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Samson Shaping Machine
Germany - 1914

A detailed manual of shaper operation can be found here


Made with strokes of 400, 500 and 600 mm (15.7, 19.7 and  23.6 inches), the "Samson" shaper was manufactured by the oddly named General Composing Company G.m.b.H. whose factory and offices were at 189/143 Jacobstrasse, Berlin SW68. The company also listed, in various contemporary advertisements, a range of three grinding machines: one, a horizontal spindle model not unlike the early American Brown & Sharp and Robot designs and two with vertical spindles. All were equipped with normal-for-the-era mechanical table drives and variable-rate, automatic indexing by ratchet drive.
For its time - the advertisement below is from a 1914 edition of
Dinglers Polytechnisches Journal, a magazine covering a wide and interesting range of machinery, engineering and technical topics - this was a modern-looking shaper that incorporated a number of useful features. Drive was by a ball-bearing supported, 4-step cone pulley on the right-hand face of the main body that would have been turned by a flat belt connected to either factory line shafting or a remote ceiling or wall-mounted countershaft. Built into the main column was a high-low gear system, either speed being selected by an external lever pivoting from the rear face, the whole system giving a range of eight speeds.
Of deep section and T-slotted on its top and both side faces, the table was braced against cutting loads by a front-mounted stabilising bar arranged to slide across a machined surface. Table power cross feed was by the usual adjustable-stroke ratchet-driven mechanism fitted, in this case, with what appears to be a plunger-controlled reverse linkage. Unusually, instead of the box table being bolted to the face of the cross-slide "knee" - and so able to be rotated on it -  it was formed with a locating step that overlapped the top of the knee. Held in place on two T-slots, the table was detachable - and the possibility exists that the makers would have offered alternative swivelling or specialised tables for different classes of work.
Both the ram stroke and feed rates could be altered while the machine was running, with the makers claiming that the table feed could be adjusted between particularly wide limits so as to suit both coarse and very fine finishing.
It appears that a tool slide equipped with eight rates of vertical feed, both upwards and downwards, was part of the standard specification -  the mechanism being controlled by a plunger engaging with a ratchet drive taken from the ram's motion.   
The maker's final summary of their shaper was:
Konstruiert und zelchnen sich besonders aus durch Ruhiges stossfreies arbeiten bei hoher spantief u.grossen vorchub, this roughly translating as "Constructed and developed especially to give quiet, non-shock operation even with deep cuts".
Other small shaping and planing machines of German manufacture include the lovely little 150 mm stroke Emrich; the Eriksen (equipped with a clever  "scotch yolk" drive to its ram); the Fomm hand-operated planer from the 1800s; the neatly engineered Gastl and a range of different sizes from Gebrüder Heinemann.
Do you own a Samson shaper? If so, the writer would be very interested to hear from you..
Wenn Sie eine dieser Maschinen haben, wäre ich daran interessiert, von ihnen zu hören.