[4]

Gabe Brooks 1930's shop in Scottsdale, AZ

[3]
[10] Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!

Glenn Brooks

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 14, 2014
Messages
764
Likes
950
#1
Stopped by the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale this week to ride their 15" gauge miniature train and 'discovered' this fantastic 12' x 12' square machine shop preserved in their small RR museum. Seems to me this is the most perfectly designed one man shop I've ever seen. And yes, it is 144 sq feet - on the outside of the building. I stepped off the dimensions - 4 long paces each side. (Correction - actually the shop is 3 x 4 paces, so 10' x12' or just under 120 sq feet interior dimension! A masterpiece of organization)

'Gabe' Brooks was an early day 'rancher' around the Scottsdale area, settling just east of Phoenix in 1917. He put this shop together around 1930. He was a prolific live steamer and also used the equipment to support his water well drilling business. Following his passing in the late 1980's a benefactor eventually preserved his shop building and equipment and had it moved and donated to the McCormic RR park in Scottsdale - where it is displayed today. Apparently the Scottsdale Live Steamers assisted in maintaining the shop for many years. Today the City of Scottsdale owns and operates the park, museum, on site carousel, and
Stillman Ranch's 15" ga railroad.

BTW, most all the equipment runs off a functioning overhead belt drive system. A huge 18" diameter electric motor is mounted up in the rafters to the right of the pictures and powers the overhead drive system.

The electric lamps are hung with weights on pulleys mounted in the rafters. Need more light on your work? Just reach up and pull the light shade down. The shade is hung from a pulley and A little 2 or 3 pound weight on the other end of the pulley slides up and down and holds the lampshade wherever you place it.

The little 12" power hacksaw and shop made 1" diameter vertical cutter have their own small motor driven electric motors? Durn modernization. What's the world coming to with this miserable new junk coming on the market...

Photos are from left to right, around the shop, looking in from the door.

The lathe is a South Bend 11" or 12" -couldn't quite read the tag on the end. The drill press is a 10" camelback, with spare drills placed on holders in the back.

Man, this has everything, even a drafting table and 8' workbench- and plenty of room to walk around. I gotta down size when I get home!

Glenn

IMG_1362.JPG IMG_1344.JPG IMG_1354.JPG IMG_1347.JPG IMG_1352.JPG IMG_1351.JPG IMG_1350.JPG IMG_1358.JPG IMG_1348.JPG IMG_1360.JPG
 
Last edited:

Bob Korves

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
5,673
Likes
5,989
#2
Nice!
 

Uglydog

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Messages
2,330
Likes
1,426
#3
And like many old time machinists, he/she likely did great work!!

Daryl
MN
 

FOMOGO

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Sep 2, 2013
Messages
1,810
Likes
1,731
#4
Love it. Thanks for posting. Mike
 

Glenn Brooks

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 14, 2014
Messages
764
Likes
950
#5
Stopped by again this morning to take another look and capture a few extra photos I somehow missed the first time around. The shop is actually smaller than I first thought, 10' x12' long. So 120 sq feet. Not 144 I stated in my first post. Had to step it off twice to believe it!

Here is a closeup view of Gabe's counterbalanced light shade. Notice the closeline cord running up to a pulley in the rafters, thence back down to a weighted lead weight. Way cool.

Also, shows his overhead belt drive system in more detail...

IMG_1425.JPG

Glenn
 

ndnchf

Registered
Registered
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
202
Likes
329
#6
Very cool. I may be taking a trip to Scottsdale in June. Sounds like a great place to visit. Thanks for sharing.
 

playfulplans

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Apr 22, 2017
Messages
26
Likes
8
#7
Stopped by the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale this week to ride their 15" gauge miniature train and 'discovered' this fantastic 12' x 12' square machine shop preserved in their small RR museum. Seems to me this is the most perfectly designed one man shop I've ever seen. And yes, it is 144 sq feet - on the outside of the building. I stepped off the dimensions - 4 long paces each side. (Correction - actually the shop is 3 x 4 paces, so 10' x12' or just under 120 sq feet interior dimension! A masterpiece of organization)

'Gabe' Brooks was an early day 'rancher' around the Scottsdale area, settling just east of Phoenix in 1917. He put this shop together around 1930. He was a prolific live steamer and also used the equipment to support his water well drilling business. Following his passing in the late 1980's a benefactor eventually preserved his shop building and equipment and had it moved and donated to the McCormic RR park in Scottsdale - where it is displayed today. Apparently the Scottsdale Live Steamers assisted in maintaining the shop for many years. Today the City of Scottsdale owns and operates the park, museum, on site carousel, and
Stillman Ranch's 15" ga railroad.

