker-Turner D900 models share many if not all of the same internal and external parts. Admittedly, in the absence of a parts list or parts diagram it’s impossible to say; only a complete tear down of all machines in question and one-for-one comparison of parts would answer that question for certain.

In summation, Walker-Turner built the 9 drill presses seen in the photographs above. In view of their absence from the 1934, 35 and 36 Craftsman catalogues; these drill presses were built and sold in only 1935. Even a fast look at the machines in the 9 photos above show them to be virtually identical, the only important difference being the distance between the center of their drill chucks to the column of the d.p. As anticlimactic as it is, it would appear that Craftsman simply did not include the 15 inch (and very possibly a 13 inch) variant of the 10 inch model in its 1935 Craftsman Power Tools catalogue. The reasons why are lost to history.

Finally, many people regard this as a “rare” machine. It was only made for one year and it is impossible to know how many or how few of them were made and sold in the middle of The Great Depression. It did take me 5 to 6 years to come up with a total of 12 of them. It is, however, a unique machine, the inverted spindle pulley and the lack of any identification tags or stamps among other things make it so.​



FOOTNOTES & RESOURCES

1 Website article: Vintage Machines>Manufacturers Index>”Walker-Turner co.,Inc.” (click here)

2 Website article: Tools in Action, “Sears and Craftsman Source Product Code” (click here)

The photos above of the Walker-Turner D921 drill press were found on the Old Wood Working Machine web forum on a thread titled, “1935 Walker-Turner D921 drill press” (click here)

Us Patent # D91,094 “Design for a Head Casting for a Drill Press, granted to William Brewer Turner Nov 21, 1933
(click here)

The 1933 Craftsman and Companion Power Tools catalogue, pages 22-25
http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/222/2812.pdf

The 1934 Craftsman Power Tools catalogue, pages 19-23
http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/222/5327.pdf

The 1935 Craftsman Power Tools catalogue, pages 23-25
http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/detail.aspx?id=2768

The 1936 Craftsman and Companion Power Tools by Sears catalogue, pages 13-17
http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/detail.aspx?id=2768

Make Your Hobby Pay Dividends – 1933 Walker-Turner Driver catalogue, page 14 and 15
http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/808/2808.pdf

The 1933 (Walker-Turner) WT Grant Driver Line, pages 14-15, 27-28
http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/808/6992.pdf

The 1934 (Walker-Turner) W.T. Grant “A Hobby That Pays Dividends general line catalogue, page 10
http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/808/22269.pdf

The 1934 Walker-Turner Driver Line Power Tools catalogue, pages 10, 15, 26 and 27
http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/808/372.pdf

The 1935 Driver Power Tools Catalogue (Walker-Turner), pages 10, 15, 24 and 25
http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/808/374.pdf

The 1936 Driver Power tools Catalogue (Walker-Turner)
http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/detail.aspx?id=906


GLOSSARY

I have used the following diagram from the 1935 Walker-Turner book, The Drill Press It’s Use and Application, as a guide for terms used in this paper. (click here)

22 Glossary.jpg
 
Last edited:

Ted D

Plastic
Joined
May 30, 2022
Sorry for the long posts. The paper just wouldn't fit.

If you have information on the 1935 Craftsman/Walker-Turner drill presses, catalogues, manuals, lube charts or the like, please share them.

If you have pictures or know of other 1935 Craftsman/Walker-Turner drill presses please share them as well.

My next project is to do a tear down of my 15 inch floor model. I will include photos, measurements and part numbers such as I find in another article.
 
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jmm03

Hot Rolled
Joined
Aug 8, 2004
Location
ventura,ca.usa
Great write up Ted. Even though I don't have a Walker-Turner or their clone I found it very interesting. Industrial archeology at it's finest. Jim
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2004
Location
Metuchen, NJ, USA
Ted,

I've got to hand it to you for the most dogged pursuit I've ever seen of the history of a machine tool ! Very well-documented in a scholarly way, too!

I have a W-T tilt-arbor cabinet saw which I bought used circa 1995.

Seeking a part, I called the Plainfield, NJ Chamber of Commerce, which referred me to Delta. ( Who of course doesn't have but a very few W-T compatible parts. )

The lady at the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce commented "I don't know who Walker and Turner were, but they must have made some great machines because hardly a week goes by that we don't get two or three inquiries about them, and they've been gone since 1968!" [sic]

You will see quite a few W-T drill presses in industrial auctions, but none quite like the ones you are studying.
 

Ted D

Plastic
Joined
May 30, 2022
Ted,

I've got to hand it to you for the most dogged pursuit I've ever seen of the history of a machine tool ! Very well-documented in a scholarly way, too!

I have a W-T tilt-arbor cabinet saw which I bought used circa 1995.

Seeking a part, I called the Plainfield, NJ Chamber of Commerce, which referred me to Delta. ( Who of course doesn't have but a very few W-T compatible parts. )

The lady at the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce commented "I don't know who Walker and Turner were, but they must have made some great machines because hardly a week goes by that we don't get two or three inquiries about them, and they've been gone since 1968!" [sic]

You will see quite a few W-T drill presses in industrial auctions, but none quite like the ones you are studying.

Thank you very much for the kind words. You might want to reach out to Jeff Hofmann at Walker Turner Serviced Machinery, LLC, Coventry Conn. for parts, especially for the industrial stuff.


1934 was the darkest year of the depression .....a lot of factories closed for a few weeks ,or months ,and many never reopened ....


My Dad was born in '25, Mom was a bit after that, but both remembered those times and talked about it a lot. The Craftsman/Walker-Turner drill press seen above is NOT an industrial machine. It was aimed at the home ... or maybe VERY small wood shop. The entire time I was writing this piece I kept thinking, "Who the HECK could afford this machine and the luxury of owning it?"
 

thermite

Diamond
The Craftsman/Walker-Turner drill press seen above is NOT an industrial machine. It was aimed at the home ... or maybe VERY small wood shop. The entire time I was writing this piece I kept thinking, "Who the HECK could afford this machine and the luxury of owning it?"

Well.. there you have it... 'aimed' or not, it BECAME - at least under the Walker-Turner & K&T period - very MUCH an 'industrial' drillpress. Widely adopted as "more than good enough" ....inexpensive [1], no 'millwright' needed to plan, prep, and install, "single-phase, usually", just unpack, plug-in, make holes, move it just as easily to new tasking whenever and wherever the need arose.

Because ....no matter what ELSE they did.. so very, very many manufacturing and repair outfits had LOTS of need for rather basic SMALL holes in not overly challenging materials - their W-T's sometimes installed one lone machine in a corner of a garage, boatyard, or hangar, or by whole rows at a go, for war-work ... and otherwise.

I've no 'inside information', but given the relative sameness of light drillpress DESIGNS, I 'suspect' that W-T's greatest strength was that they had found ways to gather and manage the materiel and labour resources they needed to be able to FILL THE ORDERS rapidly, ergo GOT the orders... where other makers did not.


[1] OTHER 'real, industrial' drillpresses cost the very EARTH by comparison. Still do.

The W-T wasn't a Ford pickup to Peterbilt class-comparison. It was WHEELBARROW-cheap by comparison to multi-speed, variable-speed, integral motor, geared-head, and power-downfeed, 3-Phase, mostly, creatures - even those that made holes not the least bit larger or necessarily faster.
 
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