French influence on U.S. Armories

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butlersrangers
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French influence on U.S. Armories

Post by butlersrangers » Wed Nov 25, 2020 7:41 am

I wish I had access to some early products of Springfield and Harper's Ferry Armories, as well as, some French Arms in use, during our Revolution and the War of 1812 period.

It would be fun to measure the screw-threads used on a Hall Breech-Loading rifle and see if there was any relation to U.S. Armory products, that preceded and followed it.

The U.S. Armories were a driving force in the development of the machine-tool industry and mass production. French military arms greatly influenced our first U.S. Military Arms.
The peculiar threads, we find on Krag screws, were influenced and evolved from something/somewhere?

An interesting short read on interchangeable parts and French pioneering efforts:
www.allaboutlean.com/230-years-interchangeability/

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Re: French influence on U.S. Armories

Post by FredC » Wed Nov 25, 2020 3:20 pm

A forensic fastener study? I like the idea, but just say the phrase real fast 10 times. :-)

Count me in when you get samples. "To borrow from Paladin "Have thread wires and optical comparator, too old to travel."

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Re: French influence on U.S. Armories

Post by butlersrangers » Wed Nov 25, 2020 4:48 pm

I am not a scientist, engineer, or machinist. I have never worked in a factory or shop, that mass produced a machine made product, (except a daily newspaper).
The lingo, techniques, and machines of manufacture are not easy for me.

Firearms are interesting products of human inventiveness and technology.
I have had the pleasure of looking at, owning (at least for a while), handling and shooting a fair number of guns.

I've always been curious, and tried to be observant of gun markings, part similarities, and differences. I find an interest in how things were made, evolved, and are related.
It is fun to go through a box of old military firearm-parts at a gun-show, have an idea of what you are looking at, and maybe find something you can use.

It is humbling to see the skill, precision, and perfection that is evident in many mass-produced firearms, manufactured in the 1850's and later.
The 'ground-work' for this precision was definitely established earlier and built on.

I suspect, that surely, someone has already made a study of manufacturing 'nuances' and reported on it? The story has likely already been told, it just has to be found or located and shared.

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Re: French influence on U.S. Armories

Post by FredC » Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:27 pm

Aw Nuts! I thought you wanted to get some sample screws from US, Anglo and French firearms and trace the characteristics. Somewhere back there the origins of interchangeable screws started with someone making taps and dies with the ability to measure them and get some kind of repeatability. Some where back there the British adopted the Whitworth thread with 55 degree angle on the flanks that no one else used, not sure if it goes back as far as you want.
Around the 1880s some automation was starting. By the early 1900s many of the modern screw machines had been developed. The first shop I worked at had a Davenport area in the back with the big screw machines. They did not let me back there very often but I mentioned to someone I thought the Davenports looked sort of primitive besides being extremely noisy. The operators said that they were extremely fast. Cycle times of less than a second were possible. I think it was the 3rd spindle could be braked for cross drilling and milling operations. The boss bought a couple of really old ones 1906 or something. They almost had a revolt thinking the boss wanted to get them running, he wanted them for historical show pieces. Funny thing they looked very much like the late machines.
BR, you might want to trace early automation to find who was at it first, you know that it was driven by firearms production. When I was at that first screw machine place, Phoenix Automatic Machine, I remember seeing them drag out bins full of little shafts, I asked what they were, firing pins for hand grenades was the answer. Astonishing quantity and PAM was just handling some of the overflow for the company that had the main contract.
Your history will need to go back before Brown & Sharpe and Davenport screw machines came on the scene. Finding the British and French predecessors will probably be your target.
Last edited by FredC on Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: French influence on U.S. Armories

Post by FredC » Fri Nov 27, 2020 4:44 pm

Here are some articles, take them for what they are worth. I have seen writers make mistakes before. Depends on how far you go back, looks like everyone was stealing stuff. Just checked a Krag loading gate screw and it has and rounded crests and roots like the Whitworth but with 60 degrees flanks. Without a better timeline it is hard to tell who was copying who. Looks like French may have copied some American leads.

https://littlemachineshop.com/images/ga ... hreads.pdf Eli Whitney steels a set of taps and dies?

https://apiams.com/blog/appreciating-th ... machining/ 1845 contract for arms with replace able parts
https://www.thomasnet.com/insights/the- ... equipment/
https://www.brogan-patrick.com/blog/the ... -machines/
https://www.boltscience.com/pages/screw2.htm Whitworth
https://www.sizes.com/tools/thread_history.htm Whitwort Sellors

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Re: French influence on U.S. Armories

Post by butlersrangers » Fri Nov 27, 2020 5:17 pm

I don't have a U.S. arm earlier than a model 1866 Springfield, right now.

I will measure the threads on model 1866 and model 1873 Springfield rifle screws, sometime. Trapdoors share some threads with the Krag and the Krag shares screws with the 1903 Springfield.

I don't think the 'U.S. Rifle-model of 1917' (Enfield) shares screws with any other U.S. military arm, but then, it was the offspring of the British Pattern 1913 Enfield.
I think 1917 screw threads are related to Lee-Enfield screws.

