Continued: Pictures below are very high resolution and may take time to load
An examination of the Omerod appears to indicate that each was individually built, rather than being assembled on a production line. For example, the ram gib block shows evidence that the bolt holes were marked out by hand - each having a ring of punch marks around enabling the driller to demonstrate that the holes had been bored in accordance with the fitter's marking out (they had). The pictures below appear to show a later model - for, in comparison with that shown on this page, it seems that some product development had taken place. The table elevating mechanism is a clear improvement for, on the early machine, this involved fiddling around with a tommy bar under the table. The various lugs are all integral parts of the castings and the table is different - the earlier having an oval cut out at the front, rather than an inverted U shape and the vertical V-groove on the later model a definite improvement and a most useful feature. It also appears that seems that the cross rail is longer, this putting the ratchet feed mechanism further out. However, as the operating shaft from the base casting runs in a separate, short bushing rather than a long boss forming part of the base casting, the result was the need for a rather odd-looking S-shaped operating rod, rather than the original straight type.
And now, the mystery of the maker: above is an illustration from a booklet 'Planing and Shaping Simply Explained' by Alfred W Marshall, dated 1932. The pictures is captioned as being the 'Norvic' hand-shaping machine manufactured by Messrs Arnold & Co. of Hempnall, Norwich. This machine and the Ormerod are, save for a few very minor details - such as the tool-slide handwheel - identical to the Ormerod and with the stated dimensions tallying exactly. In addition, a very similar model appears in some editions of the 2.5-inch thick, loose-leafed Buck and Hickman catalogue of 1931 showing, quite clearly, a machine with "Ormerod" cast into the base; although the box table appears to be of different proportions. Other similarities are also evident, even though the Buck & Hickman illustration appears to have had some details "art worked" out. Arnold &Co advertised their shaper occasionally in the amateur engineering press during the 1920s, and also made (or marketed) the 'Norvic' hand-planer in two sizes, one slightly smaller and the other somewhat larger than the 'Senior' No. 3. Although Arnold has disappeared, they must have been sufficiently well known at the time to feature in the booklet alongside the well-known 'Drummond' and some rather more ephemeral makers such as the 'Polygon' (by Messrs Hunters Ltd. of 16-18 St. Bride Street, London, EC4), and the RHM power shaper by R. H. Morse of Elder Place, Brighton. As a point of interest, one Polygon model was claimed to be the largest hand-shaper made in the UK with a stroke of 12", a cross feed of 12", a 12 "x 9" table and a weight of 224 lbs when fitted with a machine vice.
Industrial Omerod shapers had the following recorded Serial Numbers: no other data appears to have survived:
With thanks Dr. Chris Woodcock for the splendid photographs below