At the present day, the turning and fitting shops are furnished not only with the slide lathe, self acting in both directions, and screw-cutting, the drilling-machine, and the screwing machine, but with planing machines competent to plane horizontally, vertically, or at an angle; shaping machines, rapidly reciprocating, and dealing with almost any form of work; nut shaping machines, slot drilling machines, and slotting machines, while the drills have become multiple and radial; and the accuracy of the work is insured by testing on large surface plates, and by the employment of Whitworth internal and external standard gauges.
The boiler maker’s tools now comprise the steam, compressed air, hydraulic or other mechanical riveter, rolls for the bending of plates while cold into the needed cylindrical or conical forms, multiple drills for the drilling of rivet holes, planing machines to plane the edges of the plates, ingenious apparatus for flanging them, thereby dispensing with one row of rivets out of two, and roller expanders for expanding the tubes in locomotive and in marine boilers; while the punching press, where still used, is improved so as to make the holes for seams of rivets in a perfect line, and with absolute accuracy of pitch.
With respect to the smith’s shop, all large pieces of work are now manipulated under heavy Nasmyth or other steam hammers; while smaller pieces of work are commonly prepared either in forging machines or under rapidly moving hammers, and when needed in sufficient numbers are made in dies. And applicable to all the three industries of the fitting shop, the boiler shop, and the smith’s shop, and also to that other industry carried on in the foundry, are the traveling and swing cranes, commonly worked by shafting, or by quick moving ropes for the travelers, and by hydraulic power or by steam engines for the swing cranes. It may safely be said, that without the aid of these implements, it would be impossible to handle the weights that are met with in machinery of the present day.
I now come to one class of machine which, humble and small as it is, has probably had a greater effect upon industry and upon domestic life than almost any other. I mean
In 1831, there was no means of making a seam except by the laborious process of the hand needle. In 1846, Eldred Walker patented a machine for parsing the basting thread through the gores of umbrellas, a machine that was very ingenious and very simple, but was utterly unlike the present sewing machine, with its eye-pointed needle, using sometimes two threads (the second being put in by a shuttle or by another needle), and making stitches at twenty-fold the rapidity with which the most expert needlewoman could work. By means of the sewing machine not only are all textile fabrics operated upon, but even the thickest leather is dealt with, and as a tour de force, but as