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Welcome to the Hand-Drill Section of George's Basement

The late Chuck Zitur was compiling a history of bevel-gear drills (eggbeaters, Jeff) from before the Millers Falls, Goodell-Pratt, Stanley, North Bros era.  It has been preserved by the Wayback Machine.  These drill-bit drivers are difficult to trace because few of their makers signed them. Therefore, I am presenting my relics here in the hope that you will be able to identify them or at least recognize family traits among them. Updated April 16, 2010.

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Before the No.2 model came out, this is what the typical Millers Falls eggbeater drill looked like. The crank handle is original, but the main handle is a user replacement. There is no provision for a side handle. The Millers Falls patented chuck has only two jaws. Nevertheless, they center the drill bit OK because each jaw has a central groove. Brings to mind "close-enough" engineer's jokes. A Sanford Moss find.
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Somehow, this little breast drill ended up with a permanently mounted, patented Jacobs chuck. The key is a modern one, which fits nevertheless. Talk about getting it right the first time. Another Sanford Moss find.
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Users made their own drills when the market couldn't provide them. This one has an unusually large breast plate, an iron steadying handle, and a plain wooden crank handle. The spindle has a Morse No.1 internal taper. That is a modern three-jaw chuck. From Renninger's Adamstown, PA flea market about 1976.
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Some users had unnaturally large amounts of time in their hands. Here, the handles are both ebony, held in place with tiny brass nuts that have infinitesimal spanner holes rather than the usual flats. This drill came from a famous on-line auction with a Jacobs chuck which decoyed most bidders into thinking it was a junky modern drill. The stalk on which the mushroom-shaped breast plate is mounted is a casting with a cruciform cross section. The crank arm was turned between centers and then bent to its present shape. The main gear is a casting which has been machined all over. The spindle has a Morse No.0 (?) internal taper, a size for which I have as yet found no taper-shank drills to fit.
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Here is another user-made drill that has a commercially-made look to it. The spindle has a proprietary bit-mounting mechanism somewhat like the Yankee push drills, where the bits have a semi-cylindrical step. The main gear wheel was made by casting from a roughly finished pattern. The breast plate is a nice casting. The two handles have the same nice pattern and are well made. From Rennninger's Adamstown, PA flea market about 1976.
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Another user-made drill. This one has no steadying handle; it never had one. The main gear wheel is a roughly made casting with extra reinforcement in the center, where the highest bending stresses are. The square wrought frame has prick punch marks which showed the machinist where to stop cutting while the frame was mounted in a four jaw chuck in the engine lathe. These marks brand it absolutely as a one-off effort. Production methods would require stops to be mounted on the bed of the lathe so that the machinist would not have to rely on measurements and marks directly on the workpiece. The breast plate is another well reinforced casting. The iron crank handle was turned between centers. Yet another Sanford Moss find.
Elmer S. Reavis using a post drill
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This man's name has been written on the back of the cardboard mount, along with that of the print's owner, a close relative, both from LaDue, Missouri.  A Google search reveals that a man with the same name, a blind carpenter, built a house in Los Angeles. I have a near carbon copy of the post drill, a Buffalo drill, in my basement that I frequently use.
Any questions for me ? E-mail me at:

(Attention: George Langford)

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