Antique Lufkin tape measure
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  1. #1
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    Default Antique Lufkin tape measure

    My grandmother passed over the weekend. She was close to her 104 birthday, but didn’t quite make it. My mother and I went to be with her in her final days and took some time when not at her bedside to start cleaning out the house. I found this gem:


    One of the great downsides for the people of the Great Depression and my grandparents era is that too often they conflated “FRUGAL” and “CHEAP”... Despite my grandfather being an engineer and using tools like his slide-rule and drafting tools regularly, he didn’t seem to own the nicer level of items. Most of his remaining effects will likely be donated as the quality of them, despite being from mid-twentieth century is no better than current metrology/layout equipment available at Home Depot. This Lufkin tape (which I fully appreciate was never an expensive tool) was about the only thing I considered nice enough to save. Otherwise I will not be replacing the Starrett squares and rules in my toolbox with the crap granddad used. Anyhow I figured I’d share it here.



    Jeremy


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  2. #2
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    "Cheap tools" have been around long before Horrible Freight hit the ground. They might have been made in the USA, but they had to service the market for something to get you buy on a budget somehow.

    I've always liked Lufkin, at least back when they made micrometers and similar tools. Their measuring tapes are the only thing we buy new from them now. They might not have been in the same league as Brown & Sharpe and modern Mitutoyo, but IMO they hold their tolerances, are durable, and are a lot better than Craftsman, General, and other commodity tool makers. For our uses they're just as good as Starrett.

    We still have a few Lufkin Micrometers in our Service & Assembly shop, and I think there are still some depth mics in the Machine shop.

  3. Likes Eric M, tim9lives liked this post
  4. #3
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    For sure Lufkin was a reputable marque, then and now. I don’t plan to use it much, more to keep it as a conversation piece. I would have liked to find a nicer piece of drafting equipment or rule or something bearing my granddads name to actually use, but again, he didn’t spend a penny past the utility of the item. There were no heavyweight squares or French curves... just older, more or similarly, beat up items like the ones I already possess. It seemed best to just leave the stuff in hopes someone less fortunate can make use of the whole affair.


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  5. #4
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    I too, have collected many Lufkin tools over the years. Some belonged to my dad, most I bought off of the internet. Sure like their ID mikes, like them so much, I have three sets here somewhere. My grand dad used to carry around the 100 foot "Derrick" tape they used in the oilfield. It hung up in the derrick and used it to measure the lengths of drill pipe that went into the ground and kept a "talley book" of all of the measurements so they knew to the foot what to charge the "company man" for drilling a gas or oil well. I still have one of the refills to that derrick tape he used to have. Have several others, including the one's they used to sell with your company name printed on them. Ken

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    An interesting post for me as I have a similar Lufkin tape measure that I purchased new in the mid sixties when starting to build my shop. I also purchased near the same time, a new satin chrome 1"-2" Lufkin micrometer for $20.00. The dealer was clearing out his Lufkin precision tools because Lufkin had stopped producing precision tools, according to him. His story was that Lufkin was only making semi-precision tools such as specialty tapes for carpenters and tank (service station) measurement, prior to the war. The government got them into the precision tool business during the war. They were getting out because of foreign competition from Japan and Germany, all this according to the dealer.
    JH

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    Middletown Ohio is just down the road from me, is that where they lived, or just where it originated from? Interesting connection to university of Cincinatti too: The Co-operative engineer. Vol. 03 No. 4 (June 1924)


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