Exceptionally Rare & Historically Important Micrometer by PALMER - Page 4
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  1. #61
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    I had the thrill of holding Rivett's Palmer in my hands last night and the greater thrill of enjoying several hours of conversation with the owner. His new lamp table is super and will probably be the subject of a fresh thread once he gets caught up.

    Larry

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    Larry,

    Rivett's Lamp table?? I hope you are talking about the neat, early thingy he got here in Florida????

    And, I'm shocked, SHOCKED!!!!!!! you actually got to hold the Palmer. I hope you wore cotton gloves!!!!!!


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    While Larry had the trill of holding the Palmer I had the trill of meeting such a wonderful, knowledgeable and generous Gentleman.

    Oh yes..... there is a "lamp table" in the back of my car that has been traveling about the country. I am going to have to round up a crew of guys to to get the heavy thing upstairs..... I am sure when I find the right lamp it will be posted on the PM......

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by rivett608 View Post
    I am going to have to round up a crew of guys to to get the heavy thing upstairs.....
    No problem Rivettt! Send me a airline ticket and I'll handle one end by myself.

    Oh, and I'd be more than happy to watch the rest of your collection while you go shopping. Take your time. Not to worry about anything!


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    I have read several times wording by at least one often quoted Brown & Sharpe author and company historian that the Systeme Palmer micrometer was not a well sold, or well used or well known item. The obvious point of the wording was to build up the mystique that it was B & S that made the micrometer we use today and that they alone popularized it.

    But, in another thread Stu posted a couple of articles (Am. Machinist Dec 15, 1892) where Lucien Sharpe writes the real truth. Below are the quotes I think are important. Read them for yourself and with your own biases.

    Lucien Sharpe wrote,

    "It was at that time well know in France as "Systeme Palmer" or Palmer's plan of gauge...."


    "If we had never seen the Bridgeport device we should have found the Palmer at Paris, and without doubt have made such gauges...."

    Actually, the Palmer was well known in a number of industrial center is Europe since it became a measuring tool staple of many wire wire manufacturers for the large European music trade.

    The point..... The micrometer (Palmer) wasn't a languishing, unknown tool as some 'historians' present, waiting from B & S top popularize it. It was already a hit in Europe beginning in 1848.

    IMHO, in the USA, micrometers didn't become well known/used outside the brass trade until the advent of the Victor SM micrometer and the B & S purchase of that company.

    You can read the full set of Stu's Am. Machinist posts in the thread below:

    http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb...ometer-221236/









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    Here is a 20 mm palmer by Carl Mahr of Esslingen, Germany on eBay. I thought it was interesting to campare to the original Palmer. The pictures are good.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Open...item3cbe810da0

    Larry

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    Larry,

    Interesting! I have that same mic somewhere around here. But, mine has no makers name on it. I had always assumed it was a circa 1940's Swiss made mic.


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    I have some too....... it is interesting that this, what essentially looks like the same design was made for about a 100 years. Mac, yours could very well be from the 40's.... the one detail that seems to appear on the earlier ones is how long the lines on the barrel are.... a fairly early, maybe 1880's sold on French ebay the other day.

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    Another one has been found...... this time on Ebay UK for £ 75!!!!!!! .... If the new owner is reading this please contact me as I would like to know some things about it and should you wish I will not ever tell who you are....... here is what I know....... it looks real to me..... what a deal! The funny part is the lister missed the most important part.... it is stamped Palmer..... you have to look close but it is there.








  10. #70
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    “Rivett608” in Post #69 of this thread shows pictures of a fourth known example of an original PALMER micrometer. I will describe this fourth example and compare it to the other examples described by “rivett608.” In this discussion, I will try to stay faithful to the framework and terminology used by “rivett608” in his excellent thread.

    Like the three other examples, it is marked with the PALMER name on one side and the words BREVETE S. GAR. du GOUVT on the other side. The same stamps must have been used on all four examples, because the lettering appears identical. Also, the same number stamps were used to mark the barrel and the sleeve on this example and on the “rivett608 example,” and probably also on the other two examples, although I don’t have the close up pictures needed to conclusively say that.

