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Gabe Brooks 1930's shop in Scottsdale, AZ

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Glenn Brooks

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#1
Stopped by the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale this week to ride their 15" gauge miniature train and 'discovered' this fantastic 12' x 12' square machine shop preserved in their small RR museum. Seems to me this is the most perfectly designed one man shop I've ever seen. And yes, it is 144 sq feet - on the outside of the building. I stepped off the dimensions - 4 long paces each side. (Correction - actually the shop is 3 x 4 paces, so 10' x12' or just under 120 sq feet interior dimension! A masterpiece of organization)

'Gabe' Brooks was an early day 'rancher' around the Scottsdale area, settling just east of Phoenix in 1917. He put this shop together around 1930. He was a prolific live steamer and also used the equipment to support his water well drilling business. Following his passing in the late 1980's a benefactor eventually preserved his shop building and equipment and had it moved and donated to the McCormic RR park in Scottsdale - where it is displayed today. Apparently the Scottsdale Live Steamers assisted in maintaining the shop for many years. Today the City of Scottsdale owns and operates the park, museum, on site carousel, and
Stillman Ranch's 15" ga railroad.

BTW, most all the equipment runs off a functioning overhead belt drive system. A huge 18" diameter electric motor is mounted up in the rafters to the right of the pictures and powers the overhead drive system.

The electric lamps are hung with weights on pulleys mounted in the rafters. Need more light on your work? Just reach up and pull the light shade down. The shade is hung from a pulley and A little 2 or 3 pound weight on the other end of the pulley slides up and down and holds the lampshade wherever you place it.

The little 12" power hacksaw and shop made 1" diameter vertical cutter have their own small motor driven electric motors? Durn modernization. What's the world coming to with this miserable new junk coming on the market...

Photos are from left to right, around the shop, looking in from the door.

The lathe is a South Bend 11" or 12" -couldn't quite read the tag on the end. The drill press is a 10" camelback, with spare drills placed on holders in the back.

Man, this has everything, even a drafting table and 8' workbench- and plenty of room to walk around. I gotta down size when I get home!

Glenn

IMG_1362.JPG IMG_1344.JPG IMG_1354.JPG IMG_1347.JPG IMG_1352.JPG IMG_1351.JPG IMG_1350.JPG IMG_1358.JPG IMG_1348.JPG IMG_1360.JPG
 
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Uglydog

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#3
And like many old time machinists, he/she likely did great work!!

Daryl
MN
 

Glenn Brooks

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#5
Stopped by again this morning to take another look and capture a few extra photos I somehow missed the first time around. The shop is actually smaller than I first thought, 10' x12' long. So 120 sq feet. Not 144 I stated in my first post. Had to step it off twice to believe it!

Here is a closeup view of Gabe's counterbalanced light shade. Notice the closeline cord running up to a pulley in the rafters, thence back down to a weighted lead weight. Way cool.

Also, shows his overhead belt drive system in more detail...

IMG_1425.JPG

Glenn
 

ndnchf

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#6
Very cool. I may be taking a trip to Scottsdale in June. Sounds like a great place to visit. Thanks for sharing.
 

playfulplans

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#7
Stopped by the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale this week to ride their 15" gauge miniature train and 'discovered' this fantastic 12' x 12' square machine shop preserved in their small RR museum. Seems to me this is the most perfectly designed one man shop I've ever seen. And yes, it is 144 sq feet - on the outside of the building. I stepped off the dimensions - 4 long paces each side. (Correction - actually the shop is 3 x 4 paces, so 10' x12' or just under 120 sq feet interior dimension! A masterpiece of organization)

'Gabe' Brooks was an early day 'rancher' around the Scottsdale area, settling just east of Phoenix in 1917. He put this shop together around 1930. He was a prolific live steamer and also used the equipment to support his water well drilling business. Following his passing in the late 1980's a benefactor eventually preserved his shop building and equipment and had it moved and donated to the McCormic RR park in Scottsdale - where it is displayed today. Apparently the Scottsdale Live Steamers assisted in maintaining the shop for many years. Today the City of Scottsdale owns and operates the park, museum, on site carousel, and
Stillman Ranch's 15" ga railroad.

BTW, most all the equipment runs off a functioning overhead belt drive system. A huge 18" diameter electric motor is mounted up in the rafters to the right of the pictures and powers the overhead drive system.

The electric lamps are hung with weights on pulleys mounted in the rafters. Need more light on your work? Just reach up and pull the light shade down. The shade is hung from a pulley and A little 2 or 3 pound weight on the other end of the pulley slides up and down and holds the lampshade wherever you place it.

The little 12" power hacksaw and shop made 1" diameter vertical cutter have their own small motor driven electric motors? Durn modernization. What's the world coming to with this miserable new junk coming on the market...

Photos are from left to right, around the shop, looking in from the door.

The lathe is a South Bend 11" or 12" -couldn't quite read the tag on the end. The drill press is a 10" camelback, with spare drills placed on holders in the back.

