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By Boringgeoff
In our conversation on the Gedge bit, Andy T mentioned a auger bit with a detachable cutter which was described in the 1846 reference book: Volume 2 of Holtzapffel's "Turning and Mechanical Manipulation" and asked if I had one of these bits.
As it happens I do, a 5/8" branded Mathieson and the Crescent and Star trademark, no other marks that I can see. If we take the starting date of the mark as 1868 and the addition of "& Sons" as 1899 that gives a rough timeline for this bit. I have not been able to find a patent for the process of fitting the cutter (or spur) but I have found a patent criticising the attachment method.
On June 1st 1869 H. C. Lewis of Essex Conn. USA was awarded patent No 90,759, in part for "the peculiar manner of forming the spur upon the body of the bit". Lewis' criticism is "..fitting the spur in a separate piece, which often, by hard use, breaks out from the body of the bit and thus ruins the instrument." ... S90759.pdf
Looking closely at my example there does appear to be a small gap between the spur and the body but I think the spur looks like it is dovetailed in so doubt that it will come out easily. The photo of the two together the upper is an unbranded example of Lewis' idea but don't know if it is related to him in anyway.
Spur insert Mathieson 004.png
Spur insert Mathieson 003.png
Spur insert Mathieson 001.png
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By AndyT
Interesting - but may I set you a new challenge? Or anyone else, naturally.

Here's the passage in the Holtzapffel book. It's clear from the diagram and the text that it's about a different sort of auger bit, one with an Irwin style central rod and the helix wrapped around it. (Made as a separate strip and brazed on, that's another question answered.)

The loose part is the whole cutter and scriber, which is held in place by a wedge. Figure 467 in the illustration is the relevant one here and shows the auger dismantled.


Here's the original text:


So, do you have any of those? The nearest I have are a few ordinary Irwin bits and of course they don't have any such wedged together construction.

I expect most of the cutters found their natural habitat hidden underneath a pile of shavings, soon after these bits were introduced.

PS Whole book available here - I find online sites are poor at listing multi-volume works but this link should lead to volume 2
By Boringgeoff
I haven't seen one like that, but what is interesting, is the shaft with the spiral brazed on strongly resembles the Dimitt/ Irwin bit. ... 306907.pdf
But how can that be, Holtzappfels book was written in 1846 and Dimitts patent isn't until 38 years later in 1884?
I wonder if this is an example of the bit the Irwin traveller saw that I mentioned earlier:
"James Price in the US and he told a story of a travelling sales rep' for Irwin bits in the late 1880's or early 90's. He met a man who showed him some Irwin style bits that he had had for thirty years so nothing new or innovative about Irwins he said. The traveller was amazed and wanted to buy one to take back to Ohio but the man wouldn't sell."
I hope we come up with an answer.