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Early 1900s Whitney #6 Hand Milling Machine

Stobl

Plastic
Joined
May 4, 2021
Location
St. Marys, MD
Just picked up this machine the other week and thought I'd share. It's a Whitney MFG Co #6 hand milling machine. My best estimate so far is it's from around the 1910-1920 Era. It's currently sitting on my trailer waiting for me to clean the boiler room shop enough to bring it in. It's in extremely nice condition, everything is tight. To get it in the shop, it'll be completey disassembled to make it down the stairs, but that always gives me a good opportunity for a thorough cleaning and inspection. I'm not sure how much of a restoration i'll be doing, but at minimum a modern 3ph motor will be swapped in and it'll actually be put to use. Hoping to get a lot more pictures of the disassembly/inspection and help expand the vintagemachinery page on these. I've been able to find a few posts and references on them, but it seems overall there isnt much info that I could find other than they were placed in shops in large quantites for mass production outfits using minimally skilled labor. More to come as I get through it all. Going to pick up a circa 1909 T&C grinder this week too, but that's for another thread.


Blake
 

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Cool old machine, are there any markings on the part that looks to be a gearbox?

I have seen other machines that utilize old car/truck transmissions to replace the step pulleys in changing speed.

Interesting how they went with a chain drive to the spindle instead of a flat or v-belt. Maybe a conversion using whatever parts they had laying around?
 
It has a car gearbox mounted under the flat plate at the back.........I always check old mills for a motor bike gearbox,and I ve found some good'uns over the years .
 
Yup- you two are correct. That is indeed some sort of car transmission. There's nothing I can find to easily identify what it is from, but from the size i'm assuming it is from a vehicle from the 20s/30s. Perhaps one of you guys might have an idea. I just disassembled the machine to make it easier to get it down into the boiler room basement shop, so I'll snap some pictures today and post them up. I'm very curious what this transmission is from.

Blake
 
It looks like the chain drive might have been a necessary thing. The spindle moves up and down while the jack shaft is stationary so the distance between the centers grows slightly as you lower the spindle. Probably not much, but enough that they decided to use a chain as it could be set a the largest necessary diameter when the spindle is down and still provide positive drive when the spindle comes up and becomes a little loose. It looks like there's some kind of counterbalance set-up in the catalog photo, and this could have been a weighted idler to accomplish the same tight/loose tension issue when it was on flat belts. It probably wouldn't be hard to restore the weighted idler set-up. While the chain is a more positive drive, the flat belt likely ran smoother and quieter and modern synthetic belts solve most slippage issues.

My Brown & Sharpe #12 has a similar issue with it's power feed where one shaft pivots slightly when the feed is engaged or disengaged. The original belt drive was such that the engaged position made the belt tighter so it worked fine, but when the prior owners decided to convert it to local motor drive, they mounted a DC motor to the other side of the mill to power just the feeds and they put it in a location that made it so the feed engaged position made the belt loose. Their solution was to just use a chain and sprocket and leave it loose. MY solution is to just put it all back to the belt drives, but I'm weird like that. Flat belts don't scare me like they scare the OSHA man, but sprockets and chains running out in the open air? That's a stretch for me.

That'll be a fun little mill. It looks like it has a rack and gear arrangement for the table, so it probably won't be easy to position in that axis, but it's forte is linear passes. Beside another 3 axis manual mill this one would be handy, doing similar work as a shaper.
 
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Sorry- I'm a day behind. Went and picked up an old LBN sunnen hone yesterday. Here are the picture of the transmission. If anyone has an idea of what it is from, I'm very curious. The casting number is the only identification i can find on it. In the end I think i wont be using this with the new setup (3 phase + vfd)
 

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Just picked up this machine the other week and thought I'd share. It's a Whitney MFG Co #6 hand milling machine. My best estimate so far is it's from around the 1910-1920 Era. It's currently sitting on my trailer waiting for me to clean the boiler room shop enough to bring it in. It's in extremely nice condition, everything is tight. To get it in the shop, it'll be completey disassembled to make it down the stairs, but that always gives me a good opportunity for a thorough cleaning and inspection. I'm not sure how much of a restoration i'll be doing, but at minimum a modern 3ph motor will be swapped in and it'll actually be put to use. Hoping to get a lot more pictures of the disassembly/inspection and help expand the vintagemachinery page on these. I've been able to find a few posts and references on them, but it seems overall there isnt much info that I could find other than they were placed in shops in large quantites for mass production outfits using minimally skilled labor. More to come as I get through it all. Going to pick up a circa 1909 T&C grinder this week too, but that's for another thread.


Blake
Fantastic! The transmission upgrade is special for sure. I have a #6, twin vbelt that will get a VFD upgrade soon due to having only two speeds.
Good luck on your treasure hunting!
Dave
 








 
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