Intact Gauge/indicator shop Waltham,MA - interest in the machines - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JGard911 View Post
    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.
    B C Ames company, also waltham. One of the old-timers I worked with in Waltham called them the offshoot of Waltham Watch.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by JGard911 View Post
    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.
    My brother and I share ownership of our family business and have a very similar difference in our vision for the 150+ year old company. It's sadly humbling to see companies/family's that didn't make it. So far, my brother and I have found a way to compromise and know that one of us can't always be right. Each direction has it's risks and benefits, and it takes a lot of faith and trust to find the middle ground.

  3. #23
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    That is a really handsome looking indicator! And Rivett, I know exactly how you feel!

  4. #24
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    Sad that so far, no real interest in the machines and shop furniture. preserving some or all of the company.
    I foresee lots of interest by carpetbaggers wanting to cherry pick the place.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by reggie_obe View Post
    Sad that so far, no real interest in the machines and shop furniture. preserving some or all of the company.
    I foresee lots of interest by carpetbaggers wanting to cherry pick the place.

    Why don't you step up and save it?

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  7. #26
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    Default Randall & Stickney thickness gauge

    randall-stickney-1.jpg

    randall-stickney-2.jpg

    randall-stickney-3.jpg

  8. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank R View Post
    Why don't you step up and save it?
    Sadly don't have the capital or the free time with a FT 40+ hour job. I work in an essential industry, no stopping to breath, even with all the COVID deaths we've had.
    I be happy to donate money and (if I could )vacation time to helping an organization like CAMA or Kinzers dismantle the shop if it would keep it out of the hands of the so called "collectors".
    Not to mention those that would amputate the legs from the lathes to make industrial tables.

  9. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton LeGeyt View Post
    ...I was able to tour an old shop in Waltham, MA yesterday and wanted to share what I saw....
    Thank you to you and Mr. Gardner for shining a light on this shop. It is, in 2021, a remarkable survivor and a priceless respository of what once was. I am not at all sanguine about what would come of either an auction or a museum acquisition, but it is hard to suggest anything better - we are notoriously poor when it comes to preservation. In my view, the best that can be done before it is too late is careful and complete photographic and textual documentation, done in a professional not a YouTube manner. This would likely entail financial support for the project from a philanthropic source and significant technical input from a panel of advisors such as several of the contributors to this space. The workplace cannot be preserved, but something of its significance can be should we ever again produce genuinely historically minded scholars.

    -Marty-

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  11. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Feldman View Post
    In my view, the best that can be done before it is too late is careful and complete photographic and textual documentation, done in a professional not a YouTube manner. This would likely entail financial support for the project from a philanthropic source and significant technical input from a panel of advisors such as several of the contributors to this space. The workplace cannot be preserved, but something of its significance can be should we ever again produce genuinely historically minded scholars.

    -Marty-
    Marty, Do you know of any examples of something like this that has been done and is available to view? I'd be curious to see it to try to understand what it would take to make it happen.

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    I guess the real question is, what does the owner want done with it? Does that plan include the building? The house in front? At this point the real estate far out values (in terms of cash) the contents.

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    I would love to magic all of those bench lathes and older flat belt machinery to me. (Magic being the only thing that could make it happen, being 700 miles away with $1000 discretionary to my name…)

    I can only imagine the pride one might feel making those same indicators on the original equipment. There designs definitely have appeal over more utilitarian modern ones. You can almost feel the heft of them just from the pictures.

    I suppose one would have to mostly CNC to make a go of resurrecting a company like that. But it would be amazing to have a backroom of everything original.

  14. #32
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    After looking at the pictures in the photo albums, I have these ideas:
    - Many of the small lathes are missing the tail stocks.
    - Many of the machines are set up for specific operations.
    - Most lack independent motors
    - Many are grouped together to run on belts.
    - Many are bolted down to heavy benches.

    All of these factors make many of the machines less valuable to the guy who just wants a small machine. The owner seems like a nice caring guy who wants to see these saved and not scrapped; and their primary interest is in the real estate (he told me so when I contacted him).

    It might be the case where a buyer would have to buy an entire table of machines, including the benches, to be usable. That might be a small market.

    Greenfield Village already has two complete line-driven machine shops so they probably are not interested.

    Unless a museum or someone with deep pockets saves the whole thing it will get dismantled and sold off. At least it wont get scrapped.

