Stories of Earl Brinkman: Uncles Galore, Cousins Too

One of the great things about the family was all the Aunts, Uncles and cousins. The family reunions were always a hoot with lots of kidding, yelling, singing and love.

Beer and brats at Uncle Jay and Aunt Dot’s were always well attended family reunions. Dad used to bring the brothers down to hunt in New York and that was always fun with the same kind of brotherly kidding. Uncle Bob would always say, “Don’t pick on me, I’m an orphan”. Whether or not we got any deer was secondary to the story telling and brotherly love that overflowed when they were there.

Learning to “Reed” and “Rite”

Grandpa was illiterate until he went to Milwaukee, so in order to write to his wife Mary, he taught himself to read and write. Not very well at first because most of his spelling was phonetic. I would love to have a copy of some of these letters as dad said they were very readable as long as you sounded out the words and didn’t worry about how they “wer speld”.

CJWinter and Davenport Offer Quick Change Tooling Products for Davenport HP and Model B Machines

CJWinter Machine Technologies and Davenport Machine collaborate to offer a new revolutionary, patent-pending QCT Quick Change Tooling package for Davenport Davenport HP and Model B machines.

davenport machine accessories NEW Quick Change Tooling, QCT, takes changeover of side-working and end-working tools on the Davenport from hours to minutes! The NEW QCT package eliminates time-consuming adjustments and changing of tools. With this patented design, tool changeover on a Davenport has never been this simple and easy – a substantial savings of time and money!

The new family of Quick Change Tooling is the next revolutionary change to the Davenport. This substantial reduction in set-up time means less labor, faster turnout of parts, and easier training.

The family of QCT tooling includes:

Form Tools

1st and 2nd position Form Tool holders have a common dovetail design and are available in 5 or 10 degree clamp angles. Top bolts maintain the taper even when the block assembly is removed from the adapter plate for changes. This tool allows a finer taper adjustment by using a 40 TPI thread.

Shave Tools

The Model 111 Shave Tool can be mounted in multiple positions. Two roll brackets come standard for inboard or center roll positions. Each covers the entire range of diameters. The zero clearance matched assembly means a more rigid running mechanism and virtually eliminates chatter. Low height offers more room in the work envelope and minimizes interference with the adjacent tooling. Micro Taper adjustments can be made within .0001”; remove the tool without losing the taper.

Tool Spindles

Patented thread configuration allows for easy locating, installation and removal, in less than one turn. Spindle length has been reduced by 1.10 inches to allow for more room inside the machine, making tool changes simple and allowing for longer parts.

Drill and Tap Holders are designed for easy use with QCT tool spindles. Assembly height is .641 inches versus standard drill holders which require 1.75 inches. An Adjustable Drill Holder has a floating front plate, making drill adjustments simple, especially on older machines where alignment can be difficult. The collet style holder can be used for revolving and tapping needs.

QCT Slides and Adapter Plates

The QCT full-width adapter plate allows tool changes in a matter of minutes. Leave the plates attached to your machine and simply slide new dovetail QCT form and shave tools on and off. A locking gib allows for a quick change and secure locking of the entire tool and block assembly.

Pre-Set Fixtures

The New QCT Pre-set Fixture gives set-up personnel the option of setting tool changes off the machine, while the machine is running. Set tool position, tool height, and taper while running another job. This means increased efficiency and less down time!

Stories of Earl Brinkman: On the Road for Davenport

Dad had many “On the Road” stories as he traveled extensively, demonstrating and installing machines all over the country. Here are just a few that I remember.

Shine or “The Good Stuff”

Dad used to smoke, use Copenhagen brand snuff and of course he could drink with the best of them. One day while traveling through Gary Indiana, way before expressways or the interstate, he ran out of cigarettes. He stopped at the next general store which was the traditional type for the time. Wooden counter, pickle barrel and hard candy with a wood stove in the corner.

