Well, I think I found a new toy. I have discovered the movie making part of Windows. I have taken pictures in the Machine-shop at orange empire railway museum, where I volunteer as a machinist, and some of the pictures are videos of the work-in-progress in the Machine-shop. The video presented above is my first effort at publishing a video. Due to the well thought out application in windows and my Blog site provided by Word Press.Com, the process of including a video in this Post was easily accomplished. I fear this means more of my time lost to the computer.

The machine tool in the video is known as a 16 inch swing engine lathe. This lathe was manufactured in the early 1950s by the Axelson Company, located in Los Angeles,California. It is the workhorse of our shop. My first machinist job was in the Machine-shop at the Maywood, California plant of Revere Brass and Copper Company. One of the machines I operated in that shop was an exact copy of the machine we have at orange empire railway museum. This machine was brand new and a delight for me to run. I was pleasantly surprised to see a similar, now old, lathe in the Orange Empire Railway Museum shop. It did not take me long to become acquainted with this machine.

We have a steam locomotive numbered VC-2. It was decided the tender needed to be raised about 3 inches in order to better align with the rear of the locomotive. The part shown being machined in the video is one of two steel rings that we needed machined to carry this out. Each piece, before machining, weighed about 150 pounds and about 50 pounds of metal was removed from each by the end of machining. The 10 horsepower motor on the lathe made short work of the process.

The machine tools in today’s shops are predominantly computer controlled and do not look anything like the machines we have in our shop. The machines in our shop represent the versions of machining technology that began at the beginning of the industrial age. The earliest version of computer controlled machines, that I am personally aware of, was a large milling machine being developed at North American Aviation Company at Downey, California 1955. Except for dinosaur machines, like in our shop, machines are mostly all computer controlled. That’s why it’s so much fun keeping the old ways alive in our shop.


I am 89 years old and was married for 66 years. My wife passed away in 2016. I am a retired engineer and spent 35 years developing INS gyroscopes. I was a High School mentor in physics, a mountaineer, a model builder, a machinist and I have a degree in Physics. My interests include railroad history and photography, science history, cosmology, interesting people, and old engineering drawings. I place a high value on my friendships. I enjoying my life and I try look forward with a sense of anticipation and curiosity about what my future has in store for me.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: