Thursday, December 31, 2009

An Old Story

As I mentioned yesterday I went to the Cincinnati Museum Center. One of their displays is of an 1890s machine shop. This shot is of the center shaft and belt system that drove all of the machines.

Every time I see this lathe set up I am reminded of a story my Dad used to tell.

When he started in machining in 1950 the shop he worked in was set up like this. The first few weeks he was on night shift, running a lathe pretty much like this one.

There was a worn sheave (the part that the belt rides on) or a worn belt on the machine he ran and every so often the belt would slip off. So he had to shut down the shaft so he could put the belt back on.

After a few weeks he was transferred to day shift, running the same machine. During his first day shift the machine performed as usual and threw it's belt. So he shut down the shaft to repair it.

One thing about night shift; they usually ran only one machine, so shutting down the shaft had no consequences. But on day shift that shaft ran several machines; all of which came to a screeching halt the minute he hit the brakes on the shaft. Every part that was in a 'cut' was ruined; all of the tooling that was in a 'cut' was ruined. Guess who was the least popular man in the shop that afternoon?

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