Articles in the popular press (“Screwdriver Books”) covering the Atlas milling machine and shaper.

In the 1940s and 1950s, home metalworking enjoyed much greater popularity than it does today. The Atlas Press Co. of Kalamazoo, Michigan was the largest supplier of machine tools to the hobbyist market, sold under both the Atlas and Craftsman (Sears, Roebuck & Co.) labels. Sears was a major outlet for Atlas, and resulted in many machines being sold to the farm market. The war years also saw these machines at work in industry, doing smaller jobs and freeing larger, more capable machines for other tasks.

The popular magazines of the day reflected this market and interest. Presumably, Atlas placed machines with the leading magazines, much as Delta does today with woodworking machines on programs such as Norm Abrams' "New Yankee Workshop." Staff or freelance writers such as Sam Brown and H.J.Chamberland produced metalworking articles on a frequent basis for the "screwdriver books" of the time, most notably Popular Mechanics and to a lesser extent Popular Science. Following is a listing of articles of interest to Atlas mill and shaper owners. Many of these are concise, well-illustrated tutorials on machine operations, as good or better than any I've found in more conventional textbooks.
-- Pete Albrecht, October 2000

NEW! Through the Miracle of Google, it's now possible to read all of those articles online! (December 2008). But first, a word from our sponsors....


 Make Your Own Milling Cutters Jan 41 p. 147-153
 Mechanics of Milling Machines Jul 42 p. 146-153
 How To Sharpen Milling Cutters Jan 43 p. 146-153
Fundamentals of Milling Machine Operation Oct 46 p. 224-228
 Milling Practice Dec 48 p. 218-222
 Sawing on the Milling Machine Oct 51 p. 218-222
 Setups with plain and side mills Jan 54 p. 224-228
 Milling with angular cutters May 57 p. 210-212
 Milling Cutters and Holders; How to mill on a drill press Jan 69 p. 180-184

  Using the Modern Milling Machine (In "HW" section)  Apr 43 HW 88-91
  Keyways  May 43   p. 152-155 
  Cutting Gears on the Milling Machine   Nov 43  HW 548-551



Using Lathe Bits in Shaper  Feb 54  p. 228
Know Your Metal Shaper  Feb 54 p. 234-239
Index Centers for lathe, shaper, milling machine  Jul 57 p. 187-189
Contour Work with a Metal Shaper Oct. 58 p. 218-221
Adapter holds toolpost grinder to shaper  Mar 64 p. 179

 Extension Toolholder for Small Shaper  Feb 42  p. 174-175
 Planer Jacks  Sep 42 HW 200-201

Links to other Atlas shaper and milling machine information

Atlas mills were sold by Sears under at least one part number: 101.15500

The Sears online parts catalog gives part breakdowns of these mills by Sears part number, but although listed, most if not all of the specialized parts are no longer available through Sears. What few parts are available are standard off-the-shelf hardware and components, more easily and cheaply found elsewhere. To enter the Sears parts listings, click on  Sears online parts catalog and remember to enter the number 101.15500

Atlas Press Co.  has a web site, including corporate history. Any owners of these machines should at the very least have the official factory user manuals and parts lists; they're affordable, I think about $5, and will tell you things you didn't know -- or know you needed to know.

The Atlas Press Co. web site has only one item of information pertaining to the milling machines: a service bulletin detailing  how to replace the spindle belt. . There is no Atlas web information on the shapers.

Atlas/Clausing still has some parts;  contact Atlas/Clausing for parts and service or
Clausing Service Center © 1996
811 Eisenhower Dr.
Goshen, IN 46526 .
Phone: 219-533-0371 FAX: 219-533-0403

Here is a  more complete corporate history of the Atlas Press Co ., courtesy of Richard Stines in San Diego.

There is an  e-groups online mail list ;"This group is dedicated to the users of Atlas metalworking machinery including lathes produced for Sears by Atlas and AA Engineering under the Craftsman name."

Tony Griffiths in England has been compiling thumbnail sketches of various machine tools. Those most likely to interest American users are:
Atlas shapers
Ammco/Delta Rockwell shapers
Logan shapers
South Bend shapers

Atlas horizontal mills

Next in priority after the official factory owner's manuals, Lindsay Books  has some excellent, affordable publications of interest to owners of both mills and shapers. My personal recommendations include:

Shaper Operations: Lessons in Using a Shaper by J.W. Barritt
Shapers by Emanuele Stieri
Production Shaping by Machinery's Industrial Secrets

Milling Machine Operations by J. W. Barritt
Milling Machine Practice by the Cincinnati Milling Machine Co.

Not sold by Lindsay but worth digging out of the used bookstores:
Practical Treatise on Milling and Milling Machines by the Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co.

Available from bookstores, MSC Industrial Supply, J&L Industrial Supply, and the usual suspects:
Machine Shop Practice by K.H. Moltrecht. 2 volumes, about $20 per volume. Shapers and mills are both covered in Vol. 2.

Another one to be dredged out of used bookstores is the U.S. Army Machine Tool Field Manual. There is an  online version of the U.S. Army machine tool manual but it no longer covers shapers. The print version (at least, my 1973 edition) does cover shapers and mills in good detail.

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