Hamilton Sensitive Drill Press - USA
Intended to give the impecunious amateur access to a machine capable of accurate if lighter work, the design of the American Hamilton drill press was based on the earlier lighter and earlier types used by watchmakers such as Cataract, Hauser and Bergeon. A very similar drill press to the Hamilton - though with rather less capacity - was the English Champion, this selling in large numbers from the 1930s into the 1960s. Indeed, until the advent of very cheap, poorly-made and vibration-prone Chinese drilling machines in the 1970s, the options for an amateur machinist seeking something small and within a tight budget were very limited. While plenty of older, 1/2-inch capacity bench drills were on the market, there was little available in the miniature range - save for unsuitably-small watchmakers' types, the larger but virtually unknown WA-CO; the expensive Oldak and Apex; the Italian Micrommeccanica; the impossibly costly (but superb) Swiss-made Aciera and Dixi models and the seldom-found Progress No. 10 (this being closest to the Hamilton in size). Hence, for the British amateur needing a small, high-speed drill one of the few options was a "Champion" - and even provided a reasonable substitute for used examples of the much larger, heavier and invariably expensive Jones & Shipman, Pollard and other makes of high-precision, very high-speed 1/4-inch toolroom types.
In the USA, the situation during the 1930, 1940s and 1950s was far less critical, with ample supplies of inexpensive drill press of a standard design available from, for example, Atlas and Canedy-Otto with their two-speed "Utility" at $34.45 and Sears with their even more competitive Companion at $22.20. Should a high-quality, high-precision drill have been required, there was always the lovely little Cameron to consider.
On the Hamilton and similar drills, how the spindle is moved varies; on the Hamilton the entire head slid up and down the column, a stop screw being provided to limit the upward travel and a coil spring, surrounding the column, used as a means of return. The English Paco used a similar system, but with a hinged lever acting directly on the spindle - the result being, on both these models an inefficient leverage ratio of about four to one. In comparison, the Champion employed a proper rack-feed arrangement - just like larger drills - giving a much finer and more effective feed. Like several of the other light-duty drill mentioned, the Hamilton used a motor mounted behind the mounting foot with the drive (by a round leather rope) taken upwards to be turned horizontally by a pair of adjustable jockey wheels before being wrapped around a 2-step pulley to turn the spindle. On the Hamilton, as the head rose and fell, the belt tension changed, this being compensated by an adjustment screw that moved the jockey pulley up and down. This type of drive system, though rather messy when compared to a motor mounted behind the spindle on a support plate, had the distinct advance of allowing almost any old second-hand motor to be employed - including ones set up by ingenious means to drive other machines mounted on the same bench - for example the Guilder "Model Maker" and Waco.
While, for a small drill press, the 6" x 8" table of the Hamilton was of useful size and could be moved up and down, it could be neither rotated nor tilted - both of which refinements the much smaller circular table of the Champion enjoyed.
Another USA-made light and inexpensive drill press - of which few seem to have survived - was the Baby Grand.