A series of pictures, taken during the 1930s and 1940s, showing some parts of the Atlas plant at 1819--1919 North Pitcher Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan, in the USA (these photographs make an interesting comparison with those of the Hendey and South Bend factories). One is struck by the incongruity of a factory that made largely neat, self-contained V-belt drive machine-tools being equipped with a forest of old-fashioned line shafting and flat belts - the expression "today's machine tools are made on yesterday's" being, in this case, perfectly apt..
Lathe assembly benches circa 1933. In this picture 9-inch compound drive V-belt drive lathes are being put together, possibly in groups of twenty at a time, at individual work-stations. With manufacture of this model only underway for a year no production line had yet been installed and building lathes required the fetching and carrying of parts and the lifting away of complete units. Each workstation was illuminated by a single bulb.
By the time the first 10-inch lathes were in production a simple chain-driven assembly line had been installed. Note the "wall-of-glass" windows, a feature of many factories until the arrival of improved electric lighting.
Another view of the same early 10-inch lathe production line.
By 1936 the factory was a busy place with several production lines as well as stations where individual machines were built up before being attached to their cast-iron stands
A Norton surface grinder being used to finish the bed-ways of a 9-inch lathe.
Around one thousand 9-inch lathe beds stored for seasoning before machining
A view captioned by Atlas as the "toolroom" showing tool-and-cutter grinders, universal grinders, shapers, milling machines and hand-fitting benches all rather close to each other.
Line shafting and vertical flat belts dominated the main Atlas machine shop where parts for a wide variety of machines were manufactured in-house.
Another section of the machine shop. Although full-depth windows run along the whole length of one wall a single light was also hung over each machine tool.
A standard Atlas drill press head fitted to a robust base and used to drill balancing holes in the headstock and countershaft pulleys.
Line boring the main column of the Atlas 7-inch shaper
An artist's impression of the factory in 1936/37. The picture below shows that by 1939/40 extensions had been added to the front and both ends of the building.