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  1. #1
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    I was just given a very nice old Pratt & Whitney catalogue from 1911, its a book actually, hard bound and around 280 pages of good stuff, nice photos of their machine tools and accessories.

    At the same time I looked through my book "Accuracy for seventy years" Pratt & Whitney history 1860-1930 - I wonder what happened to this great company. I know the aircraft engines, which were latecomers to the company, are going well, what happened to the machine tool side?

    I see P&W were taken over in 1901 by Niles-Bement Pond co. Is this any relation to the Niles lathe builders?

    Also was given a small book produced by Kearney & Trecker "Milling Practise Series, Book 1, which the owner wrote away for during WW2, and this is what he recieved. Still has the type written note explaining that the promised later series were on hold due to the war, and please don't write asking for them! Contains speed/feed calulators too.

    These are from an elderly ex-work colleague, a man who loved machining and machinery and only retired from machining when 79 years, old who is worried about leaving 'junk' behind, and wanted a good home for his books. I am glad to offer them a good home.

    [This message has been edited by Peter S (edited 01-28-2004).]

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    Peter:
    Very nice find. Is there any information in the p&w catalogue on Planers?
    I am restoring a pre 1869 p&w planer, and am looking for any information I can find.

    See some pic's here
    http://www.angelfire.com/sc3/shapeaholic/index.html

    Cheers

    Pete Verbree

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    The gage and measuring tool activity of Pratt & Whitney survives. See www.prattandwhitney.com. Their website includes a history timeline. Included is that Frederick Rentschler, designer of the Wasp radial engine apprached P&W in 1925 for funds and manufacturing capacity for his engine. This association continued to 1929 when it then became part of United Aircraft (now United Technologies). Though it was no longer part of the original Pratt & Whitney company, the Pratt & Whitney name continued to be used for the aircraft engines. At some point after being part of Niles-Bement-Pond, they were part of a concern called Fairbanks-Whitney (Fairbanks as in Fairbanks Morse?). Then they were part of the conglomerate called Colt Industries, I think until their demise as a machine tool builder in the late 1980's-early 1990's. I don't have my references handy, but I think Niles was located in Ohio and mostly built large lathes, Bement was originally Bement, Miles (not Niles) of Philadelphia. Pond I think was in New Jersey. They combined sometime in the late 19th century. Cope's new book on American lathe builders probably answers this. I've seen more modern lathes with the Niles name, I think made in Germany. I don't know if this has any historic connection with N-B-P (e.g. a plant set up by them originally in Germany) or if it's just a conincidental name.

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    Pete,
    I can't see any planers in the 1911 catalogue, and in the "Accuracy for 70 years" (Lindsay reprint) I can't see any planers mentioned, except one photo of a planer at work, described as a 'Pond' planer.
    BTW, very nice planer, looks like the perfect size for a home workshop!

    Dave,
    Thanks for the link to P&W (you have to remove the last '.' from the address to make it work).
    I didn't realise the aircraft engine side had split off so early.
    According to one of my engine books, Rentschler had been President at Wright and left there as a result of internal discord over future direction of engine development.

    I wonder when P&W stopped producing machine tools?


    [This message has been edited by Peter S (edited 01-28-2004).]

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    old_dave:

    The Fairbanks was Fairbanks Morse and FM was jumbled into Colt Industries along with Pratt & Whitney.

    When I was visiting there, Pratt & Whitney usually meant the Aricrafe Engine Plant in East Hahtfuhd.

    Over in West Hahtfuhd was the Pratt & Whitney Small Tools.

    I could never for the life of me figure out how that distinctin was made. "It was a Hartford Thing, I wouldn't Understand".

    Hardly ever mentioned are the Pratt & Whitney Die Sinkers, Kellering Machines and Profilers. They did a big business in them even up till the late sixties.

    P & W also manufactured and sold the Potter and Johnston Automatic Turret Lathes.

    They were also the sales agents for the New England electronic tracer and profile mills. (a speciality of mine)
    It's no wonder that it hard to keep track of the variety of machine tools manufactured by that company.

