Antique split washer?
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  1. #1
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    Default Antique split washer?

    I ran across this lock washer in a coffee can of machinist related items at a garage sales. Never seen one make quite like this. I#/4 of the washer's body is made to lay flat against whatever it secures. O.D. is 1", I.D. is 9/16", made out of 1/8" stock.
    The very tips (3/32") are turned up (looks like by a die and top punch) to catch and grab a nut, bolt head, who knows what?. On the opposite side from the tip, the washer is ground into a "ramp" probably to allow the ends to flex as they engage.

    Looks like no small amount of engineering went into this; unlike modern split washers.
    I've shown it to several machinist buddies as well as a gunsmith and a friend into antique artillery. None of us have ever seen a lock washer like this and have no idea on its original application.
    Any other members out there have any ideas?

    Lock-washer-1 — ImgBB
    Lock-washer-2 — ImgBB
    Lock-washer-3 — ImgBB

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  3. #2
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    Looks like washers to be used in a counter bore and socket head cap screws. What is your definition of modern?

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    A split washer with the "ends turned up" was used on the Model A Ford - and likely before. More modern lock-washers tend to be formed on a "spiral" but the earlier versions (some of them) were made as a flat ring with the ends of the ring split done like "saw set."

    There may be a current manufacturer who does the earlier style.

    Joe in NH

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    Muskalee, If you're talking about "high-collar" washers for recessed head Allen bolts, this isn't one.
    I'm 76 so everything is relative. My "modern" cutoff point depending on the machine, machining process, way of doing things is pre-40s. Seems like a lot of old-time processes just weren't fast enough to keep up with demand when we started tooling up for WWII. Once the "modern" way of doing things was in place, we never went back. True, we progress or stagnate but also true is; 'New & Improved' usually isn't either.

    Joe, Good point on Ford "A"s and "T"s but I've had and restored a few and never ran across a washer quite like this. I have been considering antique machinery as its original application.
    I've done restoration work for several museums and am always paying attention to everything from machining marks to patinas and weathering. Something I've never seen before just catches my interest.

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    I've also had my hands in a lot of Ford stuff and have never seen one like that. My first thought is that it's not really a washer, but maybe a spring to be used in a ratchet mechanism, the ends to engage in face teeth to hold an adjustment in place.

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    I've never seen one like that. It's not just turned up, but the material is thicker. I'd think it would bend the bolt and actually weaken it by causing cracks near the head. Perhaps it has some other purpose or thing it's supposed to mate with.

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    I suspect it's just an older style, made with a less efficient process for mass production, which is why we don't see lock washers made that way today. They may have been going for a combination of compression spring action and spur digging-in. Since an ordinary spiral style lock washer can leave dig marks, the older style probably didn't have any outstanding advantage.

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    Mud, your ratchet assy part is worth considering but as sharp as the ends are, there's no way you could get it to back off short of disassembly.

    Mr. Hoffman, Right about there being considerable force in compressing the ends and it would definitely "mar the finish" when the time came to take it apart.

    sfriedberg, 3/4 of the total body circumference is flat, not helical. The only spring action is in the last 1/4" of the tips. I haven't tried taking a file to it but 1/8" thick material, maybe with a temper to it ain't gonna spring much.

    If it weren't for the traces of dark green paint on the outer circumference, I might even think NOS or the "So-rare-it's-not-even-catalogued" lock washer patent model.

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    I've never seen one like that. It's not just turned up, but the material is thicker.
    I think I've seen available in parts catalogs at least three different "thicknesses" of lock washers. Looking in my parts drawer sort of confirms varying thicknesses ARE available - although given the production history and duration of this hoard of washers its probably simply "vagaries of production."

    Looking at "Machinery's Handbook" (19ed) I see that dimensionally American Standard Helical Spring Lock washers were governed by ASA B27.1-1965 (American Standards Association) The book references "Regular", "Extra Duty", and "Hi-Collar." One assumes this means thickness. Table 1 of the book shows four different thicknesses, Light, Regular, Heavy, and Extra-Heavy and their thicknesses with instructions elsewhere to try to limit specification sizing to the three indicated first - even though a correlation is not confirmed.

    So perhaps the best comment on washer thicknesses/forms are "it varies." There is a standard, now. Prior to 1965 it might have been more variable.

    Joe in NH

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    There have been a bunch of ideas for ways of locking fasteners over the years. I date back to the days of working around machinery anchors drilled into concrete or stone, then the stud is inserted and molten sulfur is poured in around it. None of the modern epoxies or expanding anchors stuff.
    I guess what catches my attention on this one is how much work went into making it. Definitely not your standard "helical split washer". And even those have had their share of design variations. How about a "two-coil split washer"?

    helical-spring-lock-washer-1 — ImgBB
    helical-spring-lock-washer-2 — ImgBB

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonesL View Post
    3/4 of the total body circumference is flat, not helical. The only spring action is in the last 1/4" of the tips.
    But if you put a bolt through it and squeeze it between the bolt head and the work, the tips will come in contact first and the initially flat part of the washer will deform. In fact, I'd bet 25 cents there is a lot more deflection of the initially flat part than of the tips.

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    Looking at the third pic, my impression is that the material is relatively uniform in thickness, with the "ramps" being formed by a shallow angle punch, then the two ends are upset to force them in opposite directions.

    So when used (presuming it is indeed a spring lock washer) the underside of the bolt head would be mostly fully supported when full clamp load is applied, with about 10% of the circumference not supported due to the shallow angle deformation. This would likely not be too bad as far as ongoing stress at the bolt head to shank interface.

    My guess is that it's from some artillery or other arms manufacture, where shock stress on fasteners was the main concern, and not having things loosen during use was more critical than damage to the parts when disassembling.

    That's a total WAG, and maybe influenced by too many Tank Museum and other videos on Youtube...

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    Ordnance was my thought too. Definitely not automotive.

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    I have run into them before, there may even be some here in stock. My first encounter thought was"Now that's a for real lock washer". They will definately chew up the bolt head and seat. Seems like it was on a large gear case.

    Just another variation on a lock washer.

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    I'm just glad it's not part of a restoration job and I have to find more like it to match.


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