16.07-10: Critchley 1939 Bearing Reamers

HHCC Accession No. 2006.218HHCC Classification Code: 16.07-10

Set of 6 blade, bearing reamers in sizes from 7/16 to 1 1/8 inches, used in HVACR equipment repair shop for the fitting of FHP electric motor bearings, in the 1930’s through 1960’s. Set of 9 enclosed in original heavy oak, clear varnished, custom case with manufacturer’s label, insignia and specifications in gold and black, Circa 1939


16.07 Electric Motors - Installation, Test and Repair




Chadwick and Trefethen, Portsmouth N.H.


Genuine Critchley-Six

Serial No.:



19 x 7 x 3.5 inches h.


12 lbs.




Exhibit, education, and research quality, illustrating mid 20th century bearing reamers for fitting brass journal bearings.

Patent Date/Number:

From York County (York Region) Ontario, once rich agricultural hinterlands, attracting early settlement in the last years of the 18th century. Located on the north slopes of the Oak Ridges Moraine, within 20 miles of Toronto, the County would also attract early ex-urban development, to become a wealthy market place for the emerging household and consumer technologies of the early and mid 20th century.

This artifact was discovered in the 1950’s in the used stock of T. H. Oliver, Refrigeration and Electric Sales and Service, Aurora, Ontario, an early worker in the field of agricultural, industrial and consumer technology.

Type and Design:

Six blade, adjustable bearing reamers Sizes from 7/16 to 1 1/8 inches, Set of 9 enclosed in original heavy oak, clear varnished, custom case, With manufacturer’s label, insignia and specifications in gold and black.

Special Features:

Beautifully made, custom oak case with brass fitments

Performance Characteristics:
Control and Regulation:
Targeted Market Segment:
Consumer Acceptance:
Market Price:
Technological Significance:

Mid 20th century, journal bearing reamers tell many stories of their time: The arrival of bearing tools which would yield much greater precision in bearing fitting required for newly emerging equipment, operating at higher speeds and requiring close operating tolerances - especially electric motors, The critical role played by bearings in helping to ensure the operating performance and reliability of the FHP electric motor ‘ on which much household, commercial and industrial technology would come to depend starting in the 1920’s. The FHP induction motor, for the most part, would have only two moving parts, as it evolved through the 1930 to 60’s, its starting mechanism and its bearing structure. It was a period before advances in metallurgy and applications engineering made the long life sleeve bearing a reality [See Reference 1]. Both starting mechanisms and bearings were subject to rapid wear and often early failure. The engineering, maintenance and repair of both were critical to the performance and reliability of HVACR equipment in both household and commercial applications.

Industrial Significance:

The well equipped HVACR repair and rebuilding shop of the time would be one well equipped to replace, refit and re-machine electric motor bearings, employing hand fitting and reaming equipment [See also ID No, 341, 16.07-9, and 343, 16.07-11]

Socio-economic Significance:

The beautifully made, custom oak case with brass fitments was quite rightly designed to appeal to the pride in craftsmanship in the trades of the period. It was a period in which workers took pride in able to afford and maintain fine tools and equipment, as a sign of their craftsmanship.

Socio-cultural Significance:

G. Leslie Oliver, The T. H. Oliver HVACR Collection

HHCC Storage Location:
Bibliographic References:

‘Fractional Horsepower Electric Motors’, Cyril G. Veinott, McGraw-Hill, 1948. Chapter XVIII, P 415. Machinery and Supplies, The A. R. Williams Machinery Company, Limited, Toronto, Cat No 48, undated. P. 189


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