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Bolt Cutter

From the Collection of Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village 89 Merri Street Warrnambool Victoria

Cast iron bolt cutter with removable tempered steel cutter. Chambers New No. 2.
L 8.4 cm X W 1.6 cm x H .5 cm
Object Registration
flagstaff hill, warrnambool, shipwrecked coast, flagstaff hill maritime museum, maritime museum, shipwreck coast, flagstaff hill maritime village, great ocean road, cyrus chambers, bolt cutter, paper folding machine, brick making machine, elliot cresson, elliot cresson medal, franklin institute, gold medal, rivet cutter
Historical information
Cyrus Chambers was a self-described mechanic who started out winding bobbins in his father's woollen mill and went on to invent machines that changed their industries. Cyrus Chambers came from Quaker parents the ninth of thirteen siblings, he once said a year before his death. “I believe I have succeeded because, first, I was industrious; second, because I made a study of the subject that was before me.”
At age 7, Chambers went to work in his father’s mill. His job was to monitor bobbins—wooden spindles around which thread was wound and to remove and replace them as they became full. "There was no child labour law at that time," he later recalled. Chambers loved machinery and always regarded himself as a mechanic rather than an inventor.
At age 16, Chambers was sent to learn dentistry with an older brother, (Edwin) who was already in the field and willing to take him on as an apprentice. Chambers was talented at working with small parts. He used his brother's dental instruments to build a miniature high-pressure steam engine of silver. It ran at 3,000 revolutions per minute and weighed less than a half-ounce. At that time it was the smallest engine that had ever been constructed. The engine was displayed at the 1876 Centennial and is now in a permanent collection at the Franklin Institute USA.
Chambers major invention was the paper folding machine and came from reading that school teachers made less than the young girls who were employed to fold book pages as they came off the press. He told friends that his first efforts were to make the machine that would fold newspapers after demonstrating his device he met with Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune who advised Chambers would never invent the machine that would be able to fold his newspaper or books. In less than a year Chambers had built a full-size machine capable of folding large newspapers and books and was installed at J B Lippincott & Co folding pages for the "Comly Speller" this machine ran successfully for twenty-five years until the printing works burnt down.
Chambers then went into partnership with a brother and they established the firm "Chambers, Brother & Co" at a plant in Philadelphia. It was also observed in 1910 and a fact that there was not a periodical or newspaper printed or recently published book that had not gone through one of Chambers inventions. Chambers went on to produce many mechanical inventions and improvements to existing tools and machinery most notable was his invention for the machine that would make clay bricks. This machine made forty bricks per hour and by the end of Chambers life after many improvements, it could make more than four hundred.
When Made
Although there were a large number of bold cutters made of this patent at Cyrus Chamber’s foundry in Philadelphia, the item is associated with a notable American inventor of the nineteenth century. This particular patent for a bolt and rivet cutter won Chambers the prestigious Elliott Cresson Medal. This cutter is just one of the many inventions and mechanical improvements that Cyrus Chambers made during his lifetime, contributing to the ongoing development of mechanical improvements that were occurring in American industry of the time and therefore a notable addition to the Flagstaff collection.
Inscriptions & Markings
Raised embossed lettering on cast body of cutter "New No 2" on one side, "Chambers Bros & Co" on the other side
Last updated
21 Aug 2019 at 12:58PM