Rare, New Starrett Finds by Roger K. Smith
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    Default Rare, New Starrett Finds by Roger K. Smith

    This thread is a presentation of 3 early, interesting and rare Starrett tools found and researched by Roger K. Smith. I have done this thread entirely on my iPad, so I hope it works for his sake.

    Most tool collectors know the name of Roger K. Smith. Many own his fabulously researched, written and illustrated books, Patented Transitional & Metallic Planes in America, vols 1 & 2. And many identify their planes referencing his seminal Stanley plane Type Studies. But, few know that Roger also is a fabulous finder and researcher of antique machinist tools.


    Below in his own words and including his pictures I edited to hopefully fit are the finds.
    Roger K. Smith wrote:

    “I am sending you info on 3 Starrett tools that you can report for your chat group.
    Attached in this email are photos of the early Vernier Caliper. This caliper is only shown in the May 1st, 1886 catalog. It is not shown in the 1884 catalog (and 1885 catalog is not known). 1887 catalog is not available and it is not shown in the 1888 or later catalogs. Apparently the No. 28 Caliper Square, shown in at least the 1888 and later catalogs, replaced it. The specimen is identical to the catalog description. Assembly (No.) 29 is stamped on the inside faces of both the parts with a locking screw (one locking-screw is missing).”










    “This is the first Starrett Vulcan Screwdriver in captivity that I am aware of. It is a 6” size, but is actually 6 ¾” total length. The only marks are PAT’D MAY 7, OCT. 8, 1889 stamped on the shank. (I could not find any Starrett patents for those dates.) It is only shown in the Catalog No. 13 (c. 1895 reprint). It may be in Catalog No. 12, but I do not have that catalog available.”










    “The Starrett Catalog No. 22 (1919) illustrates the No. 650 and 650-M Micrometers. The cut shows the L.S. Starrett Co. markings, etc. stamped or cast into the face of the frame. This reminded me of the Brown & Sharp Brownie micrometer of about the same vintage. This does have Brownie cast inside the face of the frame. I had been looking for an example of the No. 650 for several years. As luck would have it last fall, within a month, I found a No. 650 and a No. 650-M. Neither of them has any markings on the frame. The No. 650 has L. S. Starrett Co., etc. stamped on the thimble, but no number. The No. 650-M has the Starrett Co. imprint and No. 650-M stamped on the thimble. Apparently another example of the “artist’s license” when putting together a catalog.”






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    Please, if anyone is going to Martin Donnelly's July auction next week, you might look at Lot 394 in the two metal containers shown at the top of the picture to see if there is a replacement for the missing screw on Rogers Starrett caliper. It is possible, not likely.

    Note that the nut is not a typical Starrett one, it is early.


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    Quote Originally Posted by AntiqueMac View Post
    . . . “The Starrett Catalog No. 22 (1919) illustrates the No. 650 and 650-M Micrometers. The cut shows the L.S. Starrett Co. markings, etc. stamped or cast into the face of the frame. This reminded me of the Brown & Sharp Brownie micrometer of about the same vintage. This does have Brownie cast inside the face of the frame. I had been looking for an example of the No. 650 for several years. As luck would have it last fall, within a month, I found a No. 650 and a No. 650-M. Neither of them has any markings on the frame. The No. 650 has L. S. Starrett Co., etc. stamped on the thimble, but no number. The No. 650-M has the Starrett Co. imprint and No. 650-M stamped on the thimble. Apparently another example of the “artist’s license” when putting together a catalog.” . . .
    Item #443 in this PDF looks to be an even earlier version of this mic (if the link doesn't work, search "COFES micrometers"):

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...BGUQK1G3ZfmANQ

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    PeteM,

    Since the item 443 is unmarked and does not have an early Starrett knurling standard, I'm skeptical it is what is reported there. For those that are interested in seeing go to page 158 in the PDF.


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    I have one of the # 650 mics in the box with papers....... they are pretty rare as I have only seen a few in all these years. It was LSS's idea of a low cost mic....... as for the screwdriver.... I want one, I have looked for a example for years and only saw one and it was too rusty to own. I may have one of the calipers too.... I'll have to look in stuff..... however it is similar in some ways to Starrett's pretty curved jaw one... I can't remember the number...



    Anyway great to share Roger's stuff........ Thanks

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    I bet the May 7 Patent is William Wilson Lee's use of Borax in welds? Number 402947

    allan

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    Quote Originally Posted by AntiqueMac View Post
    PeteM,

    Since the item 443 is unmarked and does not have an early Starrett knurling standard, I'm skeptical it is what is reported there. For those that are interested in seeing go to page 158 in the PDF.