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    they also made a bunch of special machines for gun making.... the arsenals were full of them. I collect thier early measuring tools and have a measuring machine from them made in 1884, fantastic workmanship.... they also bought out the Hartford tool co.... makers of an inside micrometer and the Kidd's patent divider and had a few small tools of their own design.

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    Rivett:

    P & W were the ones who bought out Lufkin Rule Co, line of Micrometers and other measuring tools. they didn't change them except for the markings "P & W".

    Their plant was one of those thousand acres under one roof jobs and you could see them making Huge profilers and just down the aisle, it seems, they were grinding 5/16- 18 Taps!.

    Pratt & Whitney was very aggressive in the N.C. field. This was natural due to their extensive experience with profile mills and the Keller Machines.

    Right in the same plant, P & W made their own N.C. controls. I watched the N.C. controlled wire wrap machines making the connections at the back of the card edge connector racks. Miles and miles of wires. This was state of the art then, they did it just like IBM did over in Endicott on the big 7070 Mainframes.

    Over in the corner they had their Machinery Trading division that did rebuilding. They would do their own brand of machine tools or anybody else's.

    In that department they had a Pratt & Whitney 16 inch Lathe with a Hydraulic Shift Headstock. This was a Prototype machine. Since Monarch, Lodge and Shipley and LeBlond had Hydraulic shift, Pratt & Whitney thought they would have to offer it also.

    Unfortunately, the sales figures for the P & W lathes weren't strong enough for the company to stay in the Lathe Business.

    THAT was a One of a Kind if ever there was one, I wonder what happened to it.

    Being in New England and being Lathe Makers it is also natuural that P & W made gun drillers.

    Their's were two spindle jobs and were very heavily built. They had a companion gun reaming machine.

    Since the machines didn't wear much they last forever. I still see them occasionally. They would do up to a 1/2 inch bore, so just about everybody had a few, the big guys had "lines" of them. That machine is one of the reasons that gun barrels are almost a Commodiity Item.

    And to think, while all this was going on, P & W still had the resources to give SIP a Hard Time in the Jig Borer and Measring Machine Business and lap a Gauge Block or two on the side.

    Charlie Daniels was NOT the first one to come up with-

    "I Told You Once, You S.O.B., I'm The Best There's Ever Been!"

    I watched Pratt & Whitney DO It.




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    Jim K that sounds like it was a cool place to visit with all that going on........ your first coments about P&W taking over Lufkin I have never heard before,,,, is there a published refrence to this? what is it? I collect machinist's measuring tools from 1820 -1920 so I generally consider Lufkin a little to "modern" for my tastes but do like to kind of know what happened to all these makers... and there were a lot of them. Thanks

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    I have a "recent" catalog for Lufkin, can't be much older than the 60's if that. No mention of P&W in it.

    When was the buyout?

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    Pratt & Whitney bought the Lufkin precision tool line in the mid to late 1960's.

    Lufkin is probably not shy about it, just ask them and they will probably give you better details than I can.

    BTW, I really don't know if Lufkin Rule is stll in business.

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    Lufkin is now part of Cooper Hand Tools which is part of Cooper Industries. Looks like it's mostly tape measures and such.
    David

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    re. gun barrel machinery,
    I noticed in the 1911 catalogue, after the Nos. 11, 12, 13 & 14 Profiling Machines (and cutters for these machines) comes the No.1 Gun Barrel and Tube Drilling Machine (range - diameters up tom 13/16", lengths from 14 1/2" up to 53 3/4", depending on bed length), then a few more up to 3" dia capacity, a Gun Barrel Drill Grinder, then barrel reaming machines, lapping machines, and a range of rifling machines.
    Then you are into the Die Sinking Machines "For sinking forging dies these machines have been proved to be indispensable in forging plants the world over".

    nb. some of the barrel making machinery is 'Made To Order Only".

    Jim, thanks for the P&W insights.

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    Good Afternoon, All --

    There were some interesting goings-on behind Pratt and Whitney Machine Tool in the 1900's, but the corporate who's-doing-what-to-whom goes back to Niles Tool Works of Cincinnati (originally) and Hamilton (later), Ohio.

    I started to research this story several years ago, but got sidetracked and now can't find my notebook . . . so the dates are from memory.

