Intact Gauge/indicator shop Waltham,MA - interest in the machines
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  1. #1
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    Default Intact Gauge/indicator shop Waltham,MA - interest in the machines

    Hello all,

    I was able to tour an old shop in Waltham, MA yesterday and wanted to share what I saw. For reference, it is the shop from this thread:

    Clearing out old machine shop

    It was/is the Randall & Stickney Gauge and Indicator shop. The current owner of the shop is a very nice guy but not well versed in machine tools. I had reached out to him after seeing his initial thread and offered to help give a sense of what was in there. My interests are primarily focused on Waltham (and similar) era bench lathes/mills from the 30's or so and there is a lot of that in there. Bigger stuff as well, which I don't know the specifics of as well.

    The stuff does need to go- not necessarily immediately but sooner rather than later. He has been encouraged to reach out to the Charles River Museum but has been having trouble getting someone over there to look through everything. Assuming they don't want all the stuff (and there is a lot there) the owner was hoping to get a sense of what kind of interest there might be in the machines and tooling. I realize this is impossible to gauge fully without a complete inventory list, but I can share a few shots of what I saw. There is the possibility of going back and documenting what is there more fully.

    Here are some shots from the upstairs room, which has the majority of the bench lathes setup. One side is all Stark bench lathes and the other has smaller watchmaking sized tools- small sensitive drills, a sensitive tapping machine, indexing slides etc...

    Attachment 329077whole-shop-2.jpgwhole-shop-3.jpg

    I don't have a shot of the first floor main room, where there are some larger machines. A B&S horizontal mill with a cabinet of tooling, a very clean Hardinge DV-59 and a clean HSL machine, a large flat belt driven Landis cyclindrical grinder (with accessories, also flat belt driven) and its corresponding complex countershaft system, older Reed lathes (maybe 16" swing?) and what looks like a Barnes lathe. I'm not as sure on the older stuff. And I realize I should have pictures- apologies, it was a little overwhelming!

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    The majority of the smaller (bench style) machines are Stark machines and I don't think its an exaggeration to say that there might be one of every size lathe they made. Most are fully tooled with accessories (compounds, screw and lever tailstocks, steady rests etc...) Unclear how many full collet sets there are, although there are a few at least. Some of the lathes looked to be running larger step collets exclusively and there are many many of those. Nothing appeared to be worn excessively (as so much ebay stuff seems to be) and there was surprisingly little rust present. I would imagine it would be a minumum of TLC to get everything running. Here are some shots-

    stark-lathe-whole.jpgstark-lathe-collets-cabinet.jpgstark-collets2.jpgstark-lathe-accessories.jpgstark-smaller-lathes.jpg

    This is a small group of what is there- I'd say there are 5-6 full size (size 3.5-4) machines and more smaller ones. All the motors are 3 phase and it is a split between the mechanical variable speed motors you can see in some photos and more complex countershafts.

    In the attic are even more Stark parts- extra headstocks, milling attachments, overhead shafts, mystery (or purpose built) fixtures meant to work with split bed style machines, a pile of 3 step flat belt cone pulleys and even more single flat belt pulleys.

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    There are a few bench milling machines. 3 Pratt and Whitney machines and a Stark.

    The Stark looks to be in good shape. The vise is there, there are extra arbors (although no overarm). The indexing head and tailstock are present and there are boxes of indexing plates underneath, most appear to have never been opened. I'm guessing maybe 20 or so are down there. Some low numbered (4 divisions) and some higher, the one I opened was 144.

    stark-bench-mill.jpgstark-bench-mill-plates-tail.jpg

    The Pratt and Whitney machines are the lever hand miller-style. One is set up with only levers, there are pictures of that in the original thread I believe. The other 2 appear to be setup to cut the racks in the indicator spindles and have what I assume is a x axis power feed worm gear on the front. Not sure that's what it is, but its my quick guess. These machines look clean and have 2 DC drives each- one for the spindle and another for the power feed, if that's what it is. No idea if there is extra tooling for these, that would require more investigation.

    p-w-pair-machines.jpgp-w-arbor-over-jig.jpgp-w-worm-gear-drive.jpg

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    An interesting oddity- Under one of the benches , covered up with an oily cloth, was this machine:

    chase-screwcutting-lathe.jpgchase-screwcutting-lathe-back.jpg

    Appears to be a chase screwcutting setup with a live spindle. The tooling mounted to it was what looked like a gear hob but was instead (I think) a version of a thread mill. Appeared to be for threading the inside of a thin ring for the indicators, I would guess the big handwheel meant the actual spindle was never run on a belt, just fed in and out enough to mill the few threads. There were lots more little thread mill cutters in the drawers above. I didn't see anything like this in the Stark section of Tony's site- the spindle gear was integral to the cone pulley, not stuck on the back.

    This is only a part of all that was there- I'll get more pictures if I go back and if you go to the profile of user Jgard911 (the owner of the property) he has an album of photos that show more stuff- One of the more interesting pieces being a small-ish planer- J. S. Wheeler & Co., Iron Planer

    I hope this is all interesting, if this stuff looks enticing please let the owner know (in this thread, or however).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton LeGeyt View Post
    ......

