Now part of the Meddings Thermalec Ltd. Group (and still making drills), Meddings began production of their well-known, high-quality drills during WW2. Started as a family firm, the first factory was in Wembley, with a move soon made to Slough where the Company stayed until 1973/5. Then, needing larger premises suitable for further expansion away from the increasingly crowded and expensive South East of England, a site at Lee Mill in Devon was found, the area having being used originally as a training base for fire fighters. Despite strong competition from cheap Far East imports the Company continues trading, having a diversification of interests that include Thermalec Products, Meddings Engineering, Meddings Radiographics and Merlin Industrial Products. Some pictures are high resolution and may take time to load
Meddings drills were first branded "Pacera", with a range that expanded quickly to include both standard and special models with something offered for almost every niche in the market - though heavier, radial-arm types were not manufactured, these being in plentiful supply from other makers such as the long-established firms of Archdale and Asquith. At some point, after the 1950s, the "Pacera" name was dropped and just "Meddings" used - though the Model Types and letter/numbering system used for them remaining largely unchanged.
Lighter drills were given the obvious prefix "L" and medium duty types "M" - the latter being one of the most popular and long-lived Series, especially in the guise of the bench-mount MB4 and floor-standing MGF4 (and larger M5 Types) which, although they had a conventionally arranged spindle driven by a V-belt, also incorporated a fully enclosed oil-bath lubricated backgear assembly that provided an enormously wide speed range. These two ranges are, almost without doubt, the finest, most versatile and useful small drills for any professional or very keen amateur's workshop.
Heavier models, intended for production work, carried the prefix H and were built in several styles from bench types with solid steel columns to floor models with especially robust cast-iron "box-pedestal" supports. As standard this range was, sensibly, fitted not only with 2-speed motors but also rack-and-pinion rise and fall to the table - the latter feature making the repositioning of heavy jobs an easy matter. Developments of these drills continued to be manufactured for many decades and other examples can be found on pages describing
Meddings Drills of the 1960s and 1970s
Pacera Drills of the 1940s and 1950s continued here
Links to information about other makes of similar drills:
For a high-quality, heavily-built, versatile yet compact drill with a wide speed range and torque-enhancing reduction gearing within the head the choice is simple, one of the following: the superb Meddings Pacera MB and MF models and the equally useful Fobco 7/8 and 10/8, Boxford PD8, Progress 2G and 2GS and late models of the Kerry Drillmaster 3/4". Also in contention would be the rarely-found 10-speed Startrite Mercury and Speedway Models with their epicyclic gearbox mounted around the spindle nose. All makes and models were available in both bench and pillar types with some of the latter having more strongly constructed "box column" supports in cast iron.
Standard bench and pillar types
For a lighter, less expensive type - the ones with head-mounted reduction gearing always command a premium price - the same makers listed above also offered a range of direct-drive models, some with "fixed" chucks, others with No. 2 Morse taper spindles - the latter, of course, being by far the more preferable of the two. Some makers also listed - usually starting during the late 1940s and continuing into the 1950s - a range of less expensive models such as the ones named "Junior" by Progress and Kerry and "Bantam" by Startrite
Of all the various models in this "standard" range probably the best is the neat and compact Fobco "STAR" with its solid-steel column, high build quality and smooth-running performance. It's an easy drill to rebuild and restore to as-new condition and a good range of parts is still available from firstname.lastname@example.org