I have written a great deal about the Smiths floor spring on this blog and today I will write a little more.
In the English Mechanic and World of Science - Volume 3 - Page 556 from 1866 you will find the advertisement below.
By 1869 we can see in Atchleys Price Book. page 27 none are warranted unless having Smiths name stamped into the decor plate along with the caution against purchasing spurious and inferior "copies."
Seven years later in Spon's Engineers and Contractor's Illustrated Book of Prices of Machines, Tools, Ironwork and Contractors Material for 1876 you will find the this advertisement where as you can see upwards of 40'000 floor springs were in use and you are able to see an accurate rendering of the Trade Mark and address.
Considering the Smiths door spring was still being manufactured in the 1950's and possibly later (you may well have one controlling the door or doors, in your home, your place of worship, your place of study or your place of work) like the one on the right in the first picture below. However if you have one with Smiths name and address stamped in the brass cover plate as on the left, you have a bona fide, guaranteed door spring of some considerable age and character.
In my humble opinion you have a piece of history beneath your feet, something more than a mechanism to control a door, the longevity of which it does so is astounding (as highlighted in previous posts), is of historical importance, should be a source of National pride (along with others) and we should therefore be doing the utmost to restore, protect and ensure its continued use not only as a method of door control but for future generations to wonder over.
If you agree, disagree, like this post or simply want to acknowledge you have a Smiths or any other floor spring for that matter please feel free to comment.
I have mentioned the Robinson System previously but in this blog post I would like to further expand on this model floor spring. Samuel Robinson first invented his swing door hinge in 1863 (Patent number 1689, 7th July 1863) later selling the Patent rights to Messrs. Hart and Co as can be seen in the advertisement above from 1865 and as can be confirmed in the Irish Builder and Engineer, Volume 28, Page 19 (Published in 1886) .
Around 1866/1867 the company merged with Peard and Jackson becoming Hart, Son, Peard & Co, therefore it is reasonable to assume any Robinson floor springs manufactured after this time would have Peard's name incorporated into the advertising.
With the above information and the advertisement on the decor plate we are therefore able to work out that Steve and Sheila's Robinson floor spring must have been manufactured (and presumably installed) around 1865, certainly no later than 1867. Consequently this faithful device must have been controlling these doors for approximately one hundred and fifty three years and we now expect them to be doing the same for another hundred and fifty plus years.
The paper slip that can just about be glimpsed in the bottom of the shoe advises to use finest quality sperm oil as a lubricant.
Following in the foot steps of Sir Winston Churchill, we were called out to repair this non checking Invincible at one of his early haunts. The estates department were told by the carpet fitters. I believe, that they would not get anyone to repair/service this floor spring, safe to say they were wrong! Not only were we able to get it back to working like new we were also able to get around the nearly 1/2 inch difference in the floor heights after the carpet fitters had laid new flooring.
Someone previously had tried to get around the problem of the differing floor heights by placing large washers over the pin with a view to lifting the shoe/door, so I presume it would close. Neither was it closing when we arrived nor was it centering because of these washers. As I have previously stated this method makes the shoe/door loose on the tapered pin and will over time damage the female fitting in the brass shoe.
Please, please carpet fitters/floor layers do not place washers over the pin, contact us instead.
As always feel free to comment.
One of the things I love about my job is the sense of accomplishment I get from helping others as was the case with the Zephyr.
I was contacted by Madelaine with a problem she was having with removing her swing door so her builder could lay a new floor. I am happy to show I was able to help.
As can be seen lateral fine tuning is handled by way of this adjustable strap, being a cheaper option than the adjustable full brass shoe or "adjustabox."
The brass decor plate appears to have cleaned up nicely.
The "Zephyr" was introduced in 1953 by WILLIAM NEWMAN AND SONS Ltd and is in this instance is a hold open type, Madelaine's "Zephyr" however was manufactured in 1966 I believe from seeing this stamped into the top plate.
The floor spring appears to be approximately two thirds of the width of the 400 that I have shown you on many occasions.
It is in someways similar to Joseph Bardsleys floor spring in so much as it has a central piston encased by a single spring.
As usual please feel free to comment and I hope you have enjoyed this post.
I recently worked on these fine single action Gibbons at the Royal Geographical Society, London.
Can anyone tell me why the opposite floor springs have their access holes in differing places as can be seen in pictures 1 and 2?
As I have discussed the AVON at length on the blog previously I will simply say thank you to Tracey B for sending me this picture of one she found at the Lone Star Mexican Restaurant in Buxton Derbyshire.
Please feel free readers to send me any other pictures of floor spring you may happen to come across, I hope to catalogue as many as I am able with a view to writing a book in the future on the subject of door closing devices, their inventors, manufacturers and distributors.
All comments and pictures are greatly looked forward to.
As there is so little information out there with regard to door closers, especially vintage and antique model floor springs, I thought I would start this blog.