    This example is 74 millimeters long (2 15/16 inches) with the micrometer zeroed out (measuring tips touching), and has a height of 30 millimeters (1 3/16 inches). It measures in Metric, with a measuring range of 0 to 20 millimeters (0 to approximately 3/4 inches), and it measures to a precision of 1/20 of a millimeter. The markings on the barrel are 0 l l l l 5 l l l l 10 l l l l 15 l l l l 20, with the numbers and lines indicating millimeters. The markings on the sleeve are twenty lines that circle the sleeve, with every other line numbered, from 0 to 9. This example and the one at the Smithsonian measure to 20 millimeters, while the other two examples in this thread measure to 25 millimeters. The measuring capacity of a fifth example, the one once owned by the Brown & Sharpe Co, and now lost, can only be guessed at from an archival picture, but I think it is a 25 millimeter micrometer.

    This example has a rectangular shaped frame with rounded corners, identical to the Brown & Sharpe example, but contrasting with the round shape of the frame on the other three examples. At this point in time I don’t think there is any way to prove which shape is early and which is late. The rectangular shape more closely matches the sketches in Palmer’s 1848 patent, and this suggests that the rectangular is the earlier form, but “rivett608” has made some convincing arguments elsewhere in this thread that the rounded version is the earlier one. In contrast to the frame design, the screw, the barrel, the sleeve, and the anvil end of the frame all show a remarkable consistency on all known examples. This example also has the same keyhole aspect to the frame design that “rivett608” shows in a picture of his example (see Post #17).

    This example is different than the other known examples in one interesting aspect. There are no “assembly” numbers marked on its different parts. This may indicate that this example was made as a single unit, not part of a large batch where the fabricator would use a numbering system to keep track of which parts went with which micrometers. The assembly numbers mentioned in this thread, 13, 15, and 49, probably relate to three different batches, and suggest that Palmer had some success in making and selling his micrometers.

    This is an excellent thread with “rivett608” making a strong and convincing case that Palmer’s micrometer was well known in France before 1867. “AntiqueMac” (see Post #65) quotes Lucian Sharpe (who with Joseph R. Brown brought a Palmer micrometer back from Paris in 1867) as saying that "It was at that time well know in France as "Systeme Palmer" or Palmer's plan of gauge......," an acknowledgement by one of the key actors in this drama of the importance of Palmer’s invention in his own time. I will close by saying that the example I have described in this post was recently found at a country auction in the south of England. It was in a box lot together with two small jeweler type micrometers.

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  12. #71
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    FANTASTIC INFORMATION!!!!!!!! Thank You....... we may just yet learn a little more each day.

    Interesting what to think of the lack of an assembly number.......?

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    An article titled “Development of the Micrometer Caliper” in the Feb. 16, 1893 “American Machinist” shows reproductions of the original “drawings” of the Palmer “screw caliper” that were submitted with his Sept. 7, 1848 patent application. But the article does not include the original descriptive text (or a translation of the text) that accompanied Palmer’s 1848 patent application.

    Is there anyone following this thread that knows how to access a copy of Palmer’s Sept. 7, 1848 patent, including Palmer’s descriptive text that was appended to the formal patent. The patent will be in French, but accessing a copy is a first step before thinking about having it translated into English.

    Also, I am thinking that there must have been some contemporary advertising for Palmer and his products. In America before 1850, new products were advertised in trade journals, newspapers, city directories, and almanacs. Living in the USA makes it difficult to access the French equivalents of these sources, but for someone living in France and especially Paris, I bet it wouldn’t be too difficult to find some kind of Palmer advertisement.

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    Honrick,

    Great report! And, you have shown many consistencies, seemingly solving some issues. But, you have also highlighted some additional mysteries to be solved!

    Thank You! I love mysteries! Now, if I had the time.


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    GOOD NEWS!!!!!!! A few of us working on this research have just discovered a "mother load" of information on Palmer...... it looks like there maybe dozens of articles about his shop and what he was working on written in the 1840's and 50's...... The problem will getting all this translated from French to English.... so if anyone has time on their hands and would to help please contact me. The material is not in "plain text" or any other form easily copied......

