1932 Cowan & Company 12" Jointer

calgaryguy

Chris
Premium Member
Some people expressed a desire to know more about the old piece of Cast Iron I picked up at auction this past week.

Cowan & Co was a Foundry and Woodworking Equipment manufacturer based in Galt, Ontario until the 1950's.


My 12" Jointer is date tagged 1932 and has what appears to be a model # of 2-440. I suspect this was a 440v non-lineshaft jointer. The Cowan & Co ~1900-1910 catalogs at Vintage machinery (link abve) shows nothing but lineshaft equipment. Not much documentation out there. On these later Cowan & Co pieces that I can find so far.

It came with a very large form factor Baldor 3HP TE single phase motor. Its wayy larger than any of the other Baldor/Leeson 3hp motors I have in the shop.

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calgaryguy

Chris
Premium Member
In my other thread ('borrow a gantry crane'), I mentioned 'pillow blocks'.

Not really a 'pillow block' in a modern sense, but the two large bearing holders in this photo are marked FAG, and hold the 1210K double roller bearings. I would seem that the 1210K's are not original to the FAG bearing holders and have been retrofitted by someone at some point in its life with an attempt to manufacture some collars to hold the bearings in place. The FAG bearing holders(pillow blocks) also have felt dust seals and also appear to have been an oil bath container in the past. The FAG bearing holders seem to be original, and a 1932 mfg date would put it in the era of roller bearings and not Babbitt bearings AFAIK - altho I wouldnt be surprised that babbitt was still in general use until after WWII.

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The cutter head weighs about 60 lbs and has two knives. I've sent the knives out for sharpening at all blades.

I cleaned the jointer tables up with a scotchbrite wheel on a grinder. My 36" machinist straight edge says they are fairly flat - flat enough for woodworking tolerances. There is some deep rust pitting in odd spots and I suspect this Jointer was resurrected from neglect in a barn/shop at some point in its life.
 

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calgaryguy

Chris
Premium Member
I should add that these older jointers in good operational shape are sought after by some woodworkers. A long bed 12" jointer is a 'nice to have' in a shop where you are making solid wood furniture.

Oh, and my "3 ton" chinesium engine hoist was literally *groaning* while lifting this beast. I have no real idea what it weighs, but am guessing close to or over 1000 lbs.
 

mickeyf

Member
I would expect that it originally had babbitt bearings unless this was a Cadillac of jointers. "In the era of" does not mean everyone had switched over. The shop I worked in 40+ years ago still made some things with babbitt. Mind you, some of the machine tools themselves were converted from line-shaft and were maybe WWI vintage or perhaps older.
 

PaulL

Technologist at Large
Premium Member
Is the cylindrical head original, or was it upgraded? Machines that old were serious amputation traps with their triangular cutter heads.
 

calgaryguy

Chris
Premium Member
I would expect that it originally had babbitt bearings unless this was a Cadillac of jointers. "In the era of" does not mean everyone had switched over. The shop I worked in 40+ years ago still made some things with babbitt. Mind you, some of the machine tools themselves were converted from line-shaft and were maybe WWI vintage or perhaps older.
I literally said "altho I wouldnt be surprised that babbitt was still in general use until after WWII."
 
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