- 1875 – Champion Blower And Forge Co. Lancaster PA. founded by 17 year old Henry Keiper.
- 1901 Oct 18th – J.B. McLane files patent for a power hammer.
- 1908 June – First advertisement for the McLane power hammer in The Blacksmith and Wheelwright June 1908.
- 1909 Nov – Last advertisement for the McLane power hammer in The Blacksmith and Wheelwright Nov 1909.
- 1909-1911 – McLane sells patent to Champion Blower and Forge Company.
- 1912 January –
- Champion “Patented” Power Hammer appears in 1912 Champion Forge & Blower company catalogue.
- Advertisement including Champion Power Hammer appears in The Crow Bar.
- 1913 –
- Hercules Branding in advertisements.
- No 0 – 30lb hammer introduced.
- 1922 – Electric Motor versions of the No 0 & No 1 hammers.
- 1926 –
- Hercules No 2 125lb hammer introduced.
- Hammer dies on all hammers changed to angled dies.
- 1955 – Last Catalogue found mentioning Champion Power Hammers
- First mention of Electric OE2 Hammer found.
- 1955 No 0, 1, 2 & Electric 0, 1, 2
- 1969 Champion Blower and Forge Co. Relocated to Roselle, IL
- 1986 Ceased Operations
- 1987 Reopened as Champion Fan Corp of South Elgin, Il
- 2016 Champion Fan Acquired by Paul’s Fan Company
1902 The McLane Power Hammer Patent
In Oct 18th 1901 J. B. McLane filed a patent for an improved power hammer with several improvements on old designs:
- Condense the spring portion
- Employ springs to connect the hammer with it’s operating mechanism
- Provide more secure and inexpensive guides for the hammer
The patent in full reads:
To all, whom, it in may concern.
Be it known that I, JARED B. McLANE, of North Reading, in the county of Middlesex and State of Massachusetts, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Power Hammers, of which the following is a specification.
This invention relates to power-hammers; and it consists in certain improvements there in hereinafter described and claimed, having for their object to condense the spring portion of apparatus employing springs to connect the hammer or striker with its operating mechanism, to provide guides for the hammer which shall be more secure and in expensive to apply and renew than prior constructions, and to provide a treadle mechanism which may be operated from various positions with respect to the machine and with equal facility in any of said positions.
Of the accompanying drawings, Figure 1 represents a front elevation of a power-hammer provided with my improvements. Fig. 2 represents a side elevation. Fig. 3 represents an enlarged section on the line 3 3 of Fig. 1. Fig. 4 represents an enlarged vertical section of the spring and connections. Fig. 5 represents a section on the line 5 5 of Fig. 1, showing the treadle mechanism in plan.
The same reference characters indicate the same parts in all the figures.
In the drawings, 1 represents the cast frame of the hammer. 2 is the anvil; 3, the hammer, mounted to slide in vertical guides, and 4 is the driving-shaft, mounted in bearings at the upper end of said frame. A constantly running belt 5, normally loose on a pulley 6, attached to the shaft, is controlled by a belt-tightener 7 on a lever 8, oscillated by the treadle mechanism, whereby the belt may be caused to grip the pulley and rotate the shaft 4.
Fixed to the front end of the shaft 4 is a fly-wheel 9, having a wrist-pin 10, connected by a link 11 with a spring 12, whose lower ends are attached to the outer ends of two pairs of links 13 13, which suspend the hammer 3 at their inner ends. The links are pivoted to a single pintle 14, passing through ears on the hammer. My improvement consists in making the spring 12 substantially in the shape of a lyre, its two depending arms 15 15 being outwardly and upwardly recurved or looped at 16 16 in their lower portions. The connection with the outer ends of the links 13 13 is formed by pintles 17 17, passing through the links and surrounded by bushings 18 18, which occupy the bent or hooked extremities 19 19 of the spring-arms. This construction enables me to obtain a long spring and long suspending – links, giving greater elasticity to the blow, but condenses the spring as a whole both longitudinally and horizontally, which, among other things, re duces the danger of the operatives being struck by the spring.
