The New American File Company, of Pawtucket, R.
I., was established only nine years ago (1873), but they
have already achieved a remarkable success, having a capital of
$500,000, and employing two hundred hands.
The works, originally of wood, are being rebuilt with brick.
The machinery of the manufactory is driven by a 250-horse power
Harris-Corliss engine, a smaller engine being used for the
Mr. Stephen A. Jenks is president and treasurer
of the company and Mr. C. M. Fairbanks is agent. The
company is ably managed, and all the branches of its business
are conducted with much success.
Some idea of the
manipulations necessary to produce a file may be gained by the
notes of a run through the manufactory of this company.
The steel is made for the company in lengths
that will cut without waste. The bars come from the steel
makers at the proper widths and thicknesses for the blanks from
which the files are made.
Being cut to lengths,
they are forged - the tangs and the taper, where taper is
necessary to the shape of the file - and for this forging there
are employed at establishment twenty-one power hammers,
comprising eleven Bradley hammers, six ordinary trip hammers,
three Belden hammers, and one Grant hammer. These hammers
have a capacity of 1,050 dozen per day.
But in addition to this power hammer forging, there is a large
amount of hand-hammering work. Most of the small
files-especially the three-cornered files are made by hand in
dies fixed in ordinary anvils.
After the forging, the blanks must be ground for
cutting. Now, this process of grinding is not merely
intended to even the sides of the file or determine its edges;
but it means a reduction of the surface in connection with the
removal of the oxidation or scale.
It is impossible to cut
good file teeth through the scale of rolled or tilted steel. All
of the exterior surface of the best forged or rolled steel must
be removed before the chisel can raise the tooth of the file.
And yet in the grinding the exactness is not
sufficient to satisfy the requirements of this company: for some
purposes it is necessary to dress the file blanks in a filing
machine that draw-files the blanks to the perfection of a
And although the grinding process
is as near perfection as possible, leaving the surface with a
variation of less than one one-thousandth of an inch, it simply
cuts off the outside of the steel and does not make an
absolutely perfect surface.