The Tool Revolution - Section I
The Tool Revolution tells the story of innovators in Windsor, Vermont, in the 1840s at the forefront of the push to create interchangeable parts and the American System of Manufacturing. Collaborating with the foremost machine designers in America, and establishing a center for best practice in the most advanced industry of the day, they changed the world.
Arming the Union - Section II
During the Civil War, northern factories produced 1.5 million new rifles, along with tens of thousands of carbines and pistols. How did they do it? How was it possible, in the early 1860s, to rush that many weapons onto the battlefield?
A large part of the answer is found at a factory building in Windsor, Vermont – the Robbins & Lawrence armory that now houses theAmerican Precision Museum.
Here, using state-of-the-art machinery, skilled workers labored in round-the-clock shifts, making rifles for the Union Army and producing machinery for the other major gunmakers, including the Springfield Armory, Colt, Remington, Sharps, and the Providence Tool Company.
"Arming the Union" includes rifling machines, lathes, iron planers, and milling machines that produced thousands of gun parts—all alike and interchangeable. Civil War rifles and pistols are displayed alongside the machinery used to make them, and alongside photos and biographies of the men who designed and operated the machines. There are activities and demonstrations to help visitors understand how the machinery works, and how the new technology helped win the war.
Consumer Culture and Industrial Might - Section III
In the years following the Civil War, the tools of armory practice were put to work making consumer goods. As new products emerged, toolmakers improved their own tools and techniques to meet new needs. Machine tools served as the backbone of American industry. They were used in plants that built automobiles, airplanes and a vast selection of consumer products. From the tool revolution of the 1800s to advanced manufacturing today, technical innovation has shaped who we are and how we live.
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