Wiley and Russell Bolt Threader
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  1. #1
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    Default Wiley and Russell Bolt Threader

    I recently purchased a small, hand-powered, bolt threader that I believe to have been made by Wiley and Russell. Many of the castings have the initials "W & R" on them, and a few of the dies that were included are marked Wiley and Russel, as is a chuck which is also marked "Lightning." The dies are made in two pieces with special screws holding them in place. The dies are mounted in straight shank adapters that are keyed to fit the spindle of the machine.

    There is a bevel gear on the side of the machine that can be engaged with a larger gear that is mounted on the spindle. This gear can be engaged and disengaged by rotating an eccentric collar with a small lever on it. It appears that disengaging the small gear allows the crank on the end of the spindle to act somewhat like a rapid traverse. It seems that the crank on the bevel gear was used when threading larger bolts.

    I assume that this machine was made between 1874 and 1912.

    How common are these machines today? For how many years were they produced?

    The machine and dies are in good working order. I have threaded a 1/2 inch rod with no problem, except that it was difficult to keep the rod from turning in the vise.

    Thanks in advance for any information that I receive.

    Bruce E. Babcock

    p.s.

    I attempted to attach a photo, but was not successful. I repeatedly received an error message "Invalid thread specified." What did I do wrong?

  2. #2
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    Actually, now that you have made your first post of the thread, you should be able to do another posting and attach the pix to that; or coversely, use the "edit" feature to now attach the pix to your original post.

    Something about you can't attach to something until it's actually there - also an anti-spam feature since most spammers don't take the time to attach afterwards.

    Looking forward to pix. I've seen similar to what you describe but words do it poor justice. Equivalency 1 pix = 1000 words.

    W&R were among the Greenfield, MA tool makers and later absorbed by Greenfield Tool & Die IIRC. Wells Brothers is in there somewhere too.

    I like the area. These industries were all located on the Green River there in Greenfield, MA which is a short distance off of Route 91. Knife makers were also among the local industries and one of these (Lamson-Goodnow or perhaps Jones-Lamson the inventor company of the original "Bowie" knife) used to imprint the blade with the words "Green River" this being the particular model of that particular pig sticker.

    And therein was the origin of the frontier bar-room phrase "Stuck up to Green River" which was an admission of a fatal knife wound.

    It's been a while. Somewhere on the 'net is everything you want to know, of course.

    Joe

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    Default Photos

    Here are two photos of my Wiley and Russel bolt threader (bolt cutter?).

    Bruce E. Babcock
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails threader.jpg   chuck.jpg  

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe in NH View Post

    W&R were among the Greenfield, MA tool makers and later absorbed by Greenfield Tool & Die IIRC. Wells Brothers is in there somewhere too.

    I like the area. These industries were all located on the Green River there in Greenfield, MA which is a short distance off of Route 91. Knife makers were also among the local industries and one of these (Lamson-Goodnow or perhaps Jones-Lamson the inventor company of the original "Bowie" knife) used to imprint the blade with the words "Green River" this being the particular model of that particular pig sticker.

    And therein was the origin of the frontier bar-room phrase "Stuck up to Green River" which was an admission of a fatal knife wound.

    Joe

    Solon Wiley and Charles Russell founded the company. Wiley was more of the money man and soon 'retired' to the wild west. Charles Russell was nephew of J. Russell, early Greenfield cutlery maker whose prominent brand was "Green River".

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    I have recently been gifted a Wiley & Russell bolt threader much in plan/principal to the one already seen - but differing in details.

    This one has the flywheel to the right - but no hand crank or bevel gear drive. Seemingly to be "pulled around" by hand in more of an "armstrong" method? It appears the gear is someones "appendage" as the device seems table mounted with the handwheel overhanging the bench. The gear obstructs a nice grip on the flywheel.

    It came with a nearly full set of W&R collets of different sizes.



    Joe in NH

    Edit: I've traced this out as far as can be seen on the Internet, and appears made subsequent to the 1873 patent dates shown on the casting, but before the 1876 Centennial - where the design was upgraded from a 3/4 maximum size to 1" maximum size and the right angle bevel gear/handcrank drive added.

