Superior Drilling Machines
While not as common in the United Kingdom as the very similar "Victorian-style" drills made by such as Denbigh, Pollard and Jones & Shipman, occasional examples of the Superior are still to be found in working order (Jones and Shipman, now known only for their grinders were, in the 1920s and 1930s, a prolific maker of drilling machines). As all evidence concerning the Superior Company appears to have vanished - no mention of the can be found in the usual trade journals - and it might be that "Superior" was a lower-cost product made by a larger manufacturer who wished to remain anonymous. Some credence is given to this theory by the fact that the machines can only be found in the bound volumes of larger distributors such a Buck & Hickman, Charles Churchill and Burton, Griffiths & Co., there being no trace of the "Company" placing its own publicity material - however, the jury is still out on that one. There was an American drill-making Company of the same name active in the first decades of the 20th century, the "Superior Machine Tool Co." based in Kokomo, Indiana, but no connect between the two can be established.Some pictures are high-resolution and may take time to load
As with all other makers, Superior drills were offered with a range of options: plain or ball-bearing spindles, tables balanced against a weight hanging on a wire inside the column, round or rectangular tables that were fixed or tilting and with and without T-slots. However, perhaps most surprising was the variety of drive systems, those illustrated being the basic types with - usually - low down at the rear, a built-on countershaft unit with hand or foot-operated fast-and-loose pulleys intended for drive by either factory line shafting or a remote motor. Also listed were systems that included a "bevel drive" -presumably this would have been a flat belt, running over a three or four-step cone pulley to rotate a horizontal shaft with bevel gears at the front end to turn the drive through 90°; an example of this system can be seen employed on the Denbigh Column Drill No. 1. Also mentioned in the Superior literature is "motor driven" - though without any illustrations - the speculation being that this might have involved a rather more modern approach with the motor mounted at the back of the head and driving forwards to the spindle by a V-belt - as in the manner of a few contemporary Denbigh models such as the Models P.4.A and 20" & 24" However, it might just have been just a more compact arrangement: a motor fixed to a plate behind the foot driving by a V-belt to an intermediate pulley and from there by the usual flat belt over a pair of jockey pulleys.
The majority of Superior drills appear to have carried their Model Type cast into the main column, along with the words "British Make" - one wonders if this differs from "British Made"? Model types known include the standard bench models E and RE; floor-standing pillar drills D and Q; the bench and pillar "Sensitive" Type P; possibly a lighter, cheaper bench drill, the "BX" in three sizes listed as the "1", "2" and "3" - and two sizes of tapping machine, both listed as the "U"