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New American File Company  - Pawtucket, RI

  The Manufacture of Files - New American File Co.,
Scientific American, September 9, 1882

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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 machine shop.

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 surface plate.

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.

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