    Anyway here is a sample... this drawing is from the 1850...


  16. #75
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    The problem will getting all this translated from French to English
    Bill,

    There are plenty of like-minded Frenchmen on the 'Usinages' forum. I might be worth asking them if they can help:

    Usinages

    Can you scan or photograph the info?

    Bill

    [edit]

    In fact they appear to be aware of you research

    http://www.usinages.com/metrologie/p...48-t46889.html

  17. #76
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    What follows is an excerpt from the 1856 “Album De L’Exposition Universelle,” a 536 page book in French, that is the official French record of the International Exhibition held in Paris in 1855. Most of the exhibitors in the industrial section of the exhibition were French companies, including “Des Forges D’Audincourt,” a combination forge, foundry, and machine shop located in Doubs, France, in the eastern part of the country, about 270 miles from Paris. The Audincourt company was awarded a 1st Class Medal and the excerpt shown below is the judges’ explanation for awarding the medal. The judges citation in the book is unusual in that below the official name of the Audincourt company is a second line that gives the name of “M. Palmer, Chef De L’Atelier De Paris.” I take this to mean that Jean-Laurent Palmer was the foreman of a Paris workshop that was connected in some way to the Audincourt company, but the exact nature of the connection is unclear to me. Also in this second line is the notation that Palmer is the recipient of the French “Legion D’Honneur,” an award given out to French citizens whose work greatly benefited the general welfare. The Legion of Honor award carried with it a small annual stipend from the French government. As for the translation of the text from the original French, it is my translation, probably not 100 percent accurate, but pretty close. I have retained the original French for the title and the sub-title of the excerpt, with my translation given below. I have also added notes at the end of the text. These notes are referenced in the text by a bracketed note number (# ) and they contain information that I thought would be helpful in understanding this excerpt from the “Album _ _ _.”

    Pages 402-403

    SOCIÉTÉ ANONYME DES FORGES D'AUDINCOURT (France, Doubs)
    (LIMITED COMPANY OF THE FORGES OF AUDINCOURT (France, Doubs))

    M. Palmer, Chef De L'Atelier De Paris. Decoration De La Legion D’Honneur
    (Mr. Palmer, Foreman of the Paris Workshop. Recipient of the Legion of Honor)

    “Stopping in front of some of the displays of our most important manufacturers, we wondered if there was not in the production of all the beautiful things we saw a great deal to do with the heads of workshops, and sometimes even ordinary workers, and in thinking about the valuable work that often goes uncompensated, perhaps some special rewards should be given to the hardworking men who have benefited our large institutions by their discoveries. In this way no type of merit will be left out, and under the orders of the capital, legitimate honors will be accorded to the works of intelligence. A high tariff protection was fortunately accorded in advance of any new distribution of rewards.”

    “We live in a time when nobody will complain if things are so decided, it being long understood that there is a need to do justice to the eminent men who did not have at their disposal the money necessary to start a factory, but who, modestly, obscurely, improve daily the general well being, to the benefit of those who share in it.”

    “If we need an example, the Audincourt (Doubs) factory provides it.”

    “The forges d’Audincourt are famous for the high quality and the moderate price of their products. Everyone has noticed the distinguished and varied exhibition display of this factory. It is to the head of the Paris workshops, Mr. Palmer, that are owed most of the improvements we point out as important and useful.”

    “Among the many studies which have continuously occupied Mr. Palmer, and the happy results that have ensued, we will call particular attention to his main accomplishment, the “Systeme Palmer” [Palmer System] for the drawing of metal.”

    “The technique of deep drawing (#1) is known. A round sheet of plated metal is procured. The center part of the sheet is weighted heavily, giving the sheet the form of a shell. Greater pressure is then applied to the center of the sheet, the sheet now taking the shape of a thimble. A mandrel is then placed in the cavity to support the metal and everything is passed through a die which stretches out and lengthens the walls, forming a tube.”

