View Full Version : Anyone know anything about old pantographs?

Scott Shepherd
08-14-2014, 3:57 PM
I saw what appears to be a very old pantograph in a shop earlier this week. Looks like early 1900's or so, just guessing. Had no electric motor and had what looked like an old sewing machine type stand. In the stand, it was cast "E.S.S.".

I was thinking about trying to pick it up and just restore it and have it as a show piece, more than anything useable, but I can't seem to find much on it anywhere. I should have taken a photo, but I didn't.

Anyone know much about the really old stuff like that?

Richard Rumancik
08-14-2014, 5:10 PM
You might be able to get some leads here . . .


Kev Williams
08-14-2014, 5:56 PM
My dad's first engraver was a Scripta 3D pantograph, although it was pretty limited in its 3D capabilities. The entire pantograph assembly was hinged with the motor solidily mounted, and had a solid stylus. If you had something half-spherical shaped, you could reproduce it at 2:1 or less. We never did any 3D work on it at all. I remember the pantograph arm lock, moving stylus and spindle up/down attachment didn't come with the machine, and dad did his first engraving jobs in 3D mode, where you had to pull the stylus down into the copy type or master. The first engraving I ever did was with the machine set up this way- on scrap stuff of course! I was 8 years old. When dad got the arm lock, new stylus and spindle attachment, wow, MUCH easier! One thing that machine never did have was a depth gauge...

The next machine dad got was an old Gorton 3-U deep throat pantomill, built in the 1940's. One tricky part about engraving with a Gorton is the spindle moves exactly opposite the stylus does. And like the Scripta, no way to regulate engraving depth other than by moving the table.

Then came the New Hermes IRX-IV pantographs, we ended up with about 4 of them, and I still have and use one of them. Just a straightforward, easy to use machine. Somewhere in the middle of those, around 1974 dad bought a brand new Gorton P1-2 pantomill, pretty much the same as the old 3-U except it had a shallow throat, and a much larger table with more vertical travel. I loved it for it's milling capabilities, but I hated engraving with the thing. ;)

I spent about 8 years on the IRX-IV's and Gorton's, and then the Concept 2000 came out as the computer controlled everything revolution got going, and I never looked back. I was never really "into" pantographs or their history.

Sorry I'm not much help, Steve! :)

Scott Shepherd
08-14-2014, 6:10 PM
It looked something like this. Had a foot pedal at the bottom to put pressure on the engraving side. Sorry the photo is so small, it's all I've found so far.


Scott Shepherd
08-14-2014, 6:14 PM
Looks like it was on that site Richard linked to. Circa 1883! It's missing a lot of the pieces from what I can see. Would be really cool to get it and find the pieces and restore it....


Bruce Page
08-14-2014, 7:38 PM
I spent a fair number of hours as an apprentice running Gorton pantographs. In the days before CNC all part marking where I worked was done using pantographs and the lowly apprentice. It was fun for the first few days but got old quick.
The Engle would make a nice conversation piece.

Robert Tepper
08-14-2014, 10:56 PM
I started my business with a New Hermes IRX pantograph. Ran Gorton's while working as a machinist at McDonnell Douglas.

My first cnc engraving machine was a Dahlgren. It not sits on a table and gets used twice a month. Now the laser.


Kev Williams
08-15-2014, 12:46 AM
Wow! Nice find!

Now, I'm not sure, but I don't believe the old 1883 machine is actually a "pantograph", which by definition I've always assumed is a 4-pivot arm arrangement, like this:

From what I can tell, that old honker copies using only 2 pivot points, near the top. The tool is lowered to the work via the arm near the stylus pressed by the thumb, a counterweight raises the tool. Since there IS only 2 pivot points, it appears the X-axis actually rotates, which explains the long rod attached to the arm that's attached to the cutter tool; it's to keep the cutter perpendicular to the work as the cutter's holder turns. And I love the upgraded rod in the photo ;)

Pretty fascinating machine! Looks to be fixed at a high ratio, maybe around 12:1? And is it me, or is that guy asleep? :D

I'd love to see some pics of the machine you found!

Scott Shepherd
08-15-2014, 8:12 AM
I think you are right Kevin, in the patent application for it, it's called an "Engraving Machine" not a pantograph. I'd love to take this project on, but some quick searching yields absolutely nothing in reference to any other machines or parts. The entire table is missing off the machine, and the only thing that's where the table is, is the casting that's got dovetails on it. I'd need to locate some parts or another parts machine to make it work and when I can't even find a photo of the machine online, I think it might be near impossible to find parts. I'll go take another look at it and take some photos and post them.

Dan Hintz
08-15-2014, 8:34 AM
Thought you might find this interesting, Steve...
Read deep into the second paragraph...

And this:

Scott Shepherd
08-15-2014, 8:48 AM
Yeah, I saw those Dan, that's about all I could find on the machine. I even searched for "Engraving Museums" to see if maybe somewhere out there, people had collected this stuff and someone had one in a glass class on display somewhere, but I didn't have much luck.

Scott Shepherd
08-17-2014, 10:25 AM
Stopped by the guy's shop and took another look at it. It's not the one I posted earlier, it's looks to be from someone that copied him. It appears to be from about 1900. I asked a guy there about it and he said "Oh, that thing, it's been sitting here for at least 4 years. It's no good, it's missing the table, and the motor and everything else". I laughed inside "motor?". It didn't have a motor when it was new :)

It appears to be an Eaton & Glover Engraving Machine.

I found a couple of photos of it online, as well as the original one I took where it's currently sitting.