    In the late 1890's the Niles Tool Works bought one of their competitors, Pond Machine Tool. A year later Niles bought another competitor, Bement, Miles, and Company of Philadelphia and merged the three companies into Niles-Bement-Pond. (I speculate -- for reasons that become evident later -- that Niles-Bement-Pond continued to operate Niles Tool Works as a division of the parent company.)

    At about that same time, Niles opened a subsidiary in Germany and actually exported American machine-tool manufacturing technology to Europe. (As you would expect, American ownership of the German subsidiary was a casualty of war.)

    Only a couple of years later, Niles-Bement-Pond bought Pratt & Whitney and several smaller machine-tool makers, becoming the "800 pound gorilla" of US machine tool makers.

    Meanwhile, in the mid 1920's, several senior executives and engineers at Wright Aeronautical had become frustrated enough with Wright that they decided to leave Wright to start a new company to make a modern aircraft engine. The "ringleader", a Frederick Rentschler, had a personal relationship with Pratt & Whitney's president (??), and went to Hartford to ask for financial backing.

    Pratt and Whitney Machine Tool loaned Rentschler and his associates a quarter of a million dollars to get his new aircraft engine manufacturing company going, and rented the new company manufacturing space. At this point, it is not clear if the aircraft engine maker licensed the Pratt & Whitney name or not . . . there is at least one report that the P&W name was originally applied to the aircraft engine maker by mistake; it seems that P&W Machine Tool's foundry made the cast the crankcase for the first engines and had cast their name into the crankcase. Then, a Navy clerk keeping test records for the engine trials misunderstood the intent of the Pratt & Whitney label cast into the crankcase, and recorded Pratt & Whitney as the engine maker. Supposedly Rentschler and his associates quickly realized that it would be better to license the Pratt and Whitney name for their aircraft engine company than to try to change the government records.

    Niles wasn't the only machine builder in Hamilton, Ohio . . . Frederick Rentschler's father had, many years earlier, founded a company by the name of Hooven, Owens, and Rentschler in Hamilton that primarily built stationary steam and diesel engines. [A H-O-R diesel, a double-acting two-stroke, was used in a dozen US submarines at the start of WWII . . . but it wouldn't withstand the flexing of the hull. All subs originally fitted with the H-O-R engines were quickly retrofitted with GM Winton (aka GM Cleveland) or Fairbanks-Morse OP engines.]

    In 1928, Niles merged with H-O-R and the merged company took a new name, General Machinery Company. Then, in 1947, General Machinery merged with Lima Locomotive to form Lima-Hamilton. Two years later, Lima-Hamilton was merged into Philadelphia's Baldwin Locomotive, creating Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation.

    But there's some mud in the water, because records show that in 1945 Chandler-Evans absorbed Niles-Bement-Pond. (My speculation: If N-B-P was still in operation in 1945 under the N-B-P name, then it must have been a Niles-named subsidiary of N-B-P that merged with H-O-R eighteen years earlier.)

    Now we need to introduce another player, the Pennsylvania Coal and Coke Corporation. As Pennsylvania Coal diversified from mining into manufacturing they changed their name to Penn-Texas Corporation in 1954. Very shortly afterward, Penn-Texas bought control of Colt's Firearm Manufacturing of Hartford, Connecticut.

    The next year, in 1955, Chandler Evans merged into Penn-Texas Corporation. Three years later, Penn-Texas merged with Fairbanks-Morse, and the name of the combined company was changed to Fairbanks-Whitney.

    Several years later, in 1964, Fairbanks-Whitney changed their corporate name to Colt Industries.

    At the end of 1966 Lufkin Rule Company sold their precision measuring tool product line, including designs and manufacturing machinery to the Pratt & Whitney Division of Colt Industries. Pratt & Whitney moved the machinery from Saginaw to Hartford and replaced the Lufkin branding with P&W.

    After several years, Colt/P&W "pulled the plug" on their ex-Lufkin line of precision measuring tools. (I have heard that the line was severely curtailed in 1969 and dropped totally in 1971.)

    P&W's last days as a machine tool builder in Hartford were under Colt ownership, and as Colt was having severe financial problems of their own in the 1980's they sold off the profitable bit of P&W -- metrological equipment -- and closed down the rest.

