American Industries—No. 9, Small Tools
The industry under consideration is peculiarly American. It is representative of a class of establishments that have given our manufacturers a world-wide reputation for goods that are both cheap and reliable. This success is mainly due to the system of manufacture inaugurated here some years since, and which seems to thrive better in this country than anywhere else. But for the special machines, the system of inspection, and assembling we should still have the old-fashioned tools, with the defects consequent upon fitting one piece to another, and the prices would be far higher than the more perfect machine-made article now demands.
The Miller’s Falls Company, of Miller’s Falls, Mass, manufacture a great variety of useful tools, most of them being of the smaller sort, such as are of the most general utility. A few of these, shown in the title page engraving, will be recognized by most of our readers as familiar objects. Among these are breast drills, bench drills, Barber’s bit brace, the ratchet brace, parallel vises, the miter box, the screw jack, all of which are so well known as to need no special description.
The saw in the background of the left hand view is known as the Rogers scroll saw. It is a marvel of cheapness; the frame, of elegant design, is entirely of iron; the shaft, treadle motion, and drive wheel are well fitted, and the whole affair, while it is substantial and really good, is sold for $3. We mention the price as this machine exemplifies in a remarkable manner what has already been stated. In the upper right hand corner of the engraving is shown a Lester scroll saw, which combines a saw and a lathe; a hand scroll saw and a small drill are shown on the floor.
The two views in the lower part of the engraving represent two forms of parallel vise made by this company, also the well known tool chests which are used by both young and old. The works of the Miller’s Falls Company contain the most modern machinery for doing work rapidly and accurately.
The middle view at the top of the engraving shows a turret lathe, one of the most useful tools for this kind of work. The special use of the one shown is to make small universal chucks, such as are used with small lathes, hand drills, bit braces, etc. In five minutes from the time a bar of iron is put through the hollow mandrel of this lathe it is turned, drilled, tapped, chamfered, turned to the required form, and cut off. Of the larger views, the right hand one represents the machinery for making various styles of tool handles; the left hand view represents the department in which the different kinds of tools are finished.
The main building of the works is divided into six compartments, separated from each other by heavy brick walls and iron doors, as a protection against the spread of fire. The works are complete in themselves, consisting of iron and brass foundries, blacksmith shops, tempering shop, pattern, wood turning, machine, grinding, and polishing shops; inspection and stock rooms. The machinery is driven by turbines having a total of 300 horse power.
As an evidence of success of this establishment it may be mentioned that great numbers of their tools are shipped to England, many of which go to Sheffield, which was once the very tool center of Europe. The New York warerooms of the Miller’s Falls Company are located at 74 Chambers street.
Scientific American – March 22, 1879