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Vintage Machinery Modern Design

1949 Maxim Silencer 2-19 Snow Thrower

In December of 2017 I discovered a very rare and unusual Maxim Silencer snow thrower that I had not seen before. This particular unit was smaller than any that I have seen and was furnished with a Clinton engine. It took several months to finally convince the previous owner that it would have a better life in my garage than outside in his yard, so in September of 2018 I was able to save this snow thrower from eternal damnation. Those of you with an eye for old iron will note that there is another Maxim snow thrower sitting in the yard next to the little machine I picked up. I purchased this snow thrower as well, and will be featured in another restoration thread. For now we will focus on the smaller Maxim snow thrower.

1952 Schramm Pneumapower 35 Compressor Rebuild

In November of 2014, I traveled to Slatington, Pennsylvania to pick up a pair of Schramm Pneumapower 35 Compressors. At the time I had been looking for a compact engine driven air compressor for my truck project. This compressor would act as a backup onboard compressor to re-charge the air tanks on my truck should the onboard tanks run out of air before the engine starts. I had looked into a number of engine driven compressors, built by Devilbiss, Jenbach, Lindsay, Rolair and Sulair and could not find a compact solution which could deliver the volume of air that I was looking for. I stumbled across Schramm’s lineup of air compressors while looking for a Lindsay Compressor. I wanted a compressor driven by a heavy duty Wisconsin air cooled industrial engine, and Schramm had exactly what I was looking for. After searching the internet far and wide for information on Schramm’s products, I stumbled across their portable Pneumapower lineup. Schramm built two compact Pneumapower compressors, the “20” and the “35”. The “20” was a twenty cfm compressor built out of a Wisconsin VH4D engine with 3-1/4” bore and 3-1/4” stroke.

1968 Quincy Model 230-32 Compressor Rebuild

In April of 2015 I was in the market for a moderate sized industrial compressor to run my air tools, blow guns and my newly acquired Trinco blast cabinet. A friend of mine in Virginia led me onto this compressor as it was nearby and inexpensive. I was surprised to win the bid at just $180.00. The compressor was located about twenty miles away in Baldwin, New York. It came with a small 30 gallon air tank and a 3 horsepower 230 volt single phase Dyna motor. Arthur, the previous owner was able to power it up for me so that I could hear it work. Everything sounded normal despite the plumbing and wiring being an absolute mess. Arthur told me that this compressor powered the blast furnace of Merrick High School. When the 5 horsepower three phase motor that drove it burned out, the school discarded the compressor and he took the compressor head home. For this compressor to outlive a three phase motor is a testament to how overbuilt these Quincy compressors are.

How 1920s Nobility Cut Their Lawn: The Coldwell Steam Lawn Mower

Sometimes you come across truly remarkable and outlandish machinery on Craigslist. This Coldwell Steam lawn mower is truly no exception. The Coldwell Lawn Mower Company manufactured their equipment right in the New York Hudson valley region and solved a problem which we very much take for granted today: easy lawn care. It was quite a luxury to add any form of automation to lawn care in the nineteen-teens and judging on original literature, you almost had to be high and mighty to afford one of these pieces of equipment.

Quincy 390 Rebuild: No Such Thing as Too Much Air

In a large majority of machine and auto shops, there is no such thing as too big of an air compressor. There is almost always a need for higher power air tools to loosen bolts, bead blast parts or clean off equipment. Quincy manufacturers some very sizable and reliable air compressors and this is a guide to refurbishing a used Quincy 390 back to specification.

Howard Gem Rotavator Rebuild: Bringing Back the Rolls Royce of Rotavators!

Have you ever tried planting in hard soil? It's not exactly fun to keep shoveling to loosen the soil. Of course, there are garden tillers to assist with planting, but they are often underpowered and unreliable. Enter the Howard Gem Rotavator. It's an overbuilt heavy-duty garden rotavator that can handle the toughest of ground and pulverize roots. This is a restoration guide to bring a Gem back to speed.

Sun-Doxford: The Tale of the Frisbee Sized Piston

Moving hundreds of thousands of pounds of goods across the globe is no easy feat and requires a considerable amount of logistics, coordination and energy. Sun-Doxford created some of the largest engines designed for container ships and power plants used throughout th world. Seeing spare pistons and piston rings come up from time to time on ebay is truly a joy to experience considering how large they are in comparison to more common and ubiquitous automotive engines.

Noble & Lund: The Lathe That Could Turn a School Bus

Ever wonder how obnoxiously large metal parts are produced? Look no further than the mighty Noble & Lund lathe, a staple of gigantic machine shops which handled the machining of large parts of cargo ships, steam engines and power plant generators throughout the world. Standing in the presence of one of these lathes truly shows you the scale of machine manufacturing and what humans can truly produce at scale.