    Hard to say. The spindle/thimble look the same as early Starrett. What's unmarked is the frame. However, the speeder on the end was turned or ground down at the very end by some previous owner, if that's the strange knurling standard that caught your eye? Don't have the mic any more to report much more about it.

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    AntiqueMac:

    You should invite Rodger K. Smith to join Antique Machinery & History. Point out that he can join with an anonymous screen name if he so wishes. If you cannot get him to join, at least urge him to read the forum.

    His magnum opus Antique Transitional and Metallic Planes in America is often referred to by the acronym "PTAMPIA". I'd be willing to bet that at least a few people have seen references to PTAMPIA without knowing what it stands for.

    As to the missing adjustment nut, the challenge is, of course, the knurling.

    I do feel that I have to make a comment about something that Rivett608 wrote. He wrote that the only Starrett Vulcan screwdriver he'd ever seen was "too rusty to own". I would have seen this differently. If the price was right, I would have added it to my collection, re-rusted it as best as possible with electrolysis or other method, and held it until a better example cam along. This would especially be true for something like a Starrett Vulcan screwdriver where only a few examples are known to exist.

    The Vulcan seems like the type of item I might yet find while searching through a "box of rust" at a flea market. One never knows what will be at a flea market; the only way to find out is to attend and make a thorough search of all the boxes. Somewhere, down at the bottom with the discarded plumbing and electrical parts may lurk the Vulcan. I keep telling myself this as the joints protest yet another rise from the squatting position after searching a box under the front edge of a flea table.

    JRR

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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthBendModel34 View Post
    ...As to the missing adjustment nut, the challenge is, of course, the knurling...
    I showed how simple it is to make rounded knurled parts here a while back. See posts 6 and 7 here: http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb...lipers-234340/

    Larry

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    My father was an avid collector of early American woodworking tools and at one time was president of the Midwest Tool Collector's Association. Following dad's death in 1989 Roger Smith traveled to Atlanta to appraise the collection and advise my brother and I on preparing it for auction. Roger spent a week with us, arriving daily at 6:30am and working well into the evening, sometimes as late as 9:00 pm. His knowledge was astounding and his advice invaluable. I had no idea he was still "at it".

    ~Tommy Ward~

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    "I do feel that I have to make a comment about something that Rivett608 wrote. He wrote that the only Starrett Vulcan screwdriver he'd ever seen was "too rusty to own". I would have seen this differently. If the price was right, I would have added it to my collection, re-rusted it as best as possible with electrolysis or other method, and held it until a better example cam along. This would especially be true for something like a Starrett Vulcan screwdriver where only a few examples are known to exist."..... normally I would say you are right but my recollection in this case was the thing was real expensive..... the tool dealer knew it was rare and thought for sure I would buy it at any price.... it was something $ 250!!!!!...... one funny thing is when people find out you collect old tools sometimes they ask to get rust off stuff thinking that you buy rusty wrenches, etc..... I just tell them I don't know, I don't buy rust. That said I will buy really rare things but do consider condition and price.

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    Rivett608

    The key phrase is "if the price was right". Buying "rusty treasures" is a lot more fun at one dollar a pop than at two hundred and fifty dollars a pop. Yep, I would have had the same reaction to that "deal" that you did !

    John Ruth

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    Roger K. Smith provided an update of the vernier caliper information. It is interesting that Starrett stopped making the caliper and then started again years later. Here is Rogers's update and a catalog page:

    "The Starrett Caliper Square No. 427 with straight jaws is shown in Catalog No. 22 (1919). It may have been first shown in Cat. No. 21 (1916), but I do not have that available. This is nearly identical in design to the early model that I reported (shown in the 1886 catalog). Apparently they revived it 32 years later.

    Also shown with the No. 427 is a No. 428 Caliper Square with curved jaws. Both the No. 427 and No. 428 were offered with either a hand-adjustment or screw-adjustment. The catalog illustration shows the 427 with the screw-adjustment and the 4278 with the hand-adjustment. Apparently the one shown in a previous post by Rivett608 is the screw-adjustment model. They are last shown in Catalog No. 23 (1924).

    Does anyone have a No. 438 dovetail vernier caliper first shown in catalog No. 25 (1930)? "


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    Thanks for the update.... I knew it looked sort of like mine with the curved jaw.... now we know why. Now if I could only find one of those screwdrivers in nice shape......

