Common Era Events
1200 - 1299 Horizontal bench lathe appears, using foot treadle to rotate object.
1485 Evidence of vertical grinding wheel with treadle and crank.
1550 Windmill driven saw. (Low Countries)
1568 Simple mandrel lathe shown on woodcut of Hartman Schopper.
1569 THEATRE DES INSTRUMENTS ET MACHINES written: includes modified center lathe and other
guides. (Jacques Besson, France)
1569 - 1578 Improved (screw) lathe described in THEATRUM INSTRUMENTORUM: tool held rigidly
and moved axially forward by lead screw. (Jacques Besson, France)
1588 LE DIVERSE ET ARTIFICIOSA MACHINE describes 16th century machines: includes various
metal pumps. (Agostino Ramelli, Italy, France)
1662 Water-driven boring mill with guided auger for pump logs illustrated. (Bockler, Britain)
1671 Machine invented for cutting clock wheels: developed by 1784 into commercial availability.
(Robert Hooke, Britain)
1700 Earliest accurate metal-working lathes in use.
1700 ca. Iron mandrel lathes start to replace wood versions: written 1698, published 1701. (Father
1700 - 1799 Metal, especially cast iron, replaces wood for machine parts.
1750 Lathe with tool holder carriage invented: early use screw drive for precision machinery. (Thiout,
1750 Mechanical slide rest for lathe appears. (Britain)
1760 First metal-cylinder blowing engine built at Carron Ironworks: use of cast iron in machines led
end of wooden construction in power machinery. (John Smeaton, Scotland)
1770 Screw-cutting lathe invented: first to get satisfactory results. (Jesse Ramsden, Britain)
1775 - 1776 Horizotal boring mill invented: bores 57-inch steam cylinder 'correct within the thickness of
. . . shilling'. (John Wilkinson, Britain)
1783 Grinder for tools and cutters invented. (Samuel Rehe, France)
1785 Interchangeable musket locks produced with jigs (idea exported via Thomas Jefferson). (France)
1790 ca. Nail-making machine with toggle joint invented. (Jacob Perkins, Massachusetts)
1793 Woodworking machinery patented: includes planing machines with rotary cutters. (Bentham,
1794 Compound slide rest developed. (Henry Maudslay, Britain)
1794 - 1945 Springfield Armory established for US govt manufacturing: includes research and
development, gauges, metal working, etc. (Warner, Thomas Blanchard, Springfield, Mass)
1795 - 1798 Assembly process machines to produce interchangeable gun parts developed
(independent of French work). (Whitney and Bentham, New Haven, Conn)
1797 All-metal screw-turning lathe for precision machining introduced (1794—X3). (Henry Maudslay,
1798 Slide-rest lathe for cutting screw threads patented. (David Wilkinson, Pawtucket, RI)
top 19th Century
1808 Machines devised to make pulley blocks for British Navy: produced by Maudsley. (Marc I Brunel,
1808 ca. Power compressor used to drive workshop tools: apparently for the first time. (Wm Murdock,
1810 Lead screw adapted to lathe, leading to large-quantity machine-tool construction. (Henry
1816 Milling machine invented to reduce hand filing of intricate shapes. (Simeon North, Harpers Ferry
1817 Metal planing machine. (Roberts, Britain)
1818 Milling machine invented. (Eli Whitney, US)
1818 - 1836 Machine to copy wooden shapes invented; woodworking machines made (several
patented). (Thomas Blanchard, Worcester, Mass)
1820 ca. Steam engine (especially marine) and iron furnaces spur machine shop development: lead to
development of coal and iron.
1820 - 1849 Lathes, drilling, boring machines and planers -- most primary machine tools -- refined.
1826 Steel-arm filing machine introduced. (James Nasmyth)
1830 Gear-cutting machine with involute cutters and geared indexing improved. (Joseph Whitworth,
1830 - 1839 Steam engines for locomotives spur machine-shop growth. (US)
1830 - 1859 Milling machines, shapers, grinding machines. (US)
1831 Surface-grinding machine patented. (J W Stone, Washington, DC)
1834 Grinding machine developed: perhaps first. (Wheaton, Providence, RI)
1836 Shaping machine invented: Whitworth soon added crank mechanism. (James Nasmyth, Britain)
1840 ca. Vertical pillar drill with power drive and feed in use (originated in 1750).
1840 - 1844 Rotary drills with metal bits used: English patent by Beart; 1887 Chapman update. (Robt
Beart (English), France)
1842 Self-acting power-driven planing machine introduced. (Joseph Whitworth, Britain)
1842 Gear-generating machine for cutting cycloidal teeth developed. (Joseph Saxton, US)
1845 Disc-grinding machines devised. (James Nasmyth, Britain)
1846 Whitney (cylinder) wood-planing machine built. (Baxter Whitney, Massachusetts)
1850 Commercially successful universal milling machine designed (Robbins and Lawrence): first US.
(Frederick W Howe, Windsor, Vt)
1850 - 1885 Synthetic grinding wheels developed: introduces surface grinding over hand scraping.
