Friday, August 16, 2013

Time for another belt

Back in the day, everyone used old utility motors scavenged from furnace blowers and the like to power various workshop tools.  Sometimes you simply added an arbour to the motor shaft, which slid over the shaft to be secured by a grub screw, with a threaded end used for holding a grinding stone, buffing wheel or whatever.  Several years ago I went into Canadian Tire in search of such an arbour, and no one I talked to had ever heard of such a thing, so I had to turn one on the metal lathe.  In other cases, you ran a tool from the motor using a V-belt.  

Carl W. Bertsch.  The WISE Handbook of Basic Home Carpentry
New York:  Wm. H. Wise & Co., Inc., 1952.
I found several older belt packages in my shop:

In 1911, Charles Gates bought the Colorado Tire and Leather Company in Denver, whose sole product was the Durable Tread, a band of leather imbedded with steel studs that early motorists wrapped around their tires to help extend the mileage on what passed for roads in those days.  By 1917, the company name changed to the International Rubber Company, reflecting a change in its manufacturing material.  The same year, Charles' brother John came up with a belt made of rubber and woven threading shaped like a V, which gave it its name.  This was intended to replace the standard hemp rope belts used at the time to power machinery and automobiles.  Eventually, this became the company's staple.  Renamed the Gates Rubber Company, the company expanded across the U.S. and, in 1954, across the border to Brantford, Ontario.  In 1980, it added the Uniroyal Power Transmission Company to its assets, becoming the world's largest producer of power transmission belts, a title it retains to this day.  Family ownership ended in 1996 when the company was sold to Tomkins plc, a British engineering firm.  

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