Wow. where to start?
1) The first comment I would make is that is an obvious historical site.
It is fascinating to watch how it was done long ago. And not as a
recreation either. It is an actual, working factory. Which is very cool.
And probably buys them considerable leeway with safety regulations.
2) Having said that I got nervous looking at that thing. I was hiding my
hands, sweating a little and picked up a couple extra heartbeats. That was
SCARY. The opportunities for a major injury/accident/death were
astronomical! I am a safety freak. I could never work in a place like
3) Did you see all those belts?? I just kept think about somebody slipping
and taking a tumble into those belts. They would find you smeared all over
4) And steam, lot and lots of steam. Apparently this steam isn't contained
all that well. It leaks out everywhere. Looks like lots of burn potential
5) There is an obvious constant need for lubrication. You have to stick
your hand into that big machinery, while it is operating, and squirt oil
into its midst. Presumably to appease the anger of the steam and cast iron
gods. It looks like some kind of early industrial religion. And these gods
probably are not happy unless they get a human (or canine) sacrifice now and
6) And you get to feed the boiler. You take scraps and shovel them into
the fire box. Which must be very hot. Hopefully nobody falls into there.
Think of it as a nano hell.
7) The ultimate hybrid creation they had there was the "brander" wood
burning device. You had a modern branding plate made from magnesium. You
had a rat's nest of wiring, looking like it was recycled from 80 years ago.
And you had a very modern digital control device to regulate the
temperature. All of this hooked up to a bunch of recycled parts to make a
machine that stamps a brand into the wood pieces very efficiently. Steam
punk meets the digital age.
8) That nailing machine used to assemble the boxes had one very interesting
characteristic. You had to stick your fingers into the middle of that thing
every time you attached a board. And you do this hundreds, if not thousands
of times per job. If somebody worked there for many years he could have
done this a million times or so. Just ask yourself, could you do that a
100,000 times without nailing your fingers?
9) One thing I find fascinating is that those old steam factories, like the
big water wheel factories before them, had a central power source. Every
thing ran off of that through pulleys and geared wheels. I understand that
some Amish shops do something similar. It creates a whole different dynamic
of design, engineering and safety concerns.
10) And I am glad I live in the modern world. And that safety features are
common on modern tools. I can't help but wonder how many people were maimed
and killed in such environments. And every thing is so much smaller now.
You can just buy a planer. You don't need and acre of cast iron and steam
to operate it. Although it is fascinating to look at, give me modern tools
Without the knowledge of today's society and a family to support?
Sure, I would. It sure as hell would beat having to work in a mine
everyday with a zillion tons of rock above your head and conditions
that would drive many mad.
Well, that's a different question. I can imagine a company like that
offering some of the best paying jobs in town.
Just like Henry Ford's automotive assembly line (started in 1913) . Men
jumped at the opportunity to earn $5 a day.
Some of their wives observed that it took an awful toll on them (feeling
that perhaps the sacrifice wasn't worth the money).
On Mon, 6 May 2013 16:37:39 -0400, "Lee Michaels"
<leemichaels*nadaspam* at comcast dot net> wrote:
There is a window factory in Ontario cottage country that still has
the lineshaft and flat belt drive system, with many tools of the same
vintage - converted from steam to gasoline in the forties, I believe -
and to electric in the 'fifties.
Not much different than an old threshing machine
Except for the digital temperature control it is exactly the way it
was done almost 100 years ago. - and magnesium plates have been in use
since the late 1930s. Prior to that cast iron branding plates were
common., along with copper and brass alloys
A machine shop I used to frequent in the 'sixties in Elmira Ontario
was all line-shaft and flat belt driven. - I think the newest
equipment in that shop that was not made in the shop was likely from
the very early thirties, if not the twenties.
During my lifetime not so long ago I worked at a flour mill which had
similar belt system off a large motor and shafts on each floor.
The machines were put in service by manually slipping belts on or off
while the drive shaft was turning.
the safety factor was covered by not allowing anyong younger than 16 to
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