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Barnes' Patent Foot Power Machinery

From the 1885 W.F. & John Barnes Catalog

The application of foot-power is not new. It has been used in different ways for centuries. The application of foot-power as a motive force in the operation of workshop machines, however, is recent. We have justifiable pride in saying that the introduction of our inventions in this line was the beginning of this new departure.

The old or ordinary treadle power is useless for anything like actual business requirements, because, by reason of friction, dead centers, and other inherent faults, a large portion of the power expended is wasted or consumed before it gets to the work.

It seems hardly necessary to say that in the use of foot-power machinery, all the power there is comes from the operator. Yet we frequently find, in our correspondence, parties who seem to think that by use of heavy balance wheels and complicated devices there will be generated, in some mysterious way, more power than resides in the operator himself. This is impossible; all that can be done is to use in the most direct and effective manner the power that exists.

Our inventions have solved the problem by entirely overcoming dead centers, reducing friction to a minimum, and, in other ways, getting rid of the faults and shortcomings of the old powers.

The first application of our new foot motion was in case of a scroll saw, which we now call the No. 7 saw. We followed this with other machines, until we had, as at present, a line of machines for nearly all branches of both wood and metal work. We are the only manufacturers in the world who are able to furnish outfits of foot and hand power machines for mechanics and artisans.

The past ten years have been wonderfully fertile in the production of motors for driving light machinery. Steam, water, gas, kerosene and electricity have all been utilized. In the face of this, there has been a large and constantly increasing demand for our foot power machinery. This fact, in itself, is one of the strongest arguments we could use to show that our machines possess the advantages we claim for them.

Every good thing is imitated and couterfeited. It is not strange, therefore, that there are different machines in the market claimed to be equal to ours. This cannot be, because they still contain the radical faults of the old foot power. Our inventions and improvements in foot power are fully covered by patents and cannot be used by anyone but ourselves.

There are two classes of foot power machines, one embracing those designed for amusement and recreation, and the other those for use in the workshop. The machines of our manufacture form substantially the latter class. Purchasers should be careful to discriminate between the two kinds, and not be led by cheap prices and specious representations into buying machines which are inadequate for workshop use.

There is a prevalent false idea of foot power machinery, as regards combining a number of machines in one, with the expectation of getting a better result than from machines independently constructed. In amateur or pastime machines, combining a number together is customary, and, as there is nothing at stake but amusement, the result may be satisfactory. But, in the workshop, where there is sharp competition, foot power machines are brought to a very different test. There they must return a profit above other means at command. We have a variety of styles and sizes of machines suited to the requirements of the various trades and their several departments.

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