Machine Tools

Engine Lathe smEngine Lathe

The Museum's machine tool collection is one of the most extensive collections in the world. Included are single and multiple spindle lathes, shapers, planers, milling machines, single and multi spindle drills and grinding machines. The highlight of the machine tool collection is the machines developed in this building by Robbins and Lawrence to mass produce firearms with interchangeable parts. The remainder of the collection spans over two hundred years, representing the major advances in precision manufacturing from the earliest uses of the slide rest up to the introduction of CNC (computerized numerical controls) control, powered by foot, water and electricity.

First Model Hartness Flat Turret Lathe::When James Hartness became president of Jones & Lamson in Springfield, Vermont, he introduced this machine in 1891.  The low turret with tools attached to the top meant that the part being worked on could extend across the turret.  This permitted a much longer work area (longer threads, for instance) than a conventional turret machine could do.
Lamson, Goodnow & Co. Turret Lathe::Much of the development of the turret lathe was done at our site by the various companies who owned the building.  By the time this machine was made here in 1861 by Lamson, Goodnow & Company, most of the basic ideas of the turret lathe were included.  This may be the oldest turret lathe in the world.
Hall Milling Machine (reproduction)::This reproduction, made expressly for the Museum, is of a machine made in Connecticut.  The original machine is believed to have been made by John Hall, a vigorous innovator who is credited with making hand-fitted, interchangeable-part rifles for the U.S. Government in the 1820s.
Howe-type Milling Machine::This machine was designed here around 1850 by Fredrick Howe, the plant superintendant for Robbins & Lawrence.  It had a strong basic design.  The table feed mechanism was improved in 1854 by Francis Pratt (later of Pratt & Whitney,) and Pratt's design survived well into the 20th century as the Lincoln miller.
Bridgeport Milling Machine::Over a quarter million Bridgeport milling machines (not counting the many, many copies) have been built.  This is the first, serial number 1.  Made in 1938, it is simply a very good design, and its descendents (which look very similar) are still found in most machine shops.