I believe, Mr. Whitworth standardized things in G.B. and influenced screws and threads Worldwide, but, many countries seem to have developed and retained their own standards.

(It is also interesting how, during the 19th and early 20th Century, U.S. Pratt & Whitney machinery found its way into the Arsenals of Great Britain, Australia, and Norway.
There is also the common reference to the manufacture of arms being setup on "The American System").

I think much would be revealed by the study of the screw-threads used on the U.S. Hall breech-loader. (I don't have access to a 'Hall').

Mr. Hall toiled on his arm at Harper's Ferry until it could be mass produced with totally interchangeable parts. (IIRC- around 1824)
This involved gauges and inspections that were shared with a private contractor, Simeon North, who in turn built Hall breech-loaders with parts interchangeable with those of Harper's Ferry. (North's 'arms factory' was a pioneering marvel).
Parts being interchangeable between factories was a manufacturing development that was huge!

My suspicion is that the screw-threads on a Hall breech-loader would be similar to those used on muskets and arms, made at Springfield and Harper's Ferry, both before and after the Hall. (This could be easily proved or disproved, if example guns were available for measuring).
Last edited by butlersrangers on Fri Nov 27, 2020 11:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: French influence on U.S. Armories

Post by butlersrangers » Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:48 pm

Fred, thanks for the links. Some interesting reading there!

I'm finding the story of John Hall and Simeon North very interesting. They were true manufacturing pioneers.
Attachments
Hall Patent.jpg
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Hall - North.jpg
Hall - North.jpg (83.02 KiB) Viewed 281 times
Hall 1821.jpg
Hall 1821.jpg (11.9 KiB) Viewed 281 times
Hall bore.jpg
Hall bore.jpg (12.8 KiB) Viewed 281 times

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Re: French influence on U.S. Armories

Post by FredC » Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:47 am

Actually the world passed Mr Whitworth by. His 55 degree thread flank is not used in any modern system. The deeply rounded crests and roots of his system that were used in the Krag and Springfields are gone also. Unified, SAE, and all Metric now use the 60 degree included angle, as well as flats on the roots and crests, Whitworth was has been left in the dust. Time lines could use a little fine tuning, but it looks like France abandoned some of the odd flank angles and followed the US on the 60 degree. Not sure who went to the flats instead of the large radii first. Changes were coming fast and furious and without a program it was hard to follow.

I lost the 2 magazine/trigger guard screws on my 1917 Enfield and had to make them. I sort of remember grinding one 55 degree threading tool in my life and it was probably for the Enfield. Could not prove it without taking it apart though.

Funny story I made guard screws for Mr. Kleinguenther's Mausers. They were near 1/4 and I was sure they had to be metric. I kept playing with the pitch till I got 1.15mm and they worked. 1.15 is really an odd metric pitch, turned out they should have been 22 threads per inch. So during the time Krags were being made Mauser was using 1/4- 22 instead of metric! Held over till recently. Must have burned the German machinists to be using an imperial thread during WW2. They were 60 degree included with flats on the crests and peaks. Not sure how far back that feature went.

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Re: French influence on U.S. Armories

Post by butlersrangers » Sat Nov 28, 2020 6:46 am

Metric appears rather confused and less unified across the globe, than I thought.
There apparently is English metric, French-German Metric, Japanese Metric, and other variations through out the world.
(This was according to one of the articles in the links Fred posted).

Also, in France "metric" had a rocky start. Ideas related to Metric were being advanced in France preceding their Revolution. The Revolution wanted to digitize every thing including time!
Napoleon liked metric, but allowed a reversion in 1812 to earlier systems for some civilian matters. Metric was reintroduced in France in 1840.

The driving force for standard (and stronger) threads in the 19th Century seems to have been steam engines, firearms, and railroads. (I would guess bicycles should be in the growing demand, also).

It appears some standardization was a result of the French, British, and American Alliance during WWI.

This gets all so confusing.
I guess, I am just trying to understand the history of U.S. 19th Century gun screws that also carried into some early 20th century arms. (These gun threads are different than the jars of machine screws in my basement or things I can buy at Ace Hardware.

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Re: French influence on U.S. Armories

Post by FredC » Sat Nov 28, 2020 2:06 pm

Confusing, huh? I have a product that I needed to choose a thread. The size lent it self a #3 screw. I choose #3-56 not the most popular size in the US but shares about 80% of the tolerance of 2.5 .45 metric. I bought 3-56 gauges because they were a few dollars cheaper. Then a customer specified 2.5- .45MM threads on a part. So I ended up buying a metric plug go gauge. The gauge did fit the parts made to #3-56 specs.

For standard threads the 60 degree thread form with flats on the roots and crests did become more or less universal. But there still square threads, Acme threads, stub Acme, pipe and buttress threads that do not use the new universal thread form. API oil field threads sort of use the more or less universal thread form with larger flats on the crests. Then you have light bulb threads and jar threads (many jars have multi starts).

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