    Subsequent changes (1880s?) include legs and belt drive from a reversible clutch countershaft.

    This bolt threader is missing a handle extension with a typical ball handle grip which inserts into the square hole seen in the rim of the large flywheel. Also broken at the "bolt feed lever" - but this too can be repaired.

    Who knows what is still lurking in barns and cellars of our industrial history?

    J.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails dscf0508.jpg  
    Last edited by Joe in NH; 05-18-2020 at 07:48 PM.

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    Interesting to note that the two-jaw "vise" part can be brought up exactly against the die collet - but won't interfere with it.

    Also that the two jaw vise is made so that the surfaces of the jaw always presents a "square" pattern reminiscent of a tap wrench. Possibly the reason for non-grip mentioned in the post above. A hex bolt head can be held. Also that the jaws can be opened to be much larger than the advertised capacity of the machine - i.e. room for bolt heads and nuts. One imagines the vise capacity would be a 3/4 bolt "extra heavy" hex pattern.

    Not seen with what was included but referenced online was a "tap-collet" to be used for tapping nuts.

    One could have a "bolt blank" prepared from hex stock on a lathe (Turret Lathe work?) and put the bolt clamped by its head in the vise - and thread it "nearly" up to the shoulder.

    Also one could hand thread rod by feeding the rod to the vise on one side and incrementally using the lever to feed the thread rod through the collet and out the other side.

    Interesting device. This and a small lathe could keep TWO people very busy in 1875.

    Joe in NH
    Last edited by Joe in NH; 05-19-2020 at 11:45 AM.

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    Joe, there might be some question as to date.

    I have two Wiley & Russell catalogs here, one from 1898 and one from 1901 (there is another, probably later, for sale on eBay as I write):

    wiley-russell-catalog-covers.2..jpg

    Both of these list the hand bolt threader you have, it looks like a handy device. Here it is on page 166, with good description, of 1901 catalog.

    wiley-russellhand-bolt-cutter.1901-catalog..jpg

    The Catalogs contain a very large amount of goods for sale, including many machines and fixtures, not just dies and taps, for which they are best known, i think.

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  11. #8
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    Joe, there might be some question as to date.
    As you say. The patent dates on the device are Oct. 24 1871 (probably 120266 to J.J. Grant) Nov. 12, 1872 (probably 129472 to J.J. Grant) and Feb. 25, 1873 (probably 136153 to J.J. Grant) All of these refer to the dies, and holders for their application but NOT the device or its configuration itself. The machine is more "generic" and one can see how it could be improved easily by the addition of a bevel gear and/or pulley drive.

    The device came with about 12 collets, 10 of these set up with the regular Wiley & Russell pattern dies, two empty. Sizes appear "repeated" and the condition/finish of the collets indicate that about half of these are a "later" production. The earlier collets are a little "rough hewn" and the size numbers are stamped very ornately.

    An anomaly I noticed - the W&R dies seem like they run 1/16" below what might be a standard size? Three sizes of W&R dies are represented in what I have, these being 2-7/16, 1-15/16, and 1-7/16. Perhaps W&R "sized" their dies to be something other than what their then competition at Wells Brothers (up the river) or others may have considered "standard?" And making it necessary to use a W&R die stock/collet. You couldn't use a W&R die in anyone else's die stock.

    Today I can see it might be nice to have a set of collets made up for this device in "standard" sizes? I always consider drill, taps, and dies "expendable" and only a large remaining supply of Little Giant (GTD/Wells Brothers) dies lets me use these at all - or go to round dies in standard sizing of the Ebay/Chinese source. I would not necessarily want to rely much on W&R dies which still can be found - but are considerably more rare.

    But then - this collet/alignment advantage already exists in die collets made to be used in a lathe tailstock - which given my fairly small need - and a powered lathe - might be easier overall.

    This device might end up outside as "yard art." It is kinda cool.

    Joe in NH


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