Hildreth Power Axe


Another item of interest is the Hildreth Power axe shown to the left.  The Hildreth-Brothers established their business in Harvard, Massachusetts in 1880.  They manufactured saw tables, and the wood splitter shown in the photograph.  This massive machine weighs over a 1000 lbs and has a height of about 9 feet.  The flywheel is about 5 feet in diameter, the base being about 4 feet square.  It is belt driven and looks like it will easily topple over.  Actually, it is very stable.  Two large knife edges, 1800 out of phase, move vertically as the flywheel rotates.  Wood is put on the height adjustable tables and the blades move up and down.  An operator on each side puts wood on the tables and remove the pieces after they are split by the wedges.  All in all, it is quite an operation to behold.  Apparently the Hildreth brothers did not sell a lot of these devices.