    Cincinnati Milacron bought the machine-tool intellectual property and design files, and Milacron's successor today, Cincinnati Machine, sells OEM parts for some of the P&W machine tools.

    Colt Industries sold their firearms-making business and changed their name to Coltec. Coltec eventually bought B F Goodrich's non-tire businesses and took the B F Goodrich name for the whole.

    I understand that today's Niles-Simmons is the US marketing and servicing subsidiary of the German-owned successor of Niles Tool Work's German subsidiary.

    Whew!

    And if any of you can fill in any missing pieces of this story . . . PLEASE do.

    John


  14. #14
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    Pratt and Whitney tool was also involved in manufacturing guns in the 1870-1880's. Specifically the Gardner rapid fire gun, a contemporary of the Gatling and IMHO, the apex of evolution for the manually operated machine guns. My current project is to resurrect this gun in minature form and I will be presenting a model at the Shot Show in two weeks.

    If you're interested in the history of this company, contact David Corrigan (Curator of the Colt's collection) at the CT State Library and Museum. He and the main curator are very strong students of the development of machine tools in CT and a wealth of knowledge.

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    To JIMK:\
    I saw that prototype P&W lathe sell last year on ebay. It went for about $3500. I wish I had had the money. I knew what it was when I saw it. I'm not too upset set. I have a 1953 16 x 54 model C. I can't wait to get it running...Bill

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    John-

    somewhere in there is also Shepherd-Niles, which was sold off 2 summers ago near here in Montour Falls. They made the huge overhead shop cranes. Including the one that held the first A-bomb. In the factory was huge Niles-Bement boring mill in excellent shape and current use.

    smt

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    John,
    You asked if any one had any additional info, Here is what I know. I am from Lima, Ohio and recently hae been looking into the old Lima Locomotive Works. You were right Baldwin, Lima, & Hamilton combined to create BLH as it was known in Lima at their facility there . This was the last rements of Lima Loco Works. BLH shared a building with Ohio Steel(they forged their castings) between Buckeye Rd. and 4th St. in Lima Across from the Loco works 65 acre site which is still intact and owned by the City of Lima. There are still 3 remaining builings which at one 80% of the 65 acres was covered. Allen Co. Museam has many old records on file for both Lima Loco and BLH. Baldwin and Lima combined after several years of being fierce competetors to help Them remain in the dying field of steam loco manufacturing. BLH also produced the famous Lima Cranes, many of which are still in use today. The Loco Works had previously purchased Lima Steam Schovel, I believe in 1929. BLH manufactured until the 1960's and was purchased by Clark Equipment which operated in Lima until 1983 when Clark dissolved that division. Clark built mostly large front end loaders for the coal mining industry. If you have any aditional info on Lima Loco please share. I shared with you in another thread that my deceased Father was plant manager at Excello Turbine Division which was located in same complex as BLH.

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    Pratt & Whitney Measurement Systems has updated their history page. At the bottom of the page are pdf files for a copy of the book "Accuracy for Seventy Years 1860-1930".

    It is a long download though.

    The address is:

    http://www.prattandwhitney.com/history.htm

    They are also listed on a site that lists
    companies that are "pro-American". It is the only one in the manufacturing category. The site is:
    http://www.toraw.org/support_these_p..._companies.htm


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    Here are some pictures from P&W Measurement Systems history room in Bloomfield, CT:

    Mr. Pratt & Mr. Whitney with employees in 1896: http://img78.photobucket.com/albums/...r-pw-w-emp.jpg

    Francis Pratt:
    http://img78.photobucket.com/albums/...ncis-pratt.jpg

    A 1915 Measuring Machine:
    http://img78.photobucket.com/albums/...uring-mach.jpg

    A 1921 Supermicrometer:
    http://img78.photobucket.com/albums/...crometer-A.jpg

    1928 Directors meeting:
    http://img78.photobucket.com/albums/...eting-1928.jpg

    The West Hartford plant in 1930: http://img78.photobucket.com/albums/...t-wh-plant.jpg

    I have additional pictures available in a photo album at www.photobucket.com. Goto Album: pratt1

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    those are great...... I would like to add that early model of the Super Mic to my collection......


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