I picked this mortiser up at an auction this weekend.
The machine footprint is 30” wide x 22” deep or 32”deep if you include the pedal and is 58” tall. It came with a 1/2” chisel. The chisel has a travel range of 3-1/4” (that’s when the pedal reaches the floor) and the table can be dropped to accommodate a 10-1/2” wide board.
The only information i can find on the machine is on the base casting.
A little research took me to vintagemachinery.org where I found the following information.
This pattern mortiser is referred to as the “Gould Pattern Mortiser” after Ezra Gould came out with his model in 1847. Many other companies copied this design. One such company was James Smart out of Brockville, Ontario, Canada.
Here is an excerpt from the site:
This maker can trace its genesis back to 1854 through its predecessor, J. A. Smart. James Smart Manufacturing Co. lasted until 1967.
This company made, among many other products, a solid-chisel mortiser; this product was added to their line with the purchase of Smart & Shepherd. There are a fair number of surviving examples, so the mortisers must have been commercially successful.
James A. Smart and Investors
From 1856, James Smart operated the Novelty Works on Kincaid Street in Brockville. In about 1880, Smart was joined in the business by John McLeod Gill and Robert Gill. In 1881 they incorporated as James Smart Manufacturing Co. According to a family history, the partnership did not work to the advantage of Smart. The Gills put in an amount equal to the then-estimated assets of the company, and received half of the stock in exchange. A subsequent valuation put the value of the incumbent assets at twice their previously assessed value, which meant that the Gills got quite a bargain. Furthermore, no value was put on Smart’s goodwill, which must have been substantial as it was a well-established and thriving business.
The partners’ relationship suffered, and Smart reduced or eliminated his involvement with the company. Shortly after the reorganization, a Mr. Hodgson of Montreal invested about $20,000 in the business, and was then bought out by the Gills; it turned out that Hodgson was an associate of John M. Gill. Buying Hodgson’s share gave the Gills more than 50% ownership, and some time afterwards the business stopped paying their 6% dividend. Smart had his money locked up with no liquidity or income. Dividend payments resumed when Smart completely withdrew from the company. Smart realized only about $30,000 for his shares. This was some time after 1886. Smart, who was about 55 at this point, became the county sheriff, a job he needed for the income.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Beginning in the early 1870s, Smart’s nephews, Elswood Smart and B. C. Shepherd, operated a rival business, Smart & Shepherd, in adjacent premises. In 1886 Smart Manufacturing Co. took over Smart & Shepherd. In 1893 they purchased the Chown & Cunningham foundry in nearby Kingston, and all the stock and plant was relocated to Brockville. In 1894 they took over the Brockville Wringer Works. At this point the Smart works covered over 2.5 acres of buildings.
So from what I can guess is that my machine was made after the Gills forced Smart out because there is no mention of Smart on the base but there is a big letter “G” which I will assume is for Gill putting this mortiser unofficially made late 1800s to early 1900s.
Digging a little deeper I also found a scan of a 1891 catalogue that puts the price of a new #2 mortiser at $20 and chisels costing $1.
Well that’s all for now…
-- Greg in Ontario, Canada