After he bought his smokes he struck up a conversation with the proprietor, being the friendly, “hail fellow well met” type of guy that he was. One thing led to another and the fellow soon asked, “Would you take a drink?” Those of you who remember Dad from the old days know that he seldom if ever turned that offer down. So the store keeper reached under the counter, brought up a jug and poured two water glasses full of clear moonshine. Dad knew right away that this stuff was going to be so powerful that if he didn’t get that glass of shine down in one go he wouldn’t be able to. So they touched glasses and down it went. Dad said that he licked his lips and savored the flavor of that rotgut for quite a while. Not because it was so good, but because he couldn’t breath. He always kept a bottle of hundred proof Johnny Walker Black in the car just in case he needed a present for a client. Not to be outdone or rude, he went out and got the bottle, poured two more tumblers full of booze and down they went. Well now it was the old guys turn to smack his lips. When he finished he said to Dad, “Nice and smooth but a might weak ain’t it?”

Remington Arms

One time he was running off a machine at the Remington Arms plant. The machine had to run for a week and of course it was running like a top so he had nothing to do but stock it up, touch up the tools once in awhile and kill some time.

The foreman had been having some trouble with a job on a turret lathe down the aisle and he asked Earl to look at it to see if he could fix the problem. “No problem” Dad said. “Tools are tools. Let’s take a look.” In that week of runoff he straightened out the entire automatics department. The foreman and the department manager were so grateful that they wanted to give Dad a rifle. He said no of course because that was against the rules of the company. (Still is for that matter) But he did say that when they ran the next batch of match 22 caliber match rifles that he would like to buy the one that shot the best test pattern of the lot.

A few months later a rifle showed up at the plant with an invoice and the test target. Dad used that gun to shoot woodchucks at incredible distance for many years. It’s now in my gun cabinet.

Chasing Night Shift Skullduggery

While on another runoff at an auto plant the foreman told Dad about what fantastic life he was getting out of these new thread chasers. Almost five times the life of the old supplier he said. Dad immediately smelled a rat because he was up on all the latest tooling developments and had never heard of this company performing any better that the others.

So he and the foreman changed the chasers every day before the night shift came in. They never said anything to anyone but they did mark the chasers. Next morning the mark was gone. So they changed the chasers again and marked them again. Same thing the next day, no mark. The chaser salesman had made a deal with the night operator to change the chasers every night. He didn’t get the business and the operator got fired.

City of Milwaukee Close Call

Dad frequently traveled by train during his early days on the road for the company. He would take the New York Central RR to Cleveland, Toledo or Chicago and eventually end up in Milwaukee to call on the Allen Bradley Company among others. He would then take an overnight car and railroad ferry named the S.S. City of Milwaukee to Detroit.

This was 1929. On this particular trip the lake was so rough that he couldn’t sleep. The ship was shuddering with every wave as the 12 foot diameter propellers were coming out of the water. He went on deck for a cigarette and ran into a deck hand doing the same thing. He said,” It’s a little rough isn’t it?” To which the sailor replied, “Yea, but this is one of the largest ferries on the great lakes. Don’t worry.” When Dad got to Detroit the next morning he made his usual stops before ending up at his sister Mary’s house in Grosse Pointe.

When he walked in that night Mary said, “Earl, when did you get here?” Dad replied that he had taken the ferry overnight from Milwaukee. She gasped and showed him the afternoon edition of the Detroit newspaper which read, “City of Milwaukee sinks on return trip, all hands lost”. One of many close calls he had on the road for Davenport.

Davenport Announces 24-Hour Delivery for Cams

Davenport Machine now offers 24-hour delivery for cams.

We also offer drastically reduced delivery time for custom engineered cams. All customers providing Davenport with custom requirements will receive cams in just 4 business days.

For more information, contact the Davenport team today.

Stories of Earl Brinkman: Hunting & Fishing

Poaching was a way of life in the U.P. Deer, rabbits, Partridge, fish, all were fair game to put food on the table or salt down, pickle or preserve in one way or the other. They used to take apart old ball bearings and use the balls in homemade slingshots ‘cause a shotgun shell was a nickel and way too much money to use on a partridge.

They had a hunting camp and on one occasion after a freezing rain a brother came back to camp. He stood his rifle in the corner and told everyone to be careful. He had tried to shoot at a deer but the rain had frozen inside the gun and when he squeezed the trigger nothing happened. Sure enough, about ten minutes later the gun thawed out and blew a nice hole in the roof of the cabin.

