What Do We Mean By Foot Powered Machinery

If we define a machine as “Any combination of interrelated parts using or applying energy to do work”, then we can define foot powered machinery as “Machines that utilize foot and/or hand power, usually in conjunction with some type of lever, pitman arm, flywheel or other mechanical advantage to perform work.”

 As for the scope of this website, we will be focusing on wood & metal lathes, table and rip saws, shapers or formers, bandsaws, grinders, scroll saws, drill presses, mortising & tenoning machines and various power wheels made from about the middle of the 1800’s and sold up until the 1930’s or so. The primary focus will be on commercially manufactured machines with a few “craftsman made” (and I do not mean Sears although Sears did sell foot powered lathes, band saws, saws, etc.) machines thrown in. One can probably think of other things like boring machines that could also fit into this category but we have to draw the line somewhere. We will also focus primarily on American manufacturers at least initially.

 With that said, let’s start at the beginning, How It All Began.