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Northrop, E. B.; Chittenden, H. A., Jr. (ed.) / The Wisconsin lumberman, devoted to the lumbering interests of the northwest
(August, 1874)

Combination in wood cutting-machines,   p. 488 PDF (394.5 KB)

Page 488

T8'r  Wisoonns Luenberman.
Combination of functions, like auto-
matic action, is often misapplied in
machine construction, especially in
machines for working wood; s0 long
has wood work been performed by
hand, and so recent has been the in-
troduction of machines, that it is
difficult to do away with the impres-
sion that machines are but an adjunct
or auxiliary to hand labor, and that
a machine which is capable of doing
almost anything, and can be called in
to assist when needed, is a good
Without assuming that it is not
proper and right in some places to
have combined or universal machines,
it must be maintained that the great-
est amount of labor saving is effected
by separating, rather thandin combin-
ing, functions in this way. There is
little saved except the framing, and
perhaps a countershaft or two, while
the capacity of each is impaired,
often but one part being capable of
being used at the same time.
There are only two sets of condi-
tions that call for the combination of
several functions in one machine for
wood work; one, in the case of a very
small shop, where one man can per-
form all the machine work; the other
case, that of a very large shop, where
one man can do the irregular jobs
without disturbing the standard ma-
chines. In these two places, a ma-
chine that will saw, mould, tenon,
mortise, etc., is a useful and proper
machine, but for regular manufactur-
ing purposes the object should rather
be to separate than to combine them.
The large number of machines of
this class made, especially in Eng-
land, leads us to conclude that their
sale is created to a large extent by
the impression that the purchaser
gets a number of machines condensed
into one, and at a reduced cost.
The author was once called upon
in America to examine and pass an
pinion upon a machine which per-
formed all the various operations of
malting a carriage wheel He rec-
ommended that it be placed in a car-
riage manufactory for experiment,
where it performed in a perfect
manner all that was claimed for it,
but the inventor was astounded when
the manufacturer told him that he
should require at least twenty-four
machines for his shop, or if he would
separate it into some eight parts, three-
machines would answer the same
purpose. In other words, if the in-
ventor would undo what he bad-
done, separate what he had com--
bined, he would leave the art where
he found it, without having added.
anything. Thousands of pounds in
money and time are continually being
spent by mistaking "combination">
for 'invention." The novelty of per-
forming two or more things with the
same agent is quite deceptive, andI
we are apt to mistake for useful that
which is only noveL
The courts have done something
to correct this idea of invention in
combinations, by holding that one or
more of the elements in a combina-
tion must be new, in order that it
shall be subject-matter for a patent.
Yet patents are continually being al-
lowed in cases where all the elements
are old, as they must of necessity be,
unless consisting of new mechanical
movements which are not likely to
be Jeveloped by the class of invent-
ors who; patent combination ma-
A machine, that is arranged to do
several different things, is generally
supposed to do but one at a time,
hence the more functions it has, the
greater the proportion of that part
or parts which are idle. Now ma-
chines to pay must not stand idle,
they must run, run fast, and run con-
tinuously; they must have room m
which to handle material, and not be.
encumbered with parts that have
nothing to do with the portion at
work-Bichards' Wood-Working No-

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