Mt. Wilson Observatory

Line Shaft Machine Shop

Below are assorted pictures of a small machine shop originally set up in 1910.  The line shafting shown is probably in its original configuration but some of the early tools have been removed or converted to individual electric power.  The shaft system is still operational and the metal cutting hack saw and the drill press are still in usable condition.

All belts are leather and still functional but have possibly been replaced over time.  The power source is a direct current electric motor mounted high in one corner of the room.  There is a chain drive from the motor to an intermediate shaft and pulley and from there it is all belts.  There is a large electro-mechanical controller for the motor that automatically steps the voltage up to the full 125 volts  DC.

The pictures show various types of pulleys, clutches, hangers, bearings, belt shifters, etc.  The drive for the lathe uses two different clutches, one of them driving a twisted belt for reversing the rotation.  The drill press has a foot operated pedal for shifting the belt between the tight and loose pulleys.

The pictures are in no particular order but I have tried to group related pictures together.  The lever with the red handle shifts the power from the motor between the loose and tight pulleys for the main shaft.

Click here to see a short video of the motor controller in operation showing a beautiful DC arc on shut down.

As usual, these are thumbnails and will enlarge if you click on them.


Updated 04/10/05

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