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Rapide-Lime Hand Shaper--France


Dating from between 1900 and 1914 - the shaper had won medals at machine-tool exhibitions in London during 1908, Brussels in 1910, and Turin in 1911 - the Rapide-Lime was manufactured by de'Armes et de Cycles de Saint-Etienne in France. A useful, hand-operated shaping machine it was protected by Patent No. 2304500 Brevette SGDG and appears to have been of sound construction. However, a mystery surrounds both this machine and the English Robblak and Alexander Models - all of which are laid out on very similar lines. The Alexander was patented in the UK by the inventor, Mr. Alfred Hindley Alexander, with the number 27,663 on 27th May, 1909. Hence, one wonders if the Rapide-Lime might have inspired him for, although the Alexander was in some ways a more adaptable machine, it might be that the clever wording of a patent avoided a clash of interests. Unfortunately all three machines suffered from the same intractable problem - the work table (9" x 9" on the Rapide-Lime) was an extension of the machine's bed plate. While most contemporary shapers of the same class used a table formed as a simple angle bracket (that could be slid up and down a machined surface on the front of the bed to vary the vertical capacity) on the Rapide-Lime and Robblak the bed plate was just that, a flat, T-slotted plate with, bolted to it, the casting that carried the ram. Hence, to increase the vertical capacity it was necessary to separate them an insert some form of distance blocks or parallels.
Despite this rather clumsy arrangement, on all machines the table was of a generous size (with robust T-slots) that would have allowed most jobs to be clamped in place. The ram stroke could be set to a maximum of 7 inches, the cross travel was 8 inches and the cutting tool adjusted through a range of 1.5 inches.
One featured shared by all makes - and patented on the Alexander - was an automatic, reversible table feed. This mechanism consisted of a star wheel, mounted on and keyed to the hand-feed screw, that engaged with a pawl that turned it tooth by tooth. A stop was provided, in the form of a pin that could be inserted at either side of the pawl, and so reverse the feed direction.
A number of accessories was offered including a conversion to a morticing machine, a drilling unit, a gear-equipped diving attachment a rotary table and the expected machine vice.

The supplier's brass plate shows "Schoch Huber & Co. Maschinen Werkzeuge Zurich. Serial Number 770 dated 1909



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Rapide-Lime Hand Shaper--France