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Tools Then and Now: Engraver0

Doesn’t this look like an antiquated torture device?  That clamp-like thing over the table could secure someone’s neck or wrist and that handle thingy on the top could be slammed down into some vulnerable body part and do . . . I dunno. . . something really gory. Is it just me - or do you see that, too? 

In fact, this is an antique engraving machine built by Cronite.  These guys have been making such devices since 1886.  This, I believe, is a Zero Engraving Machine from around the World War II era and was used to create calibrated lenses for binoculars and telescopes.  It also has the ability to trace letters down to a pinpoint (zero—hence the name, I suspect).

This particular machine can be found at Tool Timer for $1500 (plus shipping cost—and this sucker isn’t small).  And, you can still get master plates for use on the Zero from Cronite.

These days, engraving machines don’t really look like medieval torture devices.

And they’ve obviously gotten a lot smaller.

The Dremel® Deluxe Electric Engraver can be held in the palm of your hand.  Its carbide tip spins at 7200 spm, and it can be used to engrave ceramics, metal, plastic, and wood.  Templates for letters and numbers are included to aid in making work look professional.  And while I’m sure it’s not as accurate as the Cronite Zero, at about $27, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper.

As a side note, if you’re interested in learning more about the history of Cronite and its products, head on over to their site .  It makes for some interesting reading.

What the oldest tool in your collection? 

by John Barker

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