A Collection of Unusual Finds

W.H. Adams Breast/Chain Drill

This unusual breast/chain drill emerged in the parking lot at the Nashua LFOD in April, 2004.  It is a new one to me.  In excellent condition, it has some similarities to a McClelland universal breast drill, but lacks the jointed frame and has other differences.  The mark on the chuck has the patent date of Jan. 22, 1907 and "Walter H. Adams  M'F'R/ Sound Beach, CT").  It is also marked on the rim of the gear wheel, "Sound Beach, CT"  "Patent Applied For" and the number "489."


This chuck patent isn't on my copy of Jim Price's CD, but I plowed through the US Patent site and found it--#841,758--granted to Walter H. Adams on said date.  The patent features two transverse coiled springs to spread the jaws.



I see Adams listed in the EAIA Dirctory of American Toolmakers as a maker of breast drills, with no further info, and also see a breast drill listed in Barlow's old value guide marked from Sound Beach and with one of the '00 McClelland patents.  But I sure haven't seen anything like this one before.

Some of its distinctions include a loop crank handle that is continuously adjustable as to length; a lock position for the gear wheel attained by tightening a knurled knob on the crank handle hub; a speed adjustment that requires removing a cotter pin to move the gear wheel to engage the smaller gear ring

into the pinion gear; and a ratchet that is engaged by lifting a knurled knob and turning it 90 degrees (kinda like the G-P ratchet selector). 


Most unusual, in my brief experience, is the chain tension mechanism that is like that on the McClellan universal breast drill, with the adjustment made through a threaded rod inside the upper shaft of the frame.  But the McClelland drill uses an external knob to make the adjustment.  On this drill the entire breast plate is rotated to adjust the tension on the chain.  Finally,  there is another selector (like for the ratchet) that determines whether the tension is to be increased, or backed off and the breast plate is turned..

 It's not a big drill--stands only 14" high--and is beautifully finished with very handsome cocobolo wood handles (crank & side), and looks little used, although the finishes may be enhanced.  It is very well made.  It is missing the chain, but what the heck!.

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