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    Quote Originally Posted by L Vanice View Post
    I showed how simple it is to make rounded knurled parts here a while back. See posts 6 and 7 here: http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb...lipers-234340/
    Larry,

    I like your way of doing it. I've been wanting to make a tool rest which I don't have now. Frank Ford also shows how to make a rope knurl at this link. I'm only posting as an alternative if people prefer, your way is simple and looks like it works very well.

    Cheers,
    Alan

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    "This is nearly identical in design to the early model that I reported (shown in the 1886 catalog). Apparently they revived it 32 years later."

    Apparently they changed the scale on one side to 32s and omitted the vernier to 000s. The also say for use where accuracy is not paramount which likely provides insight as to why it disappeared from the catalog some 32 years prior.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kitno455 View Post
    I bet the May 7 Patent is William Wilson Lee's use of Borax in welds? Number 402947

    allan
    Allan,

    I think you are right. The later patent has got to be Lee's 412,277 Hollow Handle For Implements.
    I had been unable to find either patent until Roger sent me your guess. I called him when I found the later patent.

    Thanks for the help!
    Russ

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    Willing to trade my valuable input for tools. Got any old screwdrivers?

    Seriously, who was William Wilson Lee?

    allan

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    Quote Originally Posted by kitno455 View Post
    Seriously, who was William Wilson Lee?

    allan
    He must have been a machinist. I found a bunch more of his patents- including a lathe chuck. They are listed here: http://www.nonesuchtools.com/patent/lee.htm. (note that you will need a tiff viewer to view the images at uspto.gov).

    Hollow things seem to have been been a theme. He must have died by June 13, 1911. That's the application date of two of the patents that list "Helen Lee administratrix of said William Wilson Lee, deceased". I sent the list to Roger suggesting that Mr. Lee is someone worthy of further research!

    Russ

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    Quote Originally Posted by AntiqueMac View Post
    This thread is a presentation of 3 early, interesting and rare Starrett tools found and researched by Roger K. Smith. I have done this thread entirely on my iPad, so I hope it works for his sake.

    Most tool collectors know the name of Roger K. Smith. Many own his fabulously researched, written and illustrated books, Patented Transitional & Metallic Planes in America, vols 1 & 2. And many identify their planes referencing his seminal Stanley plane Type Studies. But, few know that Roger also is a fabulous finder and researcher of antique machinist tools.


    Below in his own words and including his pictures I edited to hopefully fit are the finds.
    Roger K. Smith wrote:

    “I am sending you info on 3 Starrett tools that you can report for your chat group.
    Attached in this email are photos of the early Vernier Caliper. This caliper is only shown in the May 1st, 1886 catalog. It is not shown in the 1884 catalog (and 1885 catalog is not known). 1887 catalog is not available and it is not shown in the 1888 or later catalogs. Apparently the No. 28 Caliper Square, shown in at least the 1888 and later catalogs, replaced it. The specimen is identical to the catalog description. Assembly (No.) 29 is stamped on the inside faces of both the parts with a locking screw (one locking-screw is missing).”










    “This is the first Starrett Vulcan Screwdriver in captivity that I am aware of. It is a 6” size, but is actually 6 ¾” total length. The only marks are PAT’D MAY 7, OCT. 8, 1889 stamped on the shank. (I could not find any Starrett patents for those dates.) It is only shown in the Catalog No. 13 (c. 1895 reprint). It may be in Catalog No. 12, but I do not have that catalog available.”










    “The Starrett Catalog No. 22 (1919) illustrates the No. 650 and 650-M Micrometers. The cut shows the L.S. Starrett Co. markings, etc. stamped or cast into the face of the frame. This reminded me of the Brown & Sharp Brownie micrometer of about the same vintage. This does have Brownie cast inside the face of the frame. I had been looking for an example of the No. 650 for several years. As luck would have it last fall, within a month, I found a No. 650 and a No. 650-M. Neither of them has any markings on the frame. The No. 650 has L. S. Starrett Co., etc. stamped on the thimble, but no number. The No. 650-M has the Starrett Co. imprint and No. 650-M stamped on the thimble. Apparently another example of the “artist’s license” when putting together a catalog.”





    LOL !

    I sold Roger that Vulcan.

    It's been six years already - wow.

    I had it for decades, but as I and Roger go back forty years, when he asked, I set a price, and he bought.

    I'd not have sold it to anyone else, and believe you me, he paid a handsome price (tho I'm not telling).

    I actually have another - somewhere. In the same size.

    It's rusty as hell, and looks like a Steam Roller ran over it, as the Handle is burst right open along the seam.

    Someday I might find where I stashed it.


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