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Power Roll

Photo of Power Roll Photo of Power Roll
Building: Boiler Shop
Machine Power: belt
HAER Map Key: EE
Date Built: unknown
Manufacturer: Niles Tool Works
Model: No. 4
Serail Number: 12349

A roll is a machine used to bend sheet metal into a cylinder or cone shape. This is the larger of two rolls in the Boiler Shop, the other being the Hand Roll. Unlike the Hand Roll, ths Power Roll uses two front "pinch" rollers to hold the piece, and a movable back roller to make an upward bend bend.

The machines has a four belt input, a forward and reverse belt for powering the two front rollers, and a forward and reverse for the lift mechanism for the rear roll. This enables According to the Niles catalog the roll is capable of bending 3/4" material "if not of excessive length." It is unclear what excessive length is, but it is likely the roll was used with significantly thinner material. The two front rollers are made of wrought iron which has some flexibility to aid in pinching, and the rear is cast iron which is very rigid.

The Power Roll was not operated after the shops closed in 1956. In 2009, Friends of the East Broad Top volunteers began cleaning and lubricating this machine. The overhead counter shaft was cleaned and lubricated as well. After the first drive belt was reconditioned, on March 13th 2010 using a gas engine powered rig, the machine was powered for the first tim since 1956. Subsequently the remainder of the belts were reconditioned and the gas engine replaced with an electric motor. The machine bent steel for the first time October 7, 2011 the fully operational roll was used to bend steel for the first time since the 1950's. It operated for three demonstrations during the 2011 Fall Spectacular and remains operational.


Niles Tool Works
Hamilton, OH

no. 12349

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