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Archive for May 7th, 2017

Relics of the Empire: Bearing Samples

Schatz Manufacturing, a major bearing producer in Poughkeepsie, made a sample case to show off their wares:

Schatz Ball Bearings

Schatz Ball Bearings

You can tell by the yellowed backing paper that these have been around for a looong time.

It turns out that Poughkeepsie had two bearing manufacturers. Federal Bearings went into the products of other locally important industries:

Federal Bearings

Federal Bearings

A detailed look shows what was important, back in the day:

Federal Bearings - Detail - IBM Card Sorter

Federal Bearings – Detail – IBM Card Sorter

Schatz and Federal later merged into Shatz Federal Bearings, eventually become Shatz Bearings, and still operate in Poughkeepsie. Some of their industrial waste remains here, too.

Out in the garage I still have a few grease pilots (*) from the final Schatz Federal downsizing / going-out-of-business / moving / whatever sale. A friend bought several sets of heavy-duty steel chests-of-drawers which contained, very much to his surprise, a huge assortment of grease pilots, ranging in size from fit-on-your-thumb to cover-a-dinner-plate, which he obviously had no use for. He unloaded them on me with a phrase that has lived on forevermore:

They’re a buck apiece, unless you take all of them, in which case they’re free.

You’ll find the sample cases on the top floor of Adriance Library, should you ever be in town.

Taken handheld in ambient light to avoid harsh flash shadows, then perspective-distorted to make them look like I was standing directly in front of the reflective plastic covers.

(*) Different from a “pilot bearing”. A “grease pilot” is a two-part circular steel assembly used to inject grease into the bearing races before snapping the shields in place. They’re painstakingly machined to cup the balls and fill the gaps, with a pipe fitting on the back surface for the grease pump.

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