    In the attic are even more Stark parts- extra headstocks, milling attachments, overhead shafts, mystery (or purpose built) fixtures meant to work with split bed style machines, a pile of 3 step flat belt cone pulleys and even more single flat belt pulleys.
    I'd be interested in any stray flat belt pulleys and cone pulleys that don't belong with machines.

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    Added photos of all equipment to albums "Frank E Randall Company I" and "Frank E Randall Company II"
    https://www.practicalmachinist.com/v...ard911/albums/

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    wow, that's incredible. Looks like a time machine and everything is clearly well looked after. It's a shame that it can't be kept as a going concern or a living museum, but time moves on I guess. I hope that it all finds new homes.

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    WOW, can I come visit?

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    It looks like everyone just clocked out went home and never went back. It’s mind blowing that these shops just show up every now and then. I would love to have afew hours to just wander around in there turning dials and opening drawers

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    I'm nosy. Be neat to see the office(s) and store room(s) too.

    Bill

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    Just an amazing blast from the past. Another Episode of the Twighlight Zone. I’m waiting for Rod Serling to be standing in a doorway with a lit cigarette in his hand.

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    I'm not sure I could bring myself to dismantle such a collection

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in PA View Post
    I'm nosy. Be neat to see the office(s) and store room(s) too.

    Bill
    Along those lines, I hope that any special tooling, prints, and extra stock stays together. There's a chance that another US gauge company might be interested in taking it on for the Legacy work.

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    Oh my, I didn't realize there were many factories left in the US of that nature. Roughly how many square feet on each floor?

    If I were younger I would be so tempted to take this on.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by rivett608 View Post
    Oh my, I didn't realize there were many factories left in the US of that nature. Roughly how many square feet on each floor?

    If I were younger I would be so tempted to take this on.....
    I'm so bad with square footage- The building is L shaped, and I would have mistaken it for a residential building, albeit with a lot of windows and an odd porch (loading dock?). It may have been a semi-industrial area when it was built but it is definitely a residential neighborhood now. Each long wall of the L is maybe 30 feet? That is a semi-guess. 2 floors of active workspace and an attic with stored excess parts/casting/patterns and the basement with stock and the planer and old surface grinder.

    Some of the watchmaker sized tools were made in house- stamped with the company name. A few milling/grinding attachments too. Very well made, they fit right in with all the other tooling.

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    The shop operated primarily on two floors about 900 sq. feet each. The attic was kind of a "bone yard" about the same size with low head room. There were also the two large machines in the basement and storage space for trash barrels full of scrap metal shavings. There was also an office in the main house with a couple desks, several filing cabinets and a safe. A full time secretary worked out of there.


    Quote Originally Posted by rivett608 View Post
    Oh my, I didn't realize there were many factories left in the US of that nature. Roughly how many square feet on each floor?

    If I were younger I would be so tempted to take this on.....

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    I have a couple Randall & Stickney indicators in my collection. Very nicely made.

    Sent from my LM-G900TM using Tapatalk

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    Did i miss it somewhere in the multiple posts-
    When was the last gage made?
    When did the last employee leave the shop?
    When did the office close/last inventory item sold?

    Thanks!


    PS: Plenty of indicators and gages are still sold.
    No one would set up a shop with that machinery today;
    However, with everything in place, a person would only have to make and sell, what - 1,000 or so units/year to make a decent living? I suppose phone calls and spare parts could kill you, though. Should have re-purposed the product for something for quilters or hobby jewelers or printers. Those people will buy all sorts of classic gadgets.

    smt<------lives with sometime jeweler and oftentimes quilter

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephen thomas View Post
    Did i miss it somewhere in the multiple posts-
    When was the last gage made?
    When did the last employee leave the shop?
    When did the office close/last inventory item sold?

    Thanks!


    PS: Plenty of indicators and gages are still sold.
    No one would set up a shop with that machinery today;
    However, with everything in place, a person would only have to make and sell, what - 1,000 or so units/year to make a decent living? I suppose phone calls and spare parts could kill you, though. Should have re-purposed the product for something for quilters or hobby jewelers or printers. Those people will buy all sorts of classic gadgets.

    smt<------lives with sometime jeweler and oftentimes quilter
    I don't exactly remember the circumstances or when the shop finally closed. I believe there was a disagreement between 2 brothers and their visions for the future of the company. I think one of them wanted to modernize, with newer CNC machines, and diversify what the company did, and the other wanted to continue to do things the way they always had. One brother moved on and bought B C Ames Company and had some competing products. I don't think that lack of demand for new products or repair requests was necessarily an issue. I think we could build complete new gauges with the spare parts sitting around. There are about 10 gauges sitting on a bench disassembled that were obviously being repaired. They were covered over with newspapers dated 2005.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rivett608 View Post
    Oh my, I didn't realize there were many factories left in the US of that nature.
    ..there are a few out there and we should drop a dollar in their boxes to keep them going...

    I just sold my Eli.....

    Kregel Windmill Factory Museum - Nebraska City |

    Mike

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