    “Mr. Palmer’s technique, applied to various metals and especially to copper, brass, iron, steel, zinc, silver and platinum, gives industry tubes that are suitable for its needs; applications that are already numerous and very important.”

    “Mr. Palmer took his patent in 1848 (#2). At the 1849 Exposition, Palmer’s metal drawing system was not exhibited. But in 1851, at the London Universal Exhibition, he received a prize medal. Mr Palmer today finds his greatest award in the many services he provides industry.”

    “His system allows combined steam engines (#3) to be built, as it does the manufacture of devises with long seamless platinum tubes, so remarked upon at the London Exposition. Mr. Palmer is, in fact, able to make these tubes to a length of three and even four meters. He has also applied metal drawing to some copper rings, of very large diameter, used with the tubes that he makes for hydraulic presses. He gets for these a length of five meters.”

    “Thirty three years (#4) of industrial service; a silver medal (1848), a platinum medal and a gold medal from the Society for the encouragement _ _ , a prize medal at London (1851), these are the titles that have earned Mr. Palmer the cross of the Legion of Honor.”

    “As for the Audincourt factory, whose exhibition display also featured some rifle barrels, worked in accordance with the Palmer system, and showing greater strength than others, a fact established by experiments which took place at Vincennes: it was awarded a First Class Medal."

    honrick’s notes:
    -#1 - “Deep drawing” is the process of taking a piece of flat sheet metal and forming it into a three dimensional part such as a can, cup, pan, or tube.

    -#2 - this patent was for a “machine to draw seamless tubes of all kinds, for boilers, engines, pipe-work _ _ _.” It was a 15 year patent, taken out on Sept. 15, 1848, 18 days after Palmer took out the patent for his “gauge with circular vernier” [micrometer].

    -#3 - “combined steam engines” is a reference to the “ether” machine or “ether engine” invented in France in the 1840s by P.-V. Du Trembley. It is a combination water steam engine and ether steam engine. A good description is found in an 1855 journal, the “North British Review.”

    “It is called the Ether engine, and is wrought partly by steam and partly by ether. The heat of the water which condenses the steam from the steam cylinder, in place of being lost, is employed to raise into vapour a portion of ether in numerous tubes, and the expansive power of this vapour acts upon the piston of the Ether cylinder. The vapour of the ether is again converted into a fluid, which is again employed to act upon the piston.”

    In 1851, Mr. Du Trembley wrote a book in French that describes his ether engine. The title of the book is “Manuel Du Conducteur Des Machines A Vapeurs Combinees” [“Manuel for the Operator of the Combined Steam Engine”]. In this book, Du Tremblay praises Jean Laurent Palmer’s inventiveness in deep drawing of metal and says that without Palmer’s seamless tube, he would not have been able to perfect his Combined Steam Engine. The following is an excerpt from page 69 of the book. I did the translation.

    “I have completely renounced welded tubes and now use only the drawn or stretched seamless tubes such as those made by Mr. Palmer, wireworker, rue Montmorency,16, Paris. Their manufacture has become, in the hands of this skillful and ingenious mechanic, so simple, so quick, and its products are so excellent and so inexpensive, it is advantageous in all respects to use them exclusively. These tubes, carefully tested in a hydraulic press, are not subject to change when used in my combined steam engine. These tubes have made a success of my machines, but I must also say that I have contributed much to the development and improvement of the seamless tube by helping in every way their inventor, Mr. Palmer, and by using thousands of these tubes which at that time were not manufactured just for me.“

    -#4 - If this “Thirty three years of industrial service” is correct, and a birth date of Feb. 10, 1811 is correct (this date provided by rivett608 in Post #26), then Jean-Laurent Palmer would have started working with metal at the age of eleven.
    Last edited by honrick; 12-31-2012 at 01:22 PM. Reason: changed one work

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  19. #77
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    I was very pleased that Dr. Wm. B. Ashworth decided to write about Palmer on his birthday today Feb. 10 203 years ago………