The guides for the hammer are detachable from the frame and are constructed as follows: On the frame 1 is formed a flat seat 20, against which the guide is held by two vertical rows of bolts 21 21. The guide comprises a gib-holder or base 22, having a planed outer face forming a bearing for the back of a dove tailed guide-engaging portion 23 of the hammer 3, and two gibs 24 24, mounted in said holder and engaging the edges of said dove 55 75 tailed portion. The bolts 21 pass through . the gibs and holder and serve to secure the two together and to the seat 20 on the frame. Adjustment of the gibs in a horizontal direction is effected by means of adjusting bolts. 25.25, mounted in the holder 22, the gibs having elongated slots 26, Occupied by the bolts 21, to permit such adjustment. The back of the gib-holder 22 and the face of the seat 20 are left unplaned, and between the two are interposed two leather packing strips 27 27. Other soft material-such as paper, fiber, lead, &c.-may be employed, although leather is preferred. The gib holder finds its own bearing with respect to the seat 20 when the bolts are tightened, for the irregularities of each metal surface sink into the soft packing and a very secure joint is made. The guide may be removed bodily from the machine, making the expense of replaning or renewal relatively small, and the construction is obviously such that the parts are few in number and may be easily assembled, taken apart, or adjusted. The interposition of the leather packing avoids the expense of planed seating-surfaces for the removable guide, and the cushioning action of this packing increases the life of the guide and prevents the bolts 21 from becoming loosened by the jarring of the machine.
A further improvement lies in the treadle construction, which I shall now describe. 28 28 represent two rocking treadle-frames having side arms 29 29 and cross portions 30 30 at the outer ends of the side arms. The frames have four hinge-bearings 31 31 at the inner ends of their side arms, and the side arms of one frame are crossed with those of the other frame and pivotally connected thereto at the crossing by bolts 32 32, attached to one set of arms and occupying
elongated slots 33 in the other set. One of the side arms is connected by a rod 34 with the lever 8, which carries the belt-tightener 7. The belt-tightener may be actuated by stepping on any part of the treadle structure above the bolts 3232, which will result in depressing the rod 34 without any noticeable springing of either of the treadle-frames, such as is observable in single treadle-frames of the shape shown when the side away from the operating connection, such as 34, is stepped on.
I claim —
l. In a power-hammer, the combination of a hammer, a hammer-operating member, and a connection between the two including a pair of links suspending the hammer at their outer ends, and a lyre-shaped spring device connected with the hammer-operating member and having two depending spring – arms formed with outwardly and upwardly re curved terminal portions connected to the outer ends of the links.
2. In a power-hammer, the combination of a frame having a seat for a guide, hammer operating means mounted on said frame, a hammer, a guide therefor, having an un planed back, bolts detachably securing the guide to said seat on the frame, and a soft packing interposed between the guide and said seat. ‘
3. In a power-hammer, the combination of a frame having a seat for a guide, hammer operating means mounted on said frame, a hammer having a dovetailed guide-engaging portion, a guide for said hammer comprising a gib-holder engaging the back of said dove tailed portion of the hammer, gibs mounted in said holder and engaging the edges of said dovetailed portion, and bolts passing through said gibs and gib-holder and detachably se curing the same together and to said seat on the frame.
In testimony whereof I have affixed my sig nature in presence of two witnesses.
JARED B. MCILANE.
C. F. BROWN,
A. D. HARRISON.
The McLane Power Hammer For Sale
Presumably the McLane Power Hammer was available around the time of the patent though I have been unable to find records until 1908 when McLane began advertising his Power Hammer in the The Blacksmith And Wheelwright, published from 1896-1923. There do not seem to be advertisements in any other journals or magazines that I’ve been able to find. It’s not surprising that McLane chose to advertise in The Blacksmith and Wheelwright. As a major wagon manufacturer & blacksmith it is possible that McLane had a subscription to the publication. It also appears that Butts & Ordway had been advertising “McLane” iron shears since in the journal since 1896.
June 1908 has the first announcement of the McLane Power Hammer. The announcement reads, “McLane Power Hammer – in this issue for the first time appears the the announcement of the J.B. McLane, North Reading. Mass., who manufactures a power hammer, which he says gets busy at once and does things. He wants you to ask your hardware man for his hammer, but if you can get it of him send a postal card to Mr. McLane and he will give you full particulars about it, together with the price. He suggests that you will want to know about his hammer before you decide to purchase one. ”
Also appearing was a larger advertisement featuring a photo of McLane and encouraging the reader to write regarding his “Hammer which gets busy at once and does things” while being of only moderate cost.
This advertisement appeared again a month later in the July 1908 edition.
