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John Bertram & Sons Horizontal Mill

Rudy_R

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#1
I've found, somewhat locally, a small horizontal mill for relatively cheap. Other than a few horrible dimly lit flip phone pictures of it sitting under a mezzanine staircase, the only info I have is "It was built by John Bertram & Sons". Did a quick Google search, and turned up only the company history from Dundas, ON, no info about machines they built. Finding manuals or specs or anything like that is unlikely. This guy is selling it for his dad. They never used it, and want the space back in their shop. He got it from a friend that apparently used it 3-4 years ago. So, more likely 10 years ago. Looks pretty dusty from being under open stairs, and some light surface rust from humidity. Asked approx weight, and he says maybe 4000lbs, which I don't think is accurate. Might be 1500 at the most. Has one cutter on the arbor. Asked if any tooling comes with, he said he doesn't think so. Doesn't look to be any vise with it. Asking will likely get an "I don't know".

Using the surroundings as a gauge (stair treads and corrugated steel on wall behind), I would peg this at maybe 5 feet high max. It is also mounted on a stand, which makes up about half of the height. This is certainly not a big unit, probably just a bit bigger than a "bench top" unit.

He's a nice enough guy, and gets back to me pretty quick, which is a bonus for any online classifieds. I doubt that he has any others interested in it. I offered 1/3 of his asking price, he countered with 1/2, which still isn't too bad. Parting out would be impossible, but might be able to recover costs in scrap if it came down to that. Just trying to figure out if it's worth the 2 hour trip one way to pick this up in the gas guzzler. Go-go juice ain't exactly free, and spare time is non-existent with a toddler and an infant.

Anyone who has any input, would be much appreciated. If anyone knows anything about Bertram machines, I'd like to know as well.
 

Bob Korves

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#2
All used machines are unknowns until you look at them and vet them to your satisfaction. A good inspection is worth 100 H-M opinions based on a post describing a poorly made CL ad. Check it out or let it go, your choice. It may be a treasure or a waste of your time. There is only one way to find out which it is...
 

Rudy_R

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#3
I guess I was more looking to see if anyone knows anything about Bertram machines. In the info I have found, they seem to be overbuilt. Most of their focus was on steam engines and rail industries. Don't know what era this machine is from, but if I had to peg it somewhere, I'd say between 1930's - 50's. It has a flat belt pulley on the drive end of the arbor. Bertram was sold in the 1950's, and disolved as a company in the 70's. So it's likely from closer to the end of the company's time.
 

bl00

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#4
I know nothing of Bertram machines, however, I just found the ad and was checking out the pics. I think the other guy is closer to the weight. There's a whole lot of metal there. The hand wheel for the table is the size of a car steering wheel! For price I'd go about $150. Horizontal cutters are expensive, it's probably very worn, uses flat belts, and will be a pain to move. That said, I am an enabler so I think you should get it and post lots of pics. I love seeing old machines.
 

Rudy_R

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#5
For what it's worth, the machinery catalog I found listed the two different small horizontal mills they made at 1500 lbs. I know it's a big hunk of cast iron, and that handwheel is probably 50lbs by itself, but I think if it was 4000lbs, it would be on a pretty substantial base, not a table with relatively thin legs.
 

francist

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#7
There's a fair bit of information at the VintageMachinery site, including company history and a number of illustrations and ads from trade and machinery magazines. Seems like Bertram was a pretty going concern around the early 1900's and First War era. Here's a pic of one of their vertical milling machines. For scale, each of the pulley steps is 6", so I make this machine around ten to twelve feet front to back!

I'm thinking the one of the CL ad is a bit smaller? ;)

-frank

Screenshot-2017-10-16 John Bertram Sons - 1906 ads - Vertical milling machine; vertical bending roll
 

4gsr

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#8
According to the Vintage Machinery, the old Bertram machinery company was sold off to Niles, Belmont, Pond in 1906? Other entries shows different machinery badged "Bertram". So they must have started up again in the Canadian country, unless they were buying machinery from other manufactures and re-badging it with the Bertram name. Interested!
 
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