    Jean-Laurent Palmer, a French metal worker and instrument maker, was born Feb. 10, 1811. Palmer ran a workshop in Paris that produced drawn wire and seamless metal tubes, and he apparently needed an instrument to measure wire diameter and the thickness of sheet stock and tube walls. In 1848, he produced this: a screw micrometer: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...DSCN8055_2.jpg . The idea for a micrometer—an instrument that measures distance or thickness by counting the turns of a screw--was 180 years old, and calipers were far older, but no one had ever combined the two into a single hand-held tool. Palmer's micrometer had two numerical scales--one to count the screw turns, and another to measure fractions of a turn. Since the threads were 1 mm apart, and since the fractional scale was divided into 20 parts, that means Palmers' instrument could measure thickness to an accuracy of .05 mm, and with a Vernier eye down to .01 mm. He got a patent for his device in 1848, and here are the drawings that accompanied his application. American Machinist - Google Books . Looks pretty simple, right? So none of this may impress you, if you are not an instrument maker or user, but take a look at a modern micrometer: Micrometer | Flickr - Photo Sharing! . It is practically identical to Palmer’s original instrument; 170 years of refinements have left the basic design unchanged. Seldom has an instrument sprung more fully formed from the head of Zeus or whoever is the god of instrument-making. Palmer got almost everything right, right from the get-go. Versions of his micrometer, or “Palmer” as the French still call it, were used in and around Paris until 1867, when one was spotted by an American company at a French trade show and put into mass production in the U.S., with Palmer, unfortunately, disappearing from the historical picture until fairly recently.

    There aren't many original Palmers around--original in that they were made by Palmer’s company shortly after 1848. But one of them is right here in Kansas City, in the collection of Bill Robertson, miniaturist extraordinaire, good friend of the History of Science Collection at the Linda Hall Library, and a subscriber to these anniversaries. Bill was so thrilled when he bagged a Palmer three years ago that he posted a very informative discussion of Palmer the man and Palmer the micrometer on a website that caters to collectors of antique measuring instruments: http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb...palmer-220198/ . Bill’s initial post (Bill’s user name is rivett608 on this website) resulted in a total of 75 responses that brought together more information on Jean-Laurent Palmer (such as his birth date, thankfully) than had ever before been assembled. One of the posters described a Palmer micrometer as “the Holy Grail of collectors of antique machinist measuring tools.” Congratulations, Bill. What does one do after he has the Holy Grail on his shelf?

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  21. #78
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    Bump...

    Was just showing this to someone tonight, that is the actual mic.... still not a lot of these around.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fciron View Post
    Well, the simplest answer is that hindsight is 20-20. Like most answers, it's an oversimplification.

    I think we some times forget about the differences between what was possible at a certain time and what was common practice. Means of communication were much slower and less reliable. New ideas did not propagate as quickly and were frequently hidden as trade secrets, rather than being displayed as patents. (A patent protects your product, but it reveals the principles of operation. If you have a revolutionary idea that can be applied to multiple products, you may feel more secure keeping it secret.)

    When Peter the Great took the throne in Russia it was a place as far away and exotic as the orient. One of the things that earned his title was establishing trade and communications with the rest of Europe. We credit Maudlay with the cross-slide because our cross-slides are direct linear descendants of Maudslay's. There seem to be competing British and Continental claims for almost every invention or discovery. (The Americans tend to enter the fray on the British side, if anyone is keeping score. )

    Do not underestimate the human resistance to change. We like to individually think of ourselves as open minded, but the principles of bureaucracy apply to even very small groups of people.

    It is actually a huge jump to go from a sheet metal gage to an all-purpose measuring device. It is another jump to go from the one size offered in the B&S catalog to a bigger size. However, once you open up the multiple size box it is only a small step to realize that a micrometer can be mounted in other configurations and create depth and inside mics.

    Sounds to me like the questions that keep you up at night are the sociological ones.
    Maybe they were trying to sell it to the military....the percussion system came about in the 1820's.....we used the flintlock until the 1840's and some troops were issued flintlocks going into battle in the civil war
    I have some collections and drooled at the sight of the Palmer...oh well...maybe someday

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    palmer.jpg Had to bump this. Good reading but no pictures.


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