Compared with other advertisements in the magazine I think the lack of an image of the power hammer or any specifics about the hammer was probably
In August 1908 the advertisement switched to the one featuring the first image of the McLane power hammer with an image of the hammer appears. The text and image of McLane appear to be identical minus the salutation and signature from the earlier advertisement.
This first look at the hammer shows us a basic form that will remain unchanged for the next 50 years. Some of the unique elements that differ from the first Champion versions of the hammer are:
- The foot treadle is in an X design but includes a extra step making it easier to engage the hammer.
- The connection to engage the drive belt seems to be a slightly different connector.
- A bar with unknown purpose under the guides for the ram.
A little over a year later, September 1909, we see a longer article / advertisement that provides more details about the power hammer. Details around the hammer dies and forging capabilities are spelled out. These details wind up remaining standard items as the patent moves to Champion and into the 1950s.
McLane’s experience as a businessman who has developed a hammer to improve the function of his business is clear in some of the text of the advertising, “The McLane Power Hammer, illustrated herewith, is a thoroughly practical machine, and a valuable adjunct to any blacksmith’s shop.
It is said that if a physician takes his own medicine it is a good test of merit. Mr. McLane keeps hammers of his own make in constant service in his factory; and his machines are the outgrowth of actual shop practice.”
A much better advertisement than the earlier ones but considering the sale of the patent within the next couple years probably too little too late.
Lest We Forget Advertisements – Feb 1909 – Nov 1909
Last add for the McLane Power hammer from the Blacksmith & Wheelwright Nov 1909.
Note the reduced price being advertised.
It’s unclear why the tag line “Lest We Forget” was added to the advertisement.
“Lest we Forget” was first used in a Rudyard Kipling poem called “Recessional” to commemorate Queen Vitoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The poem emphasizes the dangers of a nation failing to remember the true source of it’s success. It reads in part,
‘God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!’
There do not seem to have been any notable disasters in the later half of 1908. It’s possible the reference is to do with the 1908 presidential election of Taft over Byron and the controversy of the Free Silver movement.
I think the most likely is just an increasing popularity of the phrase as a reminder. Cream of Wheat ran an ad at the same time featuring the same slogan calling on the buyer not to forget to buy their product.
With the end of November 1909 the McLane Power Hammer was no longer advertised and a few years later it was reintroduced as the Champion Power Hammer.
It is likely that a very small number of McLane Power hammers were ever produced and sold and none may still exist. As of this point I have yet to see evidence of an existing hammer.
1912 “The Champion” No 1 Power Hammer
The earliest documents I can find for the Champion Power Hammer branding are from 1912. in The Champion Catalogue and an advertisement in The Crow Bar.
The full page writeup, in the Catalogue, details how the inventor and manufacturer of this hammer sold the patent to The Champion Blower and Forge company noting that while the inventor was “an expert Power Hammer worker.” that manufacturing of power hammers was “entirely foreign to his regular business”.
It seems likely therefore that the patent was sold sometime around 1909-1911 allowing Champion to start selling it in 1912.
The overall form of the hammer looks similar to the McLane Power Hammer advertisements with a few notable changes:
- Removal of the lower bars on the foot pedals.
- Changes to the way the foot pedal engages the clutch.
- Changes to the branding on the hammer.
The advertisement notes that the hammer will with the regular dies weld a 2-1/4 inch axle, with a special die a 3-inch square axel, and that 2-1/2 inch square can be forged down to the size of a horseshoe nail without any adjustment.
It also notes that this hammer can weld a tire 3 feet in diameter up to 4 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Undoubtedly a key feature in McLane’s design of the hammer that he would have used in his wagon works.
The Crow Bar Magazine also ran an advertisement in Jan 1912 for the first time that incorporated the Champion Power Hammer into a collection of other Champion Products. This style of advertisement was a staple of the Champion Blower and Forge Company and numerous variations on it were used throughout the time the Power Hammer was advertised.
From 1912 through 1925 the Champion No 1 hammer seems to have remained the same without any obvious redesigns.
In 1913 the “Hercules” branding for the hammer was introduced and many of the advertisements
Champion Power Hammer No 0.
Champion Power Hammer No 2.
Electric Champion Power Hammers 0E, 1E & 2E
- 1912 Champion Blower and Forge Company Catalogue at the Adirondack Experience: The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake