Keeper of the Flame

 PM E-newsletter

 Have you ever wondered where the metalworking technology you use daily came from? After all, somebody had to invent the machines and tools from which our machines and tools evolved.

Located in Windsor, Vt., the American Precision Museum (APM) is home to the largest collection of historically significant machine tools in the United States. Housed in the historic Robbins and Lawrence Armory, the APM preserves the heritage of mechanical arts, celebrates the mechanical ingenuity of our forbearers and explores the effects of their work on our everyday lives.

I’ve taken the opportunity to visit this special place, and it is surely time well spent. The museum’s machine tool collection is among the most extensive in the world and includes single and multiple spindle lathes, shapers, planers, milling machines, gang drills and grinders tracing back to the early 19th century.

The former armory that houses this collection opened in 1846, and its company is credited with having exported the first U.S. built machine tool. It’s a unique opportunity to see how metalworking technology grew into the “American System” of mass production using interchangeable parts.

The 2009 season for the APM begins on May 23, and will host the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October 31. This season’s main exhibition is titled “From Muskets to Motorcars” and traces how the tools and techniques of precision manufacturing made mass production possible.

If you are looking for a worthy vacation stop or find yourself in the New England area on business, make a point to stop in and visit the American Precision Museum. It’s well worth your time.

Visit the APM Web site at www.americanprecision.org.