1853 Surface grinder patented. (S Darling, US)
1854 ca. Commercial vertical turret lathe built for Robbins and Lawrence by R W Howe and Henry
Stone. (Stone, Howe, Lawrence, Windsor, Vt)
1855 Precision gear-cutter produced: accurate gears, drill index plates, and circular graduating.
(Joseph R Brown, Providence, RI)
1856 Hobbing process for making gears: effective with involute-shaped gear that superceded cycloidal
in 1880s. (Christian Schiele, US)
1857 Whitney gauge lathe built. (Baxter Whitney, Massachusetts)
1860 Twist drill (for flutes) introduced: increases speed of drilling, leads to Brown and Sharpe
universal milling machine. (US)
1860 - 1869 First cylindrical grinder made in US: replaces single-point tool of engine lathe. (US)
1860 - 1879 Universal milling (1861-65) and universal grinding machines (1876) produced. (Joseph
Brown and L Sharpe, Providence, RI)
1860 - 1910 Precise metal-working machine tools for mass production grow, requiring standardization.
1863 - 1868 Thread-rolling machines for screw threads built. (Joseph Tanye, Britain)
1869 Machine for planing metal patented: production of fine gear work promotes standardized gauges.
(Francis Pratt, Hartford, Conn)
1870 Factories producing heavy machinery appear. (US)
1871 - 1873 Sand blasting developed and introduced for fettling iron castings. (B C Tilghman, Britain)
1873 Automatic screw machine invented (1893, produced finished screws from coiled wire--A2). (C M
1878 Spur gears manufactured by mechanical process. (Ambrose Swasey, Hartford, Conn)
1880 ca. Precision roll-grinding machine introduced: determined straightness and uniformity of finish.
(J M Poole, US)
1887 Portable electric drills introduced: for shipbuilding. (F J Rowan, Britain)
1887 Spur-gear hobbing machine patented. (C B Grant, US)
1892 Quick-change gearbox invented: flexible lathe device. (W P Norton, US)
1893 Experimental work on planing published: RABOTA I USILIE NEOBKHODIMYYA DLYA OTELENIYA
.... (K A Zvorykin, Moscow)
1895 Multispindle automatic lathe introduced for small pieces. (US)
1896 - 1940 Heavy-duty precision, high-production rate grinding machine introduced, Brown and
Sharpe. (Charles Norton (Ford), RI and Mass)
1897 Gear-shaping and related cutters patented. (E R Fellows, US)
1899 Grinding machine produced for cones and cups of bicycle ball bearings: changeable templates
adjust to various designs of theball-race profile. by Pratt and whitney.
Pratt and Whitney, automatic screw machine
1900 Tools by Bethlehem Steel Company using Taylor-White steel exhibited at Paris World Exposition.
1900 ca. Magnetic chucks introduced in machine tools. (US)
1902 Hydraulic drives and controls introduced for machine tools. (Brown and Sharpe, US)
1909 ca. Drill sharpening machine patented: adopted worldwide (rights sold to Ingersoll-Rand). (J
George Leyner, Littleton, Colo.)
1915 Centerless grinding introduced. (L R Heim, US)
1917 - 1939 Gear and hob measuring machines designed: includes pantograph mechanism and sine
arm, and 1939 surface finish recorder. (George Tomlinson, NPL, Britain)
1920 ca. Keller milling machine introduced: die-sinking for three-dimensional copying of template, used
for large steel dies in automobile manufacturing.
1920 ca. Electric motors combined with individual machine tools on wide scale (begins as early as
1921 First industrial jig borer made for precision machining: based on 1912 single-point tool. (Societe
1925 Tool-tip temperature measurements established through independent work of E G Herbert, H
Shore, and K Gottwein. (London, Massachusetts (US), USSR)
1927 - 1949 Accuracy of large-turbine gear-teeth finish improves greatly over 20-year period. (IMechE)
1933 Continuous filing and band-saw machine (Do-All) introduced in US. (US)
1938 Machine tool tests and alignments published by IMechE. (G Schlesinger, Britain)
1943 Electro-discharge machining (spark erosion) developed for machine tool manufacturing.
1944 - 1947 Centerless thread-grinding machine patented. (A Scrivener (British), Britain, US)
1950 ca. Portable chain tooth saw replaces manual tree-cutting tools.
The above Information from of ASME.ORG > Communities > History Center > History Resources >
Mechanical Engineering TimeLine Preview! > Members & Reviewers Only > Tools and Shop > Machine
Milling Department, Grinding
old machine shop view april 12 1900
american machinist mag
Wood framed lathe with hand held chisel for
cutting shaving the metal like a wood lathe.
French mid 1700's lathe-mandrel metal cutting
lathe and threading machine Diderot mid 1700s
Wood framed Musket gun barrel milling
machining machine 1700s French
Diderot_400 dpi threequartpage.