Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Equipment: the Kimble Electric Motor, c. 1915

The Kimble Electric Motor

Recently, I had my ancient 1hp GE motor totally repacked and restored.  I am considering having the same thing done to the Kimble motor for the 10x15 by the same folks, but my suspicion is that restoring a fairly modern motor from 1960, and resurrecting a variable speed motor suffering the ravages of nearly a century, which means at least half of that time, no climate control was available - in Florida - might be a "3/4 horse" of a different colour! So, for the benefit of the folks that may - or may not choose to take this project on, I took some photos and made a short video of this motor, still on it's mounting shaft.  The photos show the specs indicated on the face plate, the video shows the movement and some of the interior dynamics, some of the wire corrosion, etc.

As a former restorer of communications equipment from the 1920s and 30s, I was personally impressed by the lack of oxidation and corrosion that I can see from my perspective, the contacts need cleaning, but are overall in much better shape than rigs I've had to restore that were much newer and coming from a more protected environment!  But I am not a motor expert, and I may have an unpleasant surprise coming, so I'll not get my hopes up.  I can say that the rotor spins freely, there does not appear to be bearing noise when  slow  turning by hand, the speed control armature glides freely, and the rotor contacts look pretty clean.  

The saving grace may be a phenomena I observe with most old press-room equipment: a thin sheen of oil, or grease, seems to collect on this equipment when stored in shops over time, and while it collects dust like a magnet, which requires a lot of elbow grease to get off, it does one thing pretty well - slows down penetration of humidity.   Very often I've cleaned these machines off to find the iron or steel beneath clean as a whistle!  In fact, clean enough to run and operate almost immediately.

Here are close-up shots of the Kimble itself, and it's brass face-plate:

Here's the motor itself, on it's C&P mount and attachment arm.

Plate reads: "Kimble Electric Company, 3/4 hp., continuous duty cycle, 1(single) phase, 110/220 volts,
12a (@110vac) / 6a (@220vac), 60 cycles."

"Speed (rpm): 500 - 2000, Serial No.: 44785"
The newest patent date reads 1915.

A full shot of the face-plate, which, I think, is either copper or bronze.

Bottom center has that cool Kimble Motor Company, Chicago Logo.

That about does it for this installment.  Apart from this we have designing and printing banquet announcements, more wedding announcements, and we may be doing more coaster work if all the links fall into place!  We've been pretty busy.

On a personal note, all the while I've been operating G. Johanson, Printer - largely a labor of love - I have also maintained a full time management position in a local optical clinic.  I am stepping down from management of that facility in order to pay more attention to Letterpress.  I think it holds great things in store, despite a turned-down economy and standard printing operations going belly up to the tune of two-thousand per year.  These are huge operations.  But . . . Letterpress printing is not 'standard'! It is an artisan craft that produces a finely crafted product that you don't get at Hallmark or from China-based corporation.  

I've heard "They don't make 'em like they used to."  

Well, I'm here to tell you they doWE do!  Still by hand and eye.  Still by utilizing ancient skills and equipment.  Still by touch, one print at a time. American manufacturing is alive and will in the World of Letterpress!

-Gary Johanson, Printer & Proprietor

G. Johanson, Printer
Letterpress Printing & Design.