BTW, most all the equipment runs off a functioning overhead belt drive system. A huge 18" diameter electric motor is mounted up in the rafters to the right of the pictures and powers the overhead drive system.

The electric lamps are hung with weights on pulleys mounted in the rafters. Need more light on your work? Just reach up and pull the light shade down. The shade is hung from a pulley and A little 2 or 3 pound weight on the other end of the pulley slides up and down and holds the lampshade wherever you place it.

The little 12" power hacksaw and shop made 1" diameter vertical cutter have their own small motor driven electric motors? Durn modernization. What's the world coming to with this miserable new junk coming on the market...

Photos are from left to right, around the shop, looking in from the door.

The lathe is a South Bend 11" or 12" -couldn't quite read the tag on the end. The drill press is a 10" camelback, with spare drills placed on holders in the back.

Man, this has everything, even a drafting table and 8' workbench- and plenty of room to walk around. I gotta down size when I get home!

Glenn

View attachment 229111 View attachment 229112 View attachment 229113 View attachment 229114 View attachment 229115 View attachment 229116 View attachment 229117 View attachment 229118 View attachment 229119 View attachment 229120
Very nice, thx for postig.
 

Glenn Brooks

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 14, 2014
Messages
764
Likes
950
#8
UR Welcome! Yep, it's a fascinating use of space - and apparently the machinery is Brooks' original equipment. The City of Scottsdale has done a great job of maintaining and supporting the park. With 46" inches of rain in Seattle thus far, and more on its way tomorrow, I still pine away for another chance to sit on the bench outside the Park's old, renovated railway station eating hand made ice cream and drinking coffee under the warm sunny skies, just outside the machine shop. The live steam RR and the Park's 15" ga RR are fun to visit also - just across the lawn.

Glenn
 

markba633csi

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Apr 30, 2015
Messages
2,906
Likes
1,506
#9
Any relation there Glenn? At first I thought it might be an ancestor..
M
ps They actually let people in there? I would think they'd be worried about petty theft, liability, etc.
 
Last edited:

Rustrp

Registered
Registered
Joined
Feb 6, 2017
Messages
536
Likes
455
#10
Looking at the machines in the museum reminds me of when I was told how they reversed the rotation. Huh,,,what? Unfortunately the modification on my old lathe doesn't allow me to do the same, so I'm left with always going forward.
 

woodchucker

Registered
Registered
Joined
Nov 25, 2015
Messages
1,504
Likes
1,036
#11
Must have missed this post earlier... Thanks for posting it Glenn, looks quite modern for it's early days. Quite inviting too.
 

Glenn Brooks

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Nov 14, 2014
Messages
764
Likes
950
#12
Mark, probably no relation - but who knows! We're on the black sheep side of the family. The actual access to the shop is through the front door of the small RR museum -docent on duty all times. Then out the back door to the machine shop which opens on a small self contained square. the back wall is a Pullman car train consist - static display- that encloses the rear. So the building is more or less contained within the museum area. They do trust people a lot as there is some small tooling out for public view, inside the shop. And a do not enter sign at the door -so one can only look inside, but not walk around inside the shop.

Yep, there must be some way to reverse direction with the belt drive system, but darned if I know how to do it.

Glenn
 

Rustrp

Registered
Registered
Joined
Feb 6, 2017
Messages
536
Likes
455
#13
Yep, there must be some way to reverse direction with the belt drive system, but darned if I know how to do it.
That was my bit of trivia. The belts are laced on each end and held together with a pin. When the tension was released off the drive belt the machinist or operator, whatever the machine happened to be, had a pole with a hook which they could use to slip the belt off the line shaft pulley. They would pull the pin, then twist the belt and pull it around the opposite side of the driven pulley and pin it back together, then slip it back on the line shaft pulley. I can imagine if they were cutting left hand threads they had machines set to do this, because this seems labor intensive. It's interesting to see what happened to get the job done.