Man, this has everything, even a drafting table and 8' workbench- and plenty of room to walk around. I gotta down size when I get home!

Glenn

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Very nice, thx for postig.
 

Glenn Brooks

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#8
UR Welcome! Yep, it's a fascinating use of space - and apparently the machinery is Brooks' original equipment. The City of Scottsdale has done a great job of maintaining and supporting the park. With 46" inches of rain in Seattle thus far, and more on its way tomorrow, I still pine away for another chance to sit on the bench outside the Park's old, renovated railway station eating hand made ice cream and drinking coffee under the warm sunny skies, just outside the machine shop. The live steam RR and the Park's 15" ga RR are fun to visit also - just across the lawn.

Glenn
 

markba633csi

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#9
Any relation there Glenn? At first I thought it might be an ancestor..
M
ps They actually let people in there? I would think they'd be worried about petty theft, liability, etc.
 
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Rustrp

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#10
Looking at the machines in the museum reminds me of when I was told how they reversed the rotation. Huh,,,what? Unfortunately the modification on my old lathe doesn't allow me to do the same, so I'm left with always going forward.
 

woodchucker

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#11
Must have missed this post earlier... Thanks for posting it Glenn, looks quite modern for it's early days. Quite inviting too.
 

Glenn Brooks

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#12
Mark, probably no relation - but who knows! We're on the black sheep side of the family. The actual access to the shop is through the front door of the small RR museum -docent on duty all times. Then out the back door to the machine shop which opens on a small self contained square. the back wall is a Pullman car train consist - static display- that encloses the rear. So the building is more or less contained within the museum area. They do trust people a lot as there is some small tooling out for public view, inside the shop. And a do not enter sign at the door -so one can only look inside, but not walk around inside the shop.

Yep, there must be some way to reverse direction with the belt drive system, but darned if I know how to do it.

Glenn
 

Rustrp

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#13
Yep, there must be some way to reverse direction with the belt drive system, but darned if I know how to do it.
That was my bit of trivia. The belts are laced on each end and held together with a pin. When the tension was released off the drive belt the machinist or operator, whatever the machine happened to be, had a pole with a hook which they could use to slip the belt off the line shaft pulley. They would pull the pin, then twist the belt and pull it around the opposite side of the driven pulley and pin it back together, then slip it back on the line shaft pulley. I can imagine if they were cutting left hand threads they had machines set to do this, because this seems labor intensive. It's interesting to see what happened to get the job done.

Some of the vintage lathes in the transition period to electric motors still used the flat transition belts. My Lodge and Shipley is older so someone fabricated a contraption, of electric motor, large V-belt pulley that that drives the three step cone which acts as the line shaft. The distance between the upper and lower three step cone is only about 30" and it doesn't have enough slack to twist the belt. For it to work (maybe) I would need to get a belt slightly longer just to use for reverse but I'm still not sure if there's sufficient space for the twist.
 

markba633csi

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#14
I like the Burgermeister clock on the far wall- I remember burgie. It was pale all right, but truly fine? (retching sound)
burgermeisterclock.jpg
 

benmychree

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#16
That was my bit of trivia. The belts are laced on each end and held together with a pin. When the tension was released off the drive belt the machinist or operator, whatever the machine happened to be, had a pole with a hook which they could use to slip the belt off the line shaft pulley. They would pull the pin, then twist the belt and pull it around the opposite side of the driven pulley and pin it back together, then slip it back on the line shaft pulley. I can imagine if they were cutting left hand threads they had machines set to do this, because this seems labor intensive. It's interesting to see what happened to get the job done.

Some of the vintage lathes in the transition period to electric motors still used the flat transition belts. My Lodge and Shipley is older so someone fabricated a contraption, of electric motor, large V-belt pulley that that drives the three step cone which acts as the line shaft. The distance between the upper and lower three step cone is only about 30" and it doesn't have enough slack to twist the belt. For it to work (maybe) I would need to get a belt slightly longer just to use for reverse but I'm still not sure if there's sufficient space for the twist.
Nearly always, lathes of the line shaft drive type had a countershaft above with two clutches and a cone pulley on it; one clutch was driven by an open belt, the other a crossed belt for reverse rotation and a wooden lever to actuate either clutch; this was about always true on lathes with a lead screw for threading, as not all had a thread dial, and you had to reverse the lathe for threading to return the tool it its starting point for the subsequent cut. I have seen only one lathe, probably from the civil war era that was not so equipped; on it, the screw was used only for feeding, there being no provision for change gears, on it, the countershaft had only a tight and loose pulley for stop/start in the forward direction, It is nearly impossible to cross a belt as described above that was "open", as the belt would be too short, unless there was some provision to shorten the center distance. My first shop when I went into business in 1973 was mostly line shaft driven; when I had to relocate in the early 1980s it all went away due to the modern metal building that I moved into; some of the machines were converted, some replaced over time; when I sold out about 6 years ago, I was up to an average machinery age of perhaps WW-2 for the most part, and my home shop is nearly all 1940s and 1950s machinery.
 
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