Every year when the salmon would run up the river to spawn they would go down to the spot where the road crossed the river-before bridges. At this ford several men would wait for a school of fish to come with potato forks. In case you city folk don’t know what a potato fork is, it’s a wide multi tined pitchfork designed to pick up potatoes after they are dug, leaving the dirt behind.

Well, when the guys downstream would spot a school heading upstream they would yell to another guy farther upstream, “Here they come”. Working in and around the mines, there was always a ready supply of dynamite. According to Dad, sixty five percent nitro glycerin dynamite would burn when lit with a carbide light but would not explode. When they figured the fish were in about the right place the guy upstream would light a half stick of dynamite and throw it in the water. As soon as it was enveloped by the water it would explode with a small “putch”. The stunned fish would turn belly up and float down to the waiting brigade of potato fork wielding men who pitched the fish on the bank. They would be filleted and either dried or put down in salt. It wasn’t until I was eight years old that Dad finally relented and tried fresh salmon. But that’s another story.

One-Shot Brinkman

Years later, one of Dad’s customers, The Weatherhead Company, had a hunting camp in the U.P. They would fly customers and valued suppliers like Earl to hunt at a very large and quite nice camp. Dad never slept much and was always up early. He had breakfast, selected his rifle and plenty of ammunition before the rest arose. After breakfast the rest of the hunters selected their rifles and began stuffing their pockets with ammunition.

Dad made it a point to ask what the limit was on deer that year. He was told, “One”. Then he said, “Why are you taking so much ammunition when you’re only allowed one deer”? He then very ceremoniously selected one bullet, put it in his pocket and said, “This is all I need”. Well, he got a great deal of ribbing about being “One shot Brinkman”. The woods were divided into one mile squares by fire trails and everyone was dropped off at pre-selected spots. Dad was in the woods only a few minutes when a big buck ran right up to him. He shot it and looked to his left where stood another buck which he also shot. Hearing a noise over his shoulder he turned to see another buck which quickly became the third to drop. In a few minutes several of the other hunters came up and said, “One shot Brinkman, one shot Brinkman” where’s all the deer?”. Whereupon Dad said, “There’s one there, one there and one over there.” What luck! Of course he always said, “No luck involved!”

Drunken Geese

One time Dad and one of the brothers were hunting Geese on the shore of Lake Superior. It was what they called a “Blue Bird Day”, bright, warm and sunny. Lousy for hunting. Having hiked a long way in the middle of the night to get to where they were going to hunt, they were a little tired. The weather and lack of game resulted in a little nap. When they awoke, low and behold there was a small flock of geese floating right in front of them. There was also a strong smell of alcohol. This must have been in the days when they were running hooch over from Canada to avoid the whisky taxes, but long before prohibition.

Well the boys prepared to shoot their limit and then some, but when they jumped up, the geese, normally very wary birds, didn’t move. They were all asleep, drunk on the fumes from a broken barrel of booze that had washed up on the shore. Well, according to Dad, he and his brother waded out into the water and grabbed six of the drunken geese and tied them to their belts by their feet, expecting to take them home to Grandma so she could raise wild geese. They started the long walk home when all of a sudden the geese sobered up, started flapping their wings wildly and lifted Dad and his brother right off the ground. As luck would have it the wind was blowing in the right direction and these geese brought the boys to within half a mile of home before they got tired and landed. I only heard him tell this tall tale once, but I never forgot it.

More Hunting and fishing

Dad had many friends in Rochester most of whom were outdoorsmen who hunted or fished or shot skeet or most likely all of the above. Much like the story of dynamiting salmon in the U.P. this next one uses even simpler tools, no explosives and only a little ingenuity.

In the spring in western New York there is usually rain and snow melt runoff that swells the creeks above their banks and into the surrounding fields. Along East Lake road in Conesus there was an area where the field flooded and ran across the road. This was before the road was paved and the road in the spring was no more than two ruts. Big Northern Pike and Walleyed Pike would come up the stream and into the field to spawn. The boys would station someone at the road and the rest would walk the field working their way towards the crossing. When the fish took off to get back to the lake, they would see the men standing in the stream and turn up the flooded ruts in the road. The men only had to walk behind the fish until they ran out of water, pick them up and put them in a burlap bag. “Fish dinner tonight”.