Some of the vintage lathes in the transition period to electric motors still used the flat transition belts. My Lodge and Shipley is older so someone fabricated a contraption, of electric motor, large V-belt pulley that that drives the three step cone which acts as the line shaft. The distance between the upper and lower three step cone is only about 30" and it doesn't have enough slack to twist the belt. For it to work (maybe) I would need to get a belt slightly longer just to use for reverse but I'm still not sure if there's sufficient space for the twist.
 

markba633csi

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Apr 30, 2015
Messages
2,906
Likes
1,506
#14
I like the Burgermeister clock on the far wall- I remember burgie. It was pale all right, but truly fine? (retching sound)
burgermeisterclock.jpg
 

woodchucker

Registered
Registered
Joined
Nov 25, 2015
Messages
1,504
Likes
1,036
#15
Being a Guinness guy, I would be retching too.
 

benmychree

John York
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Messages
2,444
Likes
1,823
#16
That was my bit of trivia. The belts are laced on each end and held together with a pin. When the tension was released off the drive belt the machinist or operator, whatever the machine happened to be, had a pole with a hook which they could use to slip the belt off the line shaft pulley. They would pull the pin, then twist the belt and pull it around the opposite side of the driven pulley and pin it back together, then slip it back on the line shaft pulley. I can imagine if they were cutting left hand threads they had machines set to do this, because this seems labor intensive. It's interesting to see what happened to get the job done.

Some of the vintage lathes in the transition period to electric motors still used the flat transition belts. My Lodge and Shipley is older so someone fabricated a contraption, of electric motor, large V-belt pulley that that drives the three step cone which acts as the line shaft. The distance between the upper and lower three step cone is only about 30" and it doesn't have enough slack to twist the belt. For it to work (maybe) I would need to get a belt slightly longer just to use for reverse but I'm still not sure if there's sufficient space for the twist.
Nearly always, lathes of the line shaft drive type had a countershaft above with two clutches and a cone pulley on it; one clutch was driven by an open belt, the other a crossed belt for reverse rotation and a wooden lever to actuate either clutch; this was about always true on lathes with a lead screw for threading, as not all had a thread dial, and you had to reverse the lathe for threading to return the tool it its starting point for the subsequent cut. I have seen only one lathe, probably from the civil war era that was not so equipped; on it, the screw was used only for feeding, there being no provision for change gears, on it, the countershaft had only a tight and loose pulley for stop/start in the forward direction, It is nearly impossible to cross a belt as described above that was "open", as the belt would be too short, unless there was some provision to shorten the center distance. My first shop when I went into business in 1973 was mostly line shaft driven; when I had to relocate in the early 1980s it all went away due to the modern metal building that I moved into; some of the machines were converted, some replaced over time; when I sold out about 6 years ago, I was up to an average machinery age of perhaps WW-2 for the most part, and my home shop is nearly all 1940s and 1950s machinery.
 

Manderioli

Active Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 7, 2016
Messages
147
Likes
59
#17
I have been to the railroad park many times and have never seen inside the shop. Thank you for the photos. I need to go see this in person.
 

Ray C

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Staff member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Messages
5,215
Likes
1,427
#18
What? No DRO on those machines? -And none of them are on benches with shimmed legs to remove the bed twist... Say it ain't so!
 

benmychree

John York
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Messages
2,444
Likes
1,823
#19
If you want to see the real thing in California, go to the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown; during the "season" they have train rides through the countryside and their original shop is intact, with all the big machinery that you would expect to see in a locomotive shop, including, a McCabe double spindle lathe. I was given a personal tour of the shop by an employee who was a very high class welder, Norman Comer, who was welding a cracked tube sheet in the firebox of one of the locomotives. I do not know if visitors are routinely permitted in this shop, which is not in use any more, but perhaps if notice was given ahead of time, a visit might be accommodated. It is definitely worth seeing.
 

core-oil

Active User
Registered
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Messages
432
Likes
191
#20
My little "Grey Lady", (My name for my little Zyto of London 3&1/2" x 9" between centres screwcutting lathe) purely because I have given her a lovely new paint coat after I overhauled her, She originally had been a nice grey colour, This little machine which was built circa 1957, by the above mentioned company, was most likely one of the last batches of their lathe production, The firm manufactured wood working machinery for a little time after lathe production ceased I purchased this machine last year, sadly the countershaft iwas not with it, , At the time of writing I have just finished the production of a new countershaft with Fast & Loose pulley system & new cone, Hopefully if the snow clears tomorrow I will get to collect some angle iron ,for the construction of the girder work to set the countershaft drive above the lathe I must confess this is a trip "Down Memory Lane" from days gone past!, It is a sweet little machine
Thanks Glenn for the posting on the little Railroad Shop, The builder worked in a small area like me.
 

Silverbullet

Gold
Registered
Joined
May 4, 2015
Messages
3,419
Likes
1,665
#21
Not many left like that one. My little planer came from an old shop like that , he's still trying to sell a Brainerd mill and a big shaper I keep trying to trade for. Shame too it was all operational .
 
[6]
[5] [7]
Top