Barnes 4 1/2 Foot Powered Lathe!
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  1. #1
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    Default Barnes 4 1/2 Foot Powered Lathe!

    Its crazy to look back at the past and how people machined back then, imagine if you had to use your foot to power your lathe. Crazy!

  2. #2
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    Back in the 1870's to up into the early 1900's, if you wanted to machine iron or steel with anything other than a file or via a blacksmith forge, your choices were very limited in terms of a power source for a metal lathe (also similar for wood) They were primarily water power or a steam or gas engine. These required line shafts to transmit the power, belts, etc., and were not necessarily instant on in terms of hitting a switch and not inexpensive.

    When foot powered machines came out and were readily available in the early part of that period, one can only imagine what a productivity improvement was seen!! While not inexpensive, they offered the small town blacksmith or gunsmith and other a world of opportunities to be more productive and bring things to the community.

    Here is a link to a video that shares the story of foot powered machinery!! Enjoy!! Just love the stuff!! Thanks Ed

    The Story of Foot Powered Machinery - YouTube

  3. #3
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    Default Bring back the past!

    I am a foot powered tool collector and user. The collecting started 45 years ago with a Barnes 4-1/2 lathe, clean and well tooled. The using part started when I saw Bob Baker cutting threads for a repair on a threaded arm of a rose wood plow plane. I was impressed at the quality of work that was performed on his Barnes 4-1/2 lathe. The threads on the rosewood arm were beautiful and crisp. I asked why were you using the Barnes and opposed Rivett lathe. His response was that the quality of cut and ease of operation on the Barnes was the way to go. Another inspiration was from M.U. Zakariya, shown in an article in Fine Woodworking November 1978, showing him at his Barnes 4-1/2 lathe turning one of his microscopes. All of his work was done on his Barnes4-1/2. I saw a microscope he made and it was an outstanding piece of work.
    My work started with using the Barnes 4-1/2 was to reproduce a 3/16-30 tpi thumb screw. I went to my Logan lathe which has no 30 tpi on the quick change, not knowing what to do, I looked at the thread chart on the Barnes 4-1/2 and there it was 30 tpi. I set the gear train up and wow 30 tpi. I then decided to finish the thumb screw on the Barnes.(pictured). The next operation I wanted to try on the Barnes was to turn a cylinder for an antique stethoscope .50 dia with a .250 drilled thru 10 inches long. The end results were a variance of .0015 over the 10 inch length which I thought was pretty darn good. My last photo was of cleaning up a left hand thread 1/2-13 that was mushroomed on the end. The other photo shows the gear train set for 13 tpi. I was quite pleased with the end results with extra sharp tooling being the key to turn with ease. I do agree that production work is not for foot powered turning.zpatmach5.jpgzpatmach-1-.jpgzpatmach-2-.jpgzpatmach-3-.jpg By the way Ed, keep up you fantastic work, the videos are awesome, George

  4. #4
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    A photo from the RR station, in the town I grew up in. Notice the illumination in the telegraph office. Also notice what is either a Barnes or
    Seneca Falls treadle lathe next to the man's desk. Why he had a lathe in the telegraph office I do not know, but it was there.


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    I've played with them in both the metal and woodworking arenas. It definitely gives you an appreciation for sharp tools.

  6. #6
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    Default Telegraph office lathe

    Judging by the legs and extreme curve in the spokes of the flywheel resembles a Seneca Falls Star lathe early version. Ralph could of had a side operation of doing machining work when not working for the railroad???? Seneca Falls lathes were pretty pricy back in the day to be sitting there. Just a thought, waiting for Ed.

  7. #7
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    Agree: probably seneca falls. One building that used to be the RR station is still in the town, when I was a kid it was rented as an antique store
    that I poked around in extensively. But I never saw anything looking like a lathe in there. Now it's a private house (not sure how that happened)
    so even the location where that machine stood, is probably no longer in existence.

  8. #8
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    Think Stef hit that on the head!! Hard to tell if it was the wood turning version, the Crown or the metal cutting version the Star. Does anyone have the lighter version of the wood lathe, the GEM??

    Here is a full shot of the Crown I got from a good friend and fellow collector of foot powered machinery. She runs like a watch!

    Love that old picture showing at least part of the lathe. Would love to see other original pictures of foot powered machinery to add to my website Home Page - Foot Powered Machinery Just love the stuff!

    Thanks Ed20200310_131101-ld.jpg

  9. #9
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    Not the lathe in the photo, but a seneca falls star - has no compound and no graduations on the crossfeed, the screw is double square.
    Don't think it's the GEM as it has straight sides on the apron:







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