  15. #33
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    At least one of those Stark lathes missing the tailstock has it stuffed under the bench the machine is mounted on. I have the impression the owners of that shop probably would not have scapped those out. Just a guess. Also at least one Stark toolmaker's compound is visible under a bench.

  16. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton LeGeyt View Post
    Marty, Do you know of any examples of something like this that has been done and is available to view? I'd be curious to see it to try to understand what it would take to make it happen.
    No I don't. However, I am sure that many museums have, if only for inusrance purposes, archived their collections photographically. So I would guess that enquiring of museums with similar collections would be a starting point for getting leads on reputable, professional photographers and their costs, and also the options for archival storage of the material. That information would have to be in hand before seeking funding. Perhaps others here with museum connnections can comment. I may be way off base, but I imagine that this would be far from a million dollar project. With a bit of energy and creativity, obtaining financial support might be quite realistic. Again, others here with smallscale fundraising experience might comment.

    -Marty-

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    Museums generally have no money, they have budgets years in advance, they have lost much of their income due to lack of visitors in the pandemic, etc.

    What I have seen lately is successful go-fund-me sites to help with preservation of things we like, one to preserve Woodworker Phil Lowe’s drawing, the other to replace a van of a teacher/clockmaker. Both raised over 20k in less than a week. So there is money out there, it takes a good and realist plan.

  18. #36
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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.....
    Even though most are gone there are still a few old style manufacturing companies still operating in Waltham. I've driven past that one many times over the years and never suspected that most of the machinery are museum pieces.

    It's amazing how many machine tool and precision instrument companies started there. I've seen a copy of an old directory and the names are a who's who of that early industry including Stark, Ames, Webster Whitcomb, Van Norman, Derbyshire, Waltham Watch and many more.

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    Might see if you have a local historical society that would like to document it. Don't know if schools even have photography clubs and such anymore, but back when they did, documenting something would be a perfect project. Maybe a community college industrial program would like to document it for a project.

  20. #38
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    I have a few friends who are professional photographers in the area and could certainly do an excellent job of visually documenting the shop. The $$ would be an issue, as would timing, I'm not sure how long it might sit in an undisturbed state- cleaning it out and handling the estate is actively happening.

  21. #39
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    I went back to the shop yesterday and spent some time organizing parts and opening up even more drawers I'll share some more of what I found.

    There are some VERY complete sets of bench lathes. It looks like the shop had a single set of each collet size, so 1 set of #2, 1 set of #3,4 etc... Each of these sets appears to have had all sorts of specialty collets too- some for taper tooling, tailstock tooling, squares, different sizes etc... There are also many many step collets, most bored out to a single size. Many on the shop floor and many more (slightly rusted) in the attic.

    Here are some shots of a #4 lathe with all the attachments around it. Present is collets, compound, tailstock, turret, cross slide, steady rest, many faceplates, 3 and 4 jaw chucks, grinding attachments, tool rest etc... A very quick informal check with my indicator showed a surprising .0002 runout in the (smoothly rotating) spindle. Needle didn't move with hand pressure applied to the side either. Collet closer works just fine

    stark-4-whole.jpgstark-4-collets-parts.jpgstark-4-accessories.jpg

    There are many compounds scattered around the shop and many other parts as well- extra tailstocks (screw and lever), milling attachments, grinding attachments etc... Every bench lathe has a countershaft and motor (all 3 phase)

    None of the tailstock tapers are morse tapers, unfortunately. On the #4 lathes they are between a 1 and 2. I did not measure the exact taper, some searching makes me think they are proprietary. There are many centers and chucks that fit there already.

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  23. #40
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    And here is a 3.5 lathe, with all its parts. Actually 2- one fully setup and running and basic parts for a whole other. The second bed is under the bench. The second headstock was frozen, but otherwise appeared in great shape.

    The 3.5 had a more complete collet set, compound, screw tailstock, set over lever tailstock, set over jeweling tailstock, collet mounted small 3 and 4 jaw chucks, step collets etc... Also present (found elsewhere in a drawer) was the ball turning slide This is a very complete setup in great shape. The collet bore was slightly more worn than the #4 but an indicator on the rear portion (least wear) showed a similar level of runout, .0002. I could not get the spindle protector off in the time I was there, no idea on the spindle threads.

    stark-3.5-bench-drawers.jpgstark-3.5-whole2.jpgstark-3.5-accessories.jpgstark-3.5-radius-tool.jpg

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