Mercer Drill Press - Models 500 and 600
Seldom found, the Mercer drill press was manufactured by the Mercer Engineering Co. Ltd., based in Rooley Lane, Bradford. The Company were also known or traded as, Mercer Pneumatic Tools Ltd., with a product line concerned with that sector of industry with, in 1974, a patent granted to the inventor, Austin Cartwright Mercer, Jr., for a lathe bar-feed mechanism.Some pictures are high-resolution and may take time to load
In comparison with other English makers of smaller drilling machines, for example Fobo, Meddings "Pacera", Kerry, Progress, Pollard, Qualters & Smith and Startrite, Mercer were little known and all trace of them now appears to have vanished. However, they did claim to have sold "several thousand" and offered it in three forms: as the Type 500 in bench or pillar models - the latter on a 5-foot long column - or, ganged up in sets of two or more for production work as the 600. It could be supplied with either a fixed Jacobs 1/2" chuck or, more usefully and at no extra cost, with a No. 2 Morse taper spindle. Fitted with a 1450 r.p.m. 3-phase motor the five spindle speeds spanned as useful 450, 900, 1500, 2500 and 5000 r.p.m. A slow-speed option was also listed - better suited where tapping was going to be undertaken - this being powered by what must have been a 3-phase 900 r.p.m. motor to give 300, 550, 960, 1600 and 3000 r.p.m. The maker's catalogue - a rare item - is reproduced below
From Richard Wilson:
I don't know if you recall a company called Mercer Skilcraft (or something very like that) which advertised regularly in Model Engineer in the 1980s? At that time they had premises in Cleckheaton, which I visited on a number of occasions when I was living in North Yorkshire. There was a retail shop at the front, where they sold new tooling items, and a large room at the rear containing a selection of used machinery. In the basement (it was on sloping ground so the shop was at ground level at the front and the basement was at ground level at the back) was their machine shop, although I never went down there. I recall being told that one of the products was (or had been) bar feed equipment for capstan lathes. Was this the same company do you think? They seemed to fade from view in the 1990s, and there was no trace of them when I last visited Cleckheaton about 10 years ago. They had at some time acquired some obsolete pre war stock from the Tom Senior factory, and I bought a couple of sets of part machined castings for vertical slides, which I later completed, plus some other 'useful' bits including a number of unused small square thread feedscrews and nuts. The last of these I used for the tool slide feed when building the 'Wilson' planer!
There was a box of assorted castings for small IC stationary engines, but apart from noticing that there didn't appear to be a full set for any engine, they didn't interest me at the time, a decision which I have subsequently regretted many times! To be honest, although I had restored several stationary engines, mainly Lister and Ruston Hornsby, in my ignorance at the time, I didn't realise that Tome Senior had, pre war, been a well known supplier of small engines and castings.