A rare American milling machine made in Brooklyn, New York - a contribution by
Hello Tony, I have an unusual milling machine that appears to be an orphan; it's a small (6"x14" table) horizontal milling machine made by the J.E.Costilo Machine Works of Brooklyn, New York. From what little is known, the firm was in business under this name from 1893 to 1901 at that location, moving to Manhattan in late 1901. The company seems to have specialized in making machines for the repair and reconditioning of early automobiles and offered screw and tapping machines as well as this miller.
I purchased the machine in March of 2021 from a nearby surplus industrial equipment dealer, mainly to mount my Porter-Cable universal milling attachment, but also partly out of pity. The machine has been badly abused, having had multiple parts broken or removed and even suffering the complete breaking in half of the table itself, right down the central "T"-slot! The original hardware for moving the table in all three planes had been removed, and a species of table stop bodged on along with a larger table that was crafted from bar stock and flathead screws. I spent a great deal of time trying to find a catalog cut of the machine's original appearance, but have yet to come up with anything. After removing all the components that were obviously not period ( over 260 lbs of steel, expanded metal guards, and armored cable), I spent months puzzling out the possible ways it could have worked, judging from other designs of the time, "ghosts" of the original parts left in the castings by oxidation, and educated guesses. The current state of it is hardly original, but I believe it to be close.
The Costilo has a few peculiarities, the chief one being the "rise and fall" design for lifting the table. It is not known at this time whether the table was operated by two lead screws, as there is evidence in the form of the twin bosses on the left-hand side that a hand milling lever could have been fitted, but the machine may have been designed to use either system. There are no graduated dials, or even a scale, so proper layout work is essential to confirm the operation is happening in the right place. I believe that this machine may have been intended for cutting keyways in shafts, but the provision for mounting an overhead arbor support indicates that it was capable of heavier work when required. The taper of the horizontal arbor appears to be #6 Jarno, but fortunately, the Porter-Cable attachment uses Brown and Sharpe #7.
For my part, I've found the Costilo to be very handy at shaft repairs, boring worn-out holes for bushings, and milling at compound angles. The machine is powered from its own ceiling-mounted countershaft that runs both the horizontal and vertical shafts. An odd little machine from an obscure maker, but a truly indispensable part of many of my vintage machine restorations..