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Old 11-21-2016, 09:58 AM   #1
glatt
 
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They don't make them like they used to.

I present to you a vintage Black and Decker inch drill. When I first looked it over and saw the metal case, I though. “Wow, there’s an antique tool. Don’t see those every day. Probably electrocute you if you plug it in.” In fact, the outer insulation of the cord was broken where it met the body of the thing and you could see lots of cloth and paper insulation peeking out.

So I pulled out a multimeter and checked the continuity between the prongs of the plug first. I figured there should be no continuity until I pull the trigger and then there should be continuity. But there was a beautiful electrical path between the two prongs, even without pulling the trigger. Exciting! Then I tested for continuity between each prong and the metal out shell of the drill. Perfect continuity again! Everything was electrically connected to everything else.

I couldn’t see any bare wires in the frayed part of the cord, so I started taking the drill apart. The screws were a little stripped, like somebody else had done the same thing decades ago. Once I got it apart, I was appalled to see that it was even worse than I expected. The cord could twist freely where it passed through the grommet, and I could se that it had.

The power cord had lost all its insulation just on the inside of the grommet, and the hot, neutral, and ground were all bare and twisted around each other.

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You could see that there was a clamp on the cable after it penetrated the body of the drill to keep it from pulling out. That’s good. But there was nothing to keep the cable from twisting, and it had twisted around itself a lot. I untwisted them just to see how bad it was. At least an inch of bare wire on each conductor. And it wasn’t even copper wire. The wire was aluminum.
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So I cut the cord off the thing so nobody in the future would plug it in. I thought I might cut the cable back to some fresh spot and re-use it, but the cable insulation was was breaking everywhere as I tried to straighten it out. Looking at the cable, that’s when I fully realized that the plug was a two prong plug, but the cable had a ground wire in it too. Coming out the back of the plug was a green ground wire that had been cut off years ago. I’ve never seen that before.

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I guess, you were supposed to wrap the ground wire around a pipe or something before you used the drill?
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:00 AM   #2
glatt
 
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I put the thing back together without a cord just to take a look at it. Pretend it works and see what it would be like to use it. Black & Decker is crap in 2016, but had a reputation for making good tools back in the day.

First off, the grip is horrible if you are used to a modern drill. I can get one finger on the trigger, one finger on the handle grip, the third finger is halfway off the grip, and my pinky is just tucked underneath not really doing anything.
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There’s a little pin on the bottom that you can push in to lock the trigger in place. This picture really shows how you feel like you are going to drop this drill at any time. There’s nothing to hold on to.
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It’s got a tiny keyless chuck. I didn’t know that they had keyless chucks back in the olden days. I guess when it’s so small, it would work just fine. No big drill bits can fit in here, so you won’t be fighting much torque.
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So let’s look at the plate to see what it has under the hood.
Only 1.3 amps. And it spins kinda fast at 2250 RPM. Patent 2487011 was issued in Nov. 1949. So this was probably built in 1950.
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:03 AM   #3
glatt
 
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Let’s compare it to my low end Black & Decker drill that I bought about 20 years ago. My 20 year old drill is nothing special. But it’s got 3.0 amps of power compared to this old drill’s 1.3 amps. It runs slower too at 1200 RPM, but that’s faster than you are ever going to need.
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And look at how much bigger the grip is on the “new” drill. Did people have tiny hands 65 years ago?
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And while I always though my 3/8 inch drill had a small chuck, it looks enormous by comparison.
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Thankfully, they don’t make them like they used to.
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:05 AM   #4
glatt
 
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So if had plugged this in with the bare wires all wrapped together like that and the metal housing charged, would I have gotten a shock before the circuit breaker tripped? I was wearing sneakers on a dry linoleum floor.
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:17 AM   #5
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I also had a 1/4" B&D drill very similar to that one, but the handle was slimmer and a bit longer and the wiring wasn't pooched. I think I gave it to my sister when she needed a drill. I miss it, it was the best looking drill.
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:39 AM   #6
xoxoxoBruce
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I doubt Black & Decker is to blame for the wiring, it's obvious somebody has messed with it. I suspect the chuck has been replaced too, keyless chucks were pretty rare in those days.

I have a B&D industrial drill from way back, probably WW I era. The cord had been replaced with a heavy duty 25 ft cord courtesy of the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where my Ex-father-in-law stole it. It's a big two handed drill but only a 3/8 chuck.
The odd thing is the trigger mechanism, pull and release it's on, pull and release it's off. This rolling block trigger is really disconcerting to us used to modern triggers. I replaced it with a newer trigger but saved the original so it could be restored.
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:50 AM   #7
Undertoad
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"Keyless Chuck - great nickname for a homeless guy." - Carolla
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Old 11-21-2016, 12:17 PM   #8
glatt
 
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According to the November 1951 Popular Mechanics, this was a $22.95 drill, which is $213.37 today. There's one on Ebay for $5 right now.
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You also apparently put your middle finger on the trigger and have your index finger along the side of the drill. That way you get three fingers on the grip.

Last edited by glatt; 11-22-2016 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 11-21-2016, 02:07 PM   #9
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I was going to say that very thing, Glatt.

Is this a high-speed drill by any chance?

I think there used to be higher speed drills, and the ones I'm thinking about were short-gripped like yours and you laid your index finger along the side, where the indentation is on yours. Not for heavy duty work, but, for light duty, repetitive stuff.
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Old 01-02-2018, 09:42 AM   #10
glatt
 
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Next up in the "they don't make them like they used to" category is gas ranges.

We went window shopping for gas ranges yesterday just to see where things stand in the market these days. It looks like to get what I want in a gas range, I'm at a $2k price point. Ugh.

Also, ranges at that price point come with WiFi and Bluetooth. A fucking oven with WiFi and Bluetooth. Apparently it's so it will shut off automatically if you aren't in the same room as your Nest, Alexa, Echo, or whatever smart home device you have and that device thinks you are not home. Safety feature, you see, so your house doesn't burn down. Also, you can call up your stove from your cell phone and get it preheating when you are on your way home.

These are features I don't really want. What if Putin decides he wants to burn my house down and hacks my oven?
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Old 01-02-2018, 01:38 PM   #11
Griff
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Non-feature features, I guess this is where we come to at the end of a line of technology?
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Old 01-03-2018, 01:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glatt View Post
I'm at a $2k price point.
J. F. C.
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Old 01-03-2018, 02:17 PM   #13
glatt
 
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You can get a range for as low as $500, but over time I've accumulated a list of pet peeves with gas ranges, and in order to avoid all of them, I'm at $2K. And still don't have exactly what I want.
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Old 01-03-2018, 02:39 PM   #14
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my peeve with gas ranges is that you no longer have to light a match and start the fire your own self. I actually liked that part
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Old 01-03-2018, 02:45 PM   #15
xoxoxoBruce
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Now it's like having a grenade that can pull it's own pin.
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