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Old 11-30-2008, 07:11 PM
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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
 
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Working Vintage Machine shop (150 years old!)

I was up in Grass Valley California visiting my brother over the Thanksgiving weekend and we went to local museum at the Empire Mine. (Click here) I always love a good museum and this one was one of the most interesting. But when I walked into the machine shop it won the prize for the part I liked the best. I have seen old shops with a few belt ran machines but I have never seen anything like this.

Every machine in the building was ran off a single motor up on the ceiling. Now, back before electricity, it was steam driven, one steam engine.

Brian


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Old 11-30-2008, 07:20 PM
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I love those old shops. Hope OSHA doesn't see it.
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Old 11-30-2008, 07:24 PM
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Not here in the northeast...it was waterpower

There is still a lot of old lineshafting and bits laying around out here. Steam was not used much except in some sawmill operations out where they were logging and no alternatives to building a dam. Dams were used at permanent locations.

One real old huge ex-farm out here had a lot of machinery. I found a steam engine in their woods with small size railroad tracks for the saw carraige to roll on. They also had a saw mill there that was a famous local brand. On some other end of their land, I saw what the grandson called an "axe handle machine"...it spit out axehandles. They also had shingle mills and lord knows what else. The woods were full of ancient cars, trucks, tractors, pop engine, etc.

Old stuff worked, but it's mostly forgotten.
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:34 PM
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martin, i wen't up to grass valley with the model T club (stock Ts) 3 years ago. we visited both the musium/machine shop and the mine and owners house. did you by chance visit the mine? there was a BIG lot with all sorts of mine machinery/equipment, each one had a plaque telling the history and function of each piece. it was VERY COOL. there were also several large outbuildings for equipment repair and a large blacksmith shop. how do i know it's the same place? i have a mounting core drilling sample sitting here at my desk that says "empire mine state historic park
grass valley, ca"
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:00 PM
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I have mentioned this old beast here before. Up around Cumberland Gap Tn there is a mine machine shop that has an old horizontal press that was originally steam powered, this thing has a ram at least 10" to 12" in diameter and the whole press including the huge cast iron frame must weigh at least 5 tons and probably more! On the side of this huge casting is the foundry name (location somewhere in Ohio but I forget the city) and a casting date of 1867. The kicker here is that to these guys this thing is just another tool in the shop and they use the darn thing everyday! They have rigged an electric motor to the pump drive shaft but they still use the old hand operated clutch that once engaged the steam driven drive shaft, the pump assembly resembles a miniature steam locomotive drive. I have seen this thing in operation and it is a brute to say the least, I have no idea how much force it has but I saw it bend a 3" steel bar with no effort at all! It really is a shame to see this old machine used and abused by those guys who could not care less and I am sure it has seen more deterioration in the last 4 or 5 years than in the past century, it really does belong in a museum somewhere or at least should be in the hands of a caring shop machinery collector.
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:19 PM
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I like those old machines too.This is not far from me.I have been there many times.


http://www.fallsmill.com/index.html


It was closed for a few years.I didn,t know they were open again until I just did a search.
I,m going to have to go back and take some pictures.
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Old 12-01-2008, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techron
martin, i wen't up to grass valley with the model T club (stock Ts) 3 years ago. we visited both the musium/machine shop and the mine and owners house. did you by chance visit the mine? there was a BIG lot with all sorts of mine machinery/equipment, each one had a plaque telling the history and function of each piece. it was VERY COOL. there were also several large outbuildings for equipment repair and a large blacksmith shop. how do i know it's the same place? i have a mounting core drilling sample sitting here at my desk that says "empire mine state historic park
grass valley, ca"
Oh yes I saw it all, VERY COOL indeed! My family and I hit a LOT of museums. I will stop to see the biggest collection of sugar packets to historical sights that every American has heard of like the 6th floor museum in the Texas book depository in Dallas and look thru the window that Oswald shot Kennidy thru.

This Empire mine was a good one. Of course it was personally special for me because I ran into an old school buddy of mine from sixth grade! I was looking at the reflecting pool the mines owner had beside his house when this guy came walking up behind me and grabbed me around the waist acting like he was going to throw me in the water! I turned around and here was one of my old buddies all thru school, and a car buddy in highschool. It was very cool seeing him and talking about old times.

I am always interested in the blacksmith shop being my uncle was THE blacksmith of the town I grew up in and still had the shop operating when I was a kid. And besides, autobodymen evolved from blacksmithing so I always enjoy the blacksmith shop that you will find located at many of these museums dealing with equipment or farms.

One of the guys was telling me how every piece of equipment and tool in the shop (there were HUNDREDS) were owned by the pack service and numbered artifacts! He held a small die up and sure enough there was a number on it just like the dinosoar bones I have seen at other museums.

He said all the tools they were using making things for visitors were brought in and not part of the mines original equipment. But gave me a little wink and said "some times we will grab one and give it a whirl though" .

In this museum they have a model of the mines shafts. It is just a representation of the shafts themselves and looks to be made from something like 1/8" welding rod. It is HUGE, filling a 20x20 room. This model is held up buy a gray metal frame, with the shafts represented by different colors depending on the ore content and what not.

So I am looking at this thing and listening to the recording and it says there are 326 miles of shafts!!!! And my wife points out the "Safeway" and "Post office" signs on the top of the model, these mine shafts are under the town that is a bustleing shopping and dining area!

Old red, maybe it needs someone to fight to save that old machine and make a museum there! That is how these things get started is someone with some passion to get the thing going. If that is one thing I have seen in nearly every museum a section where they thank the person responsible for the saving what you see in that museum.

If you look on the map of the US you can see one of these "museums" and I got to meet the guy responsible for it! He is still alive I believe, a barber in a tiny town called Silligman in AZ. The "Artifact" that he saved and is now a "museum", the old Route 66! Yep, he and his brother who owned the "SnoCap" Icecream next door to the barber shop are responsible for the old Route 66 highway to be desinated a historic landmark! (click here)

This may be you calling, look into what it would take to start a movement to save that old equipment!

Brian
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Old 12-01-2008, 08:23 AM
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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redlightning
I like those old machines too.This is not far from me.I have been there many times.


http://www.fallsmill.com/index.html


It was closed for a few years.I didn,t know they were open again until I just did a search.
I,m going to have to go back and take some pictures.
That looks very nice, a bed and breakfast huh......looks like the place to take your wife for a little Christmas present.

Brian
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Old 12-01-2008, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
Old red, maybe it needs someone to fight to save that old machine and make a museum there! That is how these things get started is someone with some passion to get the thing going. If that is one thing I have seen in nearly every museum a section where they thank the person responsible for the saving what you see in that museum.


LOL, I could just see me trying to explain that one to my wife! She already thinks I am on some kind of mission to save old cars, old tractors and old cats, I have 4 old cars, 6 tractors and 9 (nine!) old cats!
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Old 12-01-2008, 09:52 AM
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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
 
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Red, I think you have done your part my son. Now go out and find some poor guy who needs a life and put a seed in him to save the old thing!

Brian
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