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Barnes Foot Power Former

Gift: Mr. and Mrs. A.W. deRoos (L71.11.3)
Image from a late 19th century W.F. & John Barnes Catalog

Before electric power tools there were human powered tools. This late 19th century wood working tool uses foot operated using pedals. They would have been an improvement over hand tools and used by carpenters working in and around Pennsylvania’s Lumber towns.

This bicycle like Wood Former/ Shaper was made by the W.F. & John Barnes Company  and was used for molding edges and scroll work. This particular machine was given to William Chastain while he was a carpenter’s apprentice to his Uncle, Theodore Grabe, in Coudersport in the 1890’s. Mr. Chastain was born in Roulette, PA in 1875. In addition to working as a carpenter’s apprentice, he worked in local logging camps, often as a teamster, using his father’s horses. He moved with his family to Rochester, NY in 1909, where he spent the next 50 years working as a carpenter.