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What the Heck Is It?

Monsonmotors

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
02/22/2020
EBay seller advertised as a metal forming press for stagecoach parts. I don’t believe it.
I suspect 1900 or earlier.
It sure looks good in the old shop!
I don’t see one identifying number or patent date or manufacturer’s marking.
It’s about 33” tall by 13” wide by 3” or 4” deep.
It’s very well made and appears to have all kinds of things going on simultaneously. It’s heavy but I lugged it into the shop by myself.
If it helps at all it came from an old barn in New England.
Please tell me what it is.
Thanks In Advance.
 

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Monsonmotors

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
02/22/2020
Maybe if I take a piece of sheetmetal and stick it in there. I do see a kind of punch.
Looks stout for a hand-operated device.
 

CharlieB

Registered
It looks like you have a fly press. It would have been mounted vertically to a very sturdy bench. It would have had a very heavy inertia wheel or a dog-bone mounted to the tapered shaft. Spinning the heavy wheel or dog-bone manually would store energy for the pressing. They were used for punching, with dies for pressing coins, or for any operation requiring great force. The lower long screw on yours appears to be an adjustable stop.
 

GeorgeC

Registered
Monsoon,
Is it seized or have you checked between the press jaws to see if there are dies mounted or fitted that would be used to form the parts? Else there should be some means of external attachment to fit dies to the jaws.
 

Monsonmotors

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
02/22/2020
No, not seized. Parts still move.
Looks like die is removable. Held in by set screws.
I did some quick online research last night on fly presses. I think it’s the best match, yet.
Mine would be missing the flywheel or dog bone on top that provides the inertia to do the work.
I found a fuzzy picture of a device that does not appear to have a flywheel on it. It came up under “flywheel press” search. It sure looks close!
Anyway, the myriad external set screws, acme thread and jaws-within-a-frame
certainly match up with fly presses.
 

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Monsonmotors

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
02/22/2020
If I haven’t said, this tool appears to be completely in line with my “late 1800s wagon/ blacksmith/ early automobile” vibe in my old shop recreation. Makes me very happy! It was so weird and such a long shot!
Most fly presses appear to be stand alone. The force of inertia imparted to the work at hand rocks the machine. Since this is a smaller version I mounted it on my Model T Frame workbench.
 

Pete Spaco

Registered
It may well be a fly press, but the flypresses that blacksmiths normally use have much coarser screws. Even the powered ones.
Maybe it was designed for direct pressure from an easily repositionable crank, hence the taper.

A friend of mine sells fly presses:
https://www.oldworldanvils.com/fly-presses
Note the coarse threads. I think they are even double lead or something like that.

Pete Stanaitis
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Monsonmotors

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
02/22/2020
Mounted on the Model T Bench.
The die wants to slide out without trouble. I still don’t see any markings.
 

Monsonmotors

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
02/22/2020
Most if not all the fly presses I’ve seen new or old appear to have a cast body. Mine appears to have been machined from one billet of steel?
One of the identifying aspects of fly presses appear to be myriad set screws. Why is that? Mine has them all over. What is their purpose?
I can’t understand why someone didn’t pound numbers or letters into it. They did a great job! Reason to be proud?
 

Pete Spaco

Registered
Re: "These threads are less coarse?"
Maybe it's semantics. Your machine has a finer pitch screw than do the fly presses that I have seen.
Usually, the user grabs the ball or the handle and does the work with a quarter turn of the flywheel or less.

Pete Stanaitis
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Monsonmotors

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
02/22/2020
Ok. Thanks!
The original description never said fly press, but you have to admit it has some fly press characteristics..? Best guess, so far...
Semantics never slow me down... :)
I really wanted something blacksmith/ wagon-era, useable and obviously old. Did I do good?
If you really want to buy old and weird (and you live on the West Coast) buy a whatzit from New England.
This thing is a stumper. I’m now spending time looking at ancient patent office drawings and reading American Machinist from 1900. Good times!
 
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