A Collection of Unusual Finds
W.H. Adams Breast/Chain Drill
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.
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
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!.