Stories of Earl Brinkman: Inventions

Bent Shank Tapping

During the depression machine orders were few and far between. Dad was always looking for a newer or better way to do things and one of his ideas was to put a tap inside the burring spindle

machine cycles

Bent shank tapping had been done for many years but was always a secondary operation on a tapping machine. The predrilled part was chucked and pulled one way over a tap with a ninety degree bend at the end of a relatively short shank. Dad made his proposal to Mr. Davenport who scoffed at the idea.

He said that a shank long enough to go all the way through the spindle would twist off and wouldn’t let Dad build it. This didn’t make any sense to Earl because the shank was the same diameter all the way. Why would extra length make it weaker? It might wind up a bit but it certainly would not twist off!

So he set about finding a way to convince Mr. Davenport to allow him to develop a bent shank tapping attachment. The opportunity soon arose at the Champion Spark Plug Company. Back in those days most spark plug wires were held in place by an aluminum nut. These were made on Davenports using the threading clutch. Dad convinced Albert Champion to place an order for two machines with bent shank tapping on them because it would substantially reduce the cycle time. Dad marched into Davenport’s office and laid the order on his desk. “Now you’ll let me build it”, he said.

Well it took him a while, but, in the end he sold many, many machines with bent shank tapping attachments.


Socket set screws were usually made on cold heading machines due to the force needed to broach the hex. Dad knew there was a tremendous market for machines to make socket set screws if he could only figure out a way to do it on a Davenport.

He knew he didn’t have enough power to broach the entire hex, but he also knew he could broach two of the six corners. He had to figure out how to make the broach index in position so he could make the hex in only one position. He came home one Friday night determined to spend as much time as necessary to figure it out. He told my mother, “Hilda, I have to work out a problem. Just feed me and leave me alone.” He figured it would take him all weekend or more. Instead, in about a half hour he came out of his office grinning and said to Mom, “I’ve got it!” “Let’s have dinner.”

What he had figured out was called the Rev-N-Loc and by now has probably made billions of set screws. The mechanism is really quite simple. He knew if he could create a cog system that would disengage the driven cog from the driver momentarily that the driver would jump ahead and basically create an index mechanism “on the fly”. This Rev-N-Loc is the same mechanism that was used years later to feed the string out of string lawn trimmers. Betcha didn’t know that! Once again, his ingenuity resulted in the sale of many, many Davenport machines to a whole new market.

Elevator Days

The government had to do something about The Ford Foundation’s meddling in the business of Ford Motor Company. The foundation had controlling interest in the company and the government felt this was a conflict of interest for a charitable foundation. They passed a law requiring all family foundations to divest themselves of such holdings.

Many years before the Davenport Hatch Foundation was formed to hold the family stock. Basically, the same situation existed without the meddling. So a buyer for the company was sought out. Dad found The Dover Corporation of elevator fame and the company was sold for what at the time was the only IRS approved stock swap that Dover ever did. Normally, Dover paid cash only, period. Dover was a holding company that specialized in buying the best, most profitable companies available in their field and Davenport Machine Tool Company, Inc. certainly filled the bill. The absolute leader in numbers of multi spindle machines sold in the world, Davenport was highly profitable. When Dad became president in 1966 he immediately started modernizing the plant. He bought the latest equipment from around the world in an effort to reduce the famous eight year backlog for delivery of a machine. He reduced that delivery time from years to months. One of his favorite sayings was, “Stay ahead of ‘em.” When he retired in 1979 the company had almost four hundred employees and was shipping fifty machines a month.

Davenport Training Course Proves Successful for Candidates

Davenport Machine hosted a hands-on, five-day Operator Training course at our facility in Rochester, New York, February 20-24, 2006. The course received excellent reviews by all of the class attendees.

Some of the comments included:

  • “The course was effective…I learned a lot!”
  • “It was an honor to learn from someone who apprenticed under Brinkman.”
  • “I learned a lot about some of the attachments.”
  • “I used to do set-ups exactly the same way, without knowing what was going on inside the machine.”

