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The mother of all Gorton surface plates.

Galane

New member
Look at how long it took from casting to just *starting* the scraping on this 8,000 pound plate. I wonder why the finish date wasn't included?

Gorton Master Surface Plate Historical Vintage Original 8000lbs MSP 1928 | eBay

Text from image.
Cast Oct. 24-1928, shook out of sand nine days later. Rough planed and put outside to season, Nov. 16-1928. Rough planed again, Nov. 11-1929. Finish planed and the scraping started, Jan. 19-1935.

There have been many companies that didn't last as long as this surface plate took to manufacture.
 

nsaqam

New member
I've been looking at that spectacular plate since it first showed up on eBay about 6 months ago.
He's dropped the price from $5000 to $4500.
It's close enough for me to go pick it up but I just can't justify a $4500 surface plate no matter how badly I'd like to own it.
 

WHHJR

Active member
It certainly sounds like it was a properly seasoned casting. I would have expected 2 years to be enough....
 

jCandlish

New member
Look at how long ...

Text from image.
Cast Oct. 24-1928, shook out of sand nine days later. Rough planed and put outside to season, Nov. 16-1928. Rough planed again, Nov. 11-1929. Finish planed and the scraping started, Jan. 19-1935.

There have been many companies that didn't last as long as this surface plate took to manufacture.

Quaint.

Most granite was put down in the Precambrian Eon, 4600 - 541 million years ago. Empires and religions have risen and fallen since then.

.
 

DocsMachine

New member
Well, technically all the iron in the earth's crust formed in the stellar mass that eventually went nova to form the proto-sun and the debris that would eventually coalesce into the planets, about 5 billion years ago. :D

Even though I have no use for something that size- or the room for it- I'd still love to have that table. How the hell would one even have such a thing calibrated/checked? Hire Forrest and find a 100" straightedge?

Doc.
 

Mark Rand

Active member
It's a 3 1/2 (long) ton 6' by 2' 6' surface plate. That's not enormously bigger than the 3' by 4' granite surface table in my 300sft home shop and certainly isnt a 4' by 8' one. So it isn't that bad a size for a small shop. A bit heavy to move, but not outrageous. It'd need calibrating and (probably) re-scraping before it could be trusted. At that point it just isn't worth more than the cost of the cast iron.

Unfortunately, its time is past, like many other machine tools of the era.
 

nsaqam

New member
If it were $1000 or even $2000 it'd be living in my shop.

I love Gorton machinery and this plate is the foundation of all mechanical accuracy at Gorton.
 

Fal Grunt

New member
I think there is one of those at a place in Cleveland. I'll have to check when I'm up there next. If I remember right the price was not that high.
 
Wouldn't this be a great table upon which to display a collection of antique surface gages ? (Rivett608, are you listening?)

DocsMachine asked how it could be checked. I don't see any reason why the methods used to check a granite plate could not be applied to this iron plate.

There's a classic technique to generate a flat iron surface plate by making three plates and scraping them until all three match. It has to be three, rather than two, because two plates might match very well but be large-radius spherical surfaces rather than flat surfaces. (See "Engineering Reminisces" by Charles T. Porter ME.)

John Ruth
 

stephen thomas

Active member
As a collectible historic artifact, it is unique.

as a surface plate, over the last 10 years I've often seen granite plates in recent calibration, form about 4' x 6', up to maybe 6' x 10' and sizes in between, go for a couple $hundred or less. I've rued in the past on PM about the 2 largest granite plates in current inspection at the Hardinge plant auction a couple years ago. The 60" x 90" Rahn went for $100; the 72" x 96" went for $50. Both complete with stand.

I was going to bid, but worried my wife would kill me over the rigging.
I did mention them to her when I got home, and she is _still_ mad at me for not buying one.
She sandblasts rocks, and pointed out that in any shape, form, modification or not, one (or both!) would have made fantastic yard art, or a sign for my shop. :(

smt
 
Some years ago, I was offered a cast iron surface plate built into a custom oak table with storage doors and drawers. I only looked at it for a moment before deciding that it had been abused. There were a couple of random small drill holes and other scars in the surface indicating that it had been used as a general workbench. I passed it up on the grounds that it was too messed up to be a good curio. The seller thought he could sell it on the "decorator" market, so the price was a bit high.

That was a MUCH smaller surface plate. The cabinet was taller: the plate was held up at about elbow height.

This huge Gorton plate under discussion is obviously something that its makers were proud of. How else do you explain the elaborate brass plate with the detailed history of its manufacture?

Then again, as I'm writing this, it just occurred to me that Gorton made pantograph engravers; engraving that plate was no trouble at all to Gorton !

John Ruth
 

nsaqam

New member
You can bet that only the finest machinists and scraper hands at Gorton were allowed to produce this plate.

I think they were very proud of it and likely considered this plate to be the foundation of all mechanical accuracy at Gorton.

If this amazing item were scrapped the only bright spot about it would be that the people who made this plate are likely dead and won't have to see their handiwork being reduced to garbage.
 
I have a feeling to replicate this plate today, would cost an absolute fortune. According to the tag, it took 7 years to make.
 
It would seem to me that this plate is a seriously important American industrial artifact, which should be 'conserved'......presumably meaning cleaning it, and replicating the original paint finish on its base........and, given its 'artifact' status, should be preserved on display in a museum, for future generations to see.

(the time may not be now, but it will come, when such artifacts will be valued by a future generation........that plate is a significant piece of American industrial history)

cheers

Carla
 

Jim Christie

Active member
I remember my father telling me about getting castings for parts at the pulp mill where he worked from the foundry and they were left to age out in the yard over the winter then they were brought in and rough machined then placed outside again for another year or so to get the stresses out again before the final machining .
Another late friend told me that an uncle of his had worked for a company that made milling machines in Switzerland ,I think it might have been Starrag .Menu (all) some time before 1960 and if I recall he said the castings were aged for 7 years prior to final machining so I’m not surprised to see how long it took to finish the surface plate.
It would be hard to imagine a C.E.O. today trying to explain to shareholders something being held in inventory only to be used 7 years from now and detracting from the present quarterly dividend .
In today’s world some would have us believe that a machine designed 7 years ago would be obsolete by now.
Regards,
Jim
 








 
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