Bickett Horizontal Milling Machines
No.1 and Vertical No.0
Seldom found - though built in sizes 0, 1 and possibly 2 and 3 as well - Bickett millers were manufactured by the Machine & Mfg. Co. (founded by Charles A. Bickett in 1913) as a reorganization of the Swing & Bickett Machine Co. - a company dating from 1911. The company was reorganized again in 1922 as the Bickett Miller Co. and based at 650 Evans Street in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Probably dating from the 1920s, the example below of a No.1 (resident in England), has been fitted with a small vertical head on the end of its round overarm. Such conversions were once very popular with several US makers including Tree, Halco and Kerney & Trecker (Dalrae) - the latter with their "Midgetmill" and "Speedmill" units. Just one conversion unit of this type is known to have been made in England, the Cowards, though the one attached to the Bickett No.1 shown below is by an unknown maker.
Vertical-head conversions for horizontal millers was how the famous Bridgeport company began life when the founders, two immigrant Swedish engineers, Magnus Wahlstro and Rudolf F. Bannow, offered their "Master Milling Attachment". This well-engineered unit was originally designated by the partners as their "Model C" and cleverly presented in a handsome, polished aluminium housing. It was equipped with a heat-treated and ground spindle running in four precision, pre-loaded bearings (with those at the pulley end allowed to "float" to accommodate expansion and contraction of the spindle) and with a quill that accepted (as standard) 3-inch long B-3 collets. The head was powered by a 1/4 hp motor that gave, in conjunction with 6-step aluminium pulleys, speeds of 465, 675, 1000, 1500, 2140 and 4250 rpm.
Typical of its time - anywhere from 1913 to 1930 - and intended for light-duty use in a factory, repair workshop or training establishment, the little 280 lb Bicket miller had a surprisingly comprehensive specification and was available both for bench mounting or on its maker's 147 lb cast-iron base. The drive to the 2.25"-wide 3-cone drive pulley would have come from either a wall-mounted countershaft or overhead line shafting or, in bench-mounted from the maker's two-speed countershaft.
With a longitudinal travel of 12 inches and 4.75 inches in traverse, the 24" x 5.5" table was of a generous size for this class of machine and, on the miller shown immediately below - resident in England - appears to have survived in remarkably fine condition with barely a mark to spoil its surface finish. Perhaps unusually for a small bench horizontal miller, the table was driven through its longitudinal travel by a lever, a screw-feed being available as an option. Power feed - giving four rates of travel - was part of the standard specification and involved a 1-inch wide flat belt driven from a pulley on the outer end of the main spindle connected to a 4-speed gearbox on the back of the column. From there, the drive was taken by a carden shaft to a worm-and-wheel assembly beneath the table with an adjustable disengagement dog to stop the drives. Cross and vertical feed were by acme-form screws, these being fitted with zeroing micrometer dials. The spindle, advertised in contemporary terminology as being in "60-point steel", had a Brown & Sharpe No.9 taper on its nose, was bored through 7/8" and ran in large diameter "Gurney Radio Thrust Ball Bearings" that could be adjusted for wear.
Introduced in 1917, Bickett also made a neat little bench-mounted miller (shown at the bottom of the page) this being arranged like a small jig borer with the compound table fixed and the vertical feed being by moving the whole head up and down under the control of a lever. The original concept for this type was the interesting German Wolf Jahn of the late 1800s, a machine developed into the Boley, Leinen, "Ultra" and "Excel" and BCA types of later years - and made in England until late into the 1980s.
It is known that several Bickett millers, both the vertical No. 0 and No. 1 horizontal, were exported to the UK during WW1 (1914 to 1918), three of these have, in the early years of the 21st century, finally come to light.,.
If you have a Bickett machine tool of any sort, the writer would be very interested in adding it to the Archive..