Thursday, January 29, 2015

Yankee 1530: It's Magical!

You can just about read this. Click for bigger.
   It seems magical, at least.  At first glance, it looks like an ordinary hand-cranked drill and when I bought it (ostensibly as part of a set, but that's a tale for Retrotechnologist, by and by), that's exactly what I thought it was.

     It's not.  As the close-up image shows, there's something going on between the upper and lower bevel gears, something that includes a little gearshift similar to the one found on "Yankee" push-driven screwdrivers.  But where those only have three positions -- forward, locked and reverse -- this has five.

     In PLAIN, it works like any other drill.
     L.H. RATCHET makes it run only counterclockwise.  Turn the crank the other way and the chuck stays put.
     R.H. does the opposite: The drill only turns counterclockwise.
     LOCKED conveniently locks up the whole works, making loosening and tightening the chuck an easy operation.
     But I skipped one.  Here's the magic: select R. H. DOUBLE and it doesn't make any difference which way to turn the crank: the chuck always turns clockwise, with nary a hitch as you change the direction of the driving gear!

     There doesn't seem to have been a lot of use for this functionality, but if you needed it, there were no substitutes and North Brothers Manufacturing (and later Stanley) built this one and a larger size for many years.
A slightly wider view of the 1530
     The hollow handle unscrews with a nice threaded metal collar instead of the usual wood-on-wood threads (see above) to hold a set of small drills (the drills are missing from this one).  The original design was weak, especially when separated, and was modified a few years in for greater strength, resulting in the 1530A.  Finding a plain 1530 in as nice shape as this one is a stroke of luck.


LCB said...

You've given me something to watch out for in my "antique" shopping.

Ambulance Driver said...

Somewhere in my attic is a stainless steel brace and bit that looks rather unremarkable, until you hear the story that it was used to drill a hole in my patient's skull to evacuate a subdural hematoma.

I had always imagined something more high tech until I saw it done that day. Turns out, it's also cheaper to buy a new brace and bit than it is to Autoclave a used one.

Which explains why it's now in my attic. 😉

Overload in Colorado said...

I would imagine that R.H. Double would be handy for using the drill left handed.

Anonymous said...

What a coincidence: I was musing a week or so ago that one of these would come in handy when I was removing about a billion screws to come at a broken fan in our lab oven.

Alien said...

It's truly a shame that things like this aren't made anymore. I understand - and appreciate - the value and convenience offered by modern tools, but the utility and beauty of past generations of unique and ingenious tools is not insignificant.

I used Dad's already very old brace with drill, screwdriver and socket bits for quite a few years before ratchet handles, and decades before DeWalt, Milwaukee et al blessed us with cordless marvels.

Roberta X said...

Alien, Schroeder still makes both hand-cranked drills in various sizes and Yankee-type screwdrivers. While they don't make quite this combination of the two technologies, they come close.