Preserving the heritage of metalworking is the job of the American Precision Museum in Windsor, Vt. The museum occupies the former Robbins & Lawrence Armory and houses the largest collection of historically significant machine tools in the nation.
It was these machine tools and the designers and builders of them that are the foundation of the precision machining capabilities that we enjoy today. In 1846 it was in companies like Robbins & Lawrence where the “American System” of manufacturing, including the daring concept of interchangeable parts, took root and was perfected, creating the juggernaut that led to the arsenal of democracy in World War II and the standard of living we enjoy today.
Much of this history is presented in examples of machines along with educational displays and demonstrations of processes from long ago that got the job done then and inspired the development of new and better ways we use today. A few years ago, I was able to visit the museum on a trip to Vermont, and I can attest that it was one of the most enjoyable afternoons I’ve spent in my metalworking career.
I highly recommend that anyone involved in manufacturing who has the opportunity to get to Windsor, Vt., put the American Precision Museum on the must-see list. You can also take a collections tour on the museum's website.
As a member of our industry, consider supporting this non-profit treasure by becoming a member of the museum as well.