At a farm auction in Waterloo Illinois in '92 I bought 2000 pounds of wheel weights for $10.00, yes TEN dollars. All Massey Harris but one set of Oliver. If you stack them up, wheel weights don't take up that much space, so when the bid stopped at $130.00 with my finger in the air, I was then the proud owner of this deeluxe planer. I was sure glad the truck I was driving at the time had 13 leaves stacked on the rear axle !!!
This is a J T Towsley, 24" planer, adapted to run off a 5 hp motor with a 4 belt sheave. The original motor was attached directly to the cutterhead shaft by the huge cast frame you can see in the first picture. The motor shaft was cut when the motor was discarded, maybe defective or maybe an old 3 phase that couldn't be run on the farm, (who knows). The monstrous motor that had been fitted for use on the farm was an open ended "induction start repulsion run" type motor that drew 72 amps at peak during start up and right at 50 amps while planing lumber. I used it quite extensively back when making 2000 square feet of hardwood flooring (but that's another story). You can see the brass thickness guage on the right side of the planers bed.
Here you can see the 24" infeed table. Back to the motor, it was electrically reversible by adjusting a slip ring foreward or backwards which changed the way the brushes came into contact with the commutator (or armature). The start winding would stay engaged for a good 10 seconds to get it up to speed enough to drop out with centrifugal action. Verrrrrrry inefficient, but I used it anyway with different plans for the future which includes a tractor.....
There was nothing but 4x4's that the motor was lag bolted to, so I didn't even bother to bring those home. Here's a shot of the newly refined 2"x2" angle iron frame for mounting the motor much more securely. I made it to bolt up directly to the planer and welded uni-strut to set the motor on for belt adjustment. Using 'strut-nuts' or 'spring bolts' made specifically for uni strut, you loosen them tighten the belt by sliding the motor and retighten the bolts. The "D" handled lever with the notches on it is the belt tensioner for the flat belt that controls the infeed rolls.
The JT Towsley manufacturing firm went out of business in the mid '20's and their historical data on this machine says that in 1916 they changed from babbet bearings on the cutterhead to oilable bronze bearings. Mine has the bronze bearings so it is from between 1916 to 1925. They rarely serial numbered the early machinery, so no specific data can be found....whooops, 5 belt sheave, not 4 belt. The 4 belt sheave was on the motor.
Future plans include jackshafts and flat belts to be powered by pto off an old tractor, because I got rid of the electric-guzzling inefficient motor when copper was at $3.25 a pound. So to the avid antique power tool crowd I'm the guy that scraps out good stuff....You know how WE cringe when we see an old tractor lost to the junk man.....Anyway the motor was about 20" in diameter, weighed in at 145 pounds and had just at 40 pound of copper in it which netted around the original purchase price of the planer back in '92. Now I do feel bad about that now, just not TOO bad.
This copper tag is stamped W.P. & L. Co. which according to the auctioneer said it stood for The Waterloo Power and Light Co., Waterloo, Illinois. By the way the farm sale was within 5 miles or so of Waterloo Ill. I bet Steve (4imnotright) was even there that day, this is his hometown. I probably bid against him on an old Massey 44 and an old 33 with a Freeman loader....both now residing in my shed.....sorry, Steve.
My sister (The Alaskan) emailed me the other day and said I was ..."more loquacious than she"...well, it took about an hour for me to drag a word that big to the dictionary to find out she said I was a little bit "windy" with my story telling. So again, I apologize for the length of text. Maybe next time, just pictures.....Hope you enjoyed this one.