Every attendee rated Davenport “Excellent” in the areas of course content, materials, organization, and trainer expertise. The next advanced operator training course will be held May 8-12, 2006.

The course was developed in response to industry trends showing companies in need of proper training to remain competitive in today’s market. The course covered in detail the following parts and operations:

Major machine components, machine configuration, layout conventions, camming, chuck and feed mechanism, cams/spindle gears/feed gears, spindle indication, side working tool setting, size tool holder, end working tool holders, burring attachment, tapping, Davenport thread rolling attachment, installation of Winter’s thread rolling attachment, cut threads, daily maintenance, and machining concepts.

Davenport Machine is the only ISO 9001:2000 certified manufacturer of Davenport replacement parts in the world. Davenport manufactures the Davenport HP and Model B multi-spindle screw machines, custom application attachments, and provides technical services to customers for increased productivity. For more information, visit our web site at or contact us today.

Online Ordering for Davenport Machine

Davenport Machine offers online ordering that makes it easier than ever for customers to check stock, receive a quote, and order parts from Davenport.

Davenport’s online ordering allows access to a listing of the most frequently-used Davenport replacement parts. Customers can order directly through the site, or print out a printer-friendly version of a quote or order for their purchasing department. Customers can also check the status of their orders or account.

To register, visit and click on the online ordering tab.

Davenport Machine is the only ISO 9001:2000-certified manufacturer of Davenport replacement parts in the world. Davenport manufactures the Davenport HP and Model B multi-spindle screw machines, custom application attachments, and provides technical services to customers for increased productivity.

For more information, visit our website at

Stories of Earl Brinkman: Pranks & Amusements

Slots and Slugs

While working in the shop building machines Dad quickly became the resident expert on how to do things on a Davenport. Earl BrinkmanOne day one of the other older workers came to Dad and handed him a round disk just about the size of a quarter.  He asked Dad if it was possible to cut off a piece flat like it on a Davenport. Dad said, “Sure, that’s easy.” So they gave him the bar stock centerless ground and Dad rapidly made up several thousand disks to their specs.

Well, the next week they invited Dad to go out with them to make the rounds of the local bars. At that time slot machines were legal in all the gin mills and the only coin that showed was the last one played. These guys proceeded to load slugs into these machines as fast as they could pull the handle, putting all the payoffs in their pocket and putting a real quarter in as the last play. They made the rounds that night and converted their slugs into real money. The next week they invited Dad to go along again. The very first bar they went in they started playing the slots and could see the bartender was very nervous, watching them closely.

Just as the bartender started around the bar to check up on them the machine paid off big with a bunch of the previous weeks slugs. Well Dad thought, “This is it!”. But the guy that was playing the machine grabbed a handful of slugs and said to the bartender in a loud voice, “What the hell kind of a place are you running here?” “Look at all these slugs.” The bartender apologized all over the place and said, “If I catch the guys that are doing this I’ll kill them, but I’ll make all of them slugs good.” They never did it again!

Hard as Nails

One day the carpenter that built the shipping crates for the machines came over to Dad and said, “Earl, you should see that big Swede bend nails with his bare hands. Now Dad, having grown up working with his hands, had the strongest grip I have ever seen. He said, “What kind of nails?” The carpenter gave him a nail and Dad bent it with ease. “Jeez Kris Earl, do that again”, he said. “That’s easy”, Said Earl. Well the carpenter then hatched a plan and said, “Let’s have some fun Earl.” He took some nails and put them in a cyanide hardening pot. Cyanide was used back then to case harden steel and would leave it clean and shiny but hard as glass. Then the carpenter went around making bets that the little guy in the assembly, all hundred and fifty pounds of him, could bend more nails than the Swede. The bets were placed and the guy gave the Swede one of the hardened nails which of course he couldn’t bend. Dad made it look easy and they all thought they lost the bet until Dad took the hard nail and put it in a vise. He hit it with a hammer and it did indeed shatter like glass. The laugh was on them.

Always Buy Davenport Parts for Longer Life

Davenport Machine provides the highest-quality OEM Replacement Parts. Watch our video below to learn about why after 100+ years we’re:

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