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australian forge


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hi all thought you might like to see some australian forge gear, its all made by rapid sydney and was bought by the sellers granddad. the blower is a rapid b and is 10" across, it revs at 40 to 1,the blower can also be used with the fire pot using an additional pipe and the short cast pipe work pictured,with or without legs. the seller said the kit was bought 1 blower 2 forges (one forge being portable) and remembers turning the blower while his granddad forged. i was very very happy to get this gear, fire pots and forge blowers are hard to get hear in australia i have looked for a long time hope you enjoy the pics.post-12950-0-90499300-1299561169_thumb.j







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"fire pots and forge blowers are hard to get", so much so that the ABA mobs at Wauchope and Melbourne got some reproductions of that model 'pot made a while back.
Interesting how they are the same as the Centaur Vulcan/ Champion/ Buffalo firepots made in the USA.

Here is some more detail i'd come up with answering someone else's questions (recycling myself from another forum, Dec 2008);

"The 'Rapid Forge Company' rates a mention in the 'Sand's Sydney and NSW Directory' from the 1924 edition till the last edition- 1932-33. The address listed is Mary Ann street, Ultimo (Sydney), between Harris st & Omnibus lane. Also listed at this address for 1923- 32 was an engineer 'R. Cousens, engineer'; what connection did they have to the forge builders?
Ironically for me this workshop was one block from my TAFE smithy, where one of our teachers insisted the company name was pronounced 'rap-eed'. Unfortunately he never said why and passed away early 1999 before i thought to ask.
- note to self; soak up the wisdom of elders!

At the other end of the time scale Rapid forges appear in the 1966 Macpherson's, industrial supplies, catalogue, illustrating the 'No. 3' 30" x 24" rectangular model.

So there you go, dates 1923- 1970ish."

Last week there was a 'Rapid' advertising flyer on fleaBay (which chickened out bidding on). It has "Stead & Baker Engineering Pty Ltd" on the bottom, so that is another name to research; were they the makers or another retailer?

enjoy the blabfest!


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  • 1 year later...

Another bit of info for the Rapid blower file;
gear case contains two 88 tooth gears and two 14 tooth gears. One of mine is exactly the same as mat's- 'B' model with the vertically split case. I have another that has a 'cap' screwed on as the top half of the gear case and the bottom half is part of the main body. Makes a better oil bath, but i imagine would have been trickier to produce- requires a core to cast.

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  • 3 months later...

I've stumbled across this forum while looking for more information on Rapid, which is proving quite elusive, not surprising if they finished up business circa 1970, well before the internet! Thank you Andrew for those few tidbits of information.


For myself I have now collected a Rapid No 1, Rapid 'A' and a Rapid 'B', all three are of a similar size with only minor differences in design most significantly:

- Fully cast blower fins in the Rapid 'B' while the other two have a cast spindle with riveted sheet metal fins

- Two piece cast handle on the Rapid No 1, while the other two have a single piece cast handle (not including the wooden handpiece assembly)

- And as previously mentioned the Rapid No 1 has the gear box cast into the main body with a removable top cover, while for the other two the gearbox is split vertically


Neither the handles or the blowing fins are guaranteed features as they would be easily interchangeable between models and possibly even from different machines entirely, which given the age of these is not unthinkable. Does anyone have any ideas of the chronology of Rapid models and/or how many different models there have been?


While my Rapid No 1 came with the stand it was in pretty poor condition and missing the firepot entirely. I'd be very interested to see some more pictures of that cast firepot mat, especially the ash grate assembly.


I haven't got any pictures to share on hand, but might take some over Christmas when I have some time to pull them apart to show the internals as well as externals.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Took some photos and gathered some information for those that were interested.... Firstly the Rapid No.1:


My first rapid, this was in poor condition and seized when acquired, but with some TLC has come up a real treat and now runs smoothly (just need to replace the wooden part of the handle now).


-> Gear Ratios 88-14 then 88-12 giving a total gear up of 46.1:1

-> The adjustment screws (setting horizontal alignment of the shafts) had flat ends (check attached photo) I can't tell if this was by design or just wear over a long life, but there is no evidence on the screws or the shafts that they'd ever been different

-> Gears sit in an oil bath, much better design for oil retention, but greatly increases the difficulty in removing and replacing the gears, fortunately with care once they are in working order they should never require removal. Note however excessive oil greatly increases the drag when turning the blower and tends to leak through the bottom shaft holes. 

-> Fan has a brass hub with steel fins, the fins were slightly curved, but again can't tell if that was as per design or an after market modification.











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Next the Rapid A:


Second Rapid I've acquired, didn't seem in bad condition, but the quality of the casting was much worse then the Rapid No.1, lots of air bubbles and just general rough finish, perhaps that particular unit was manufactured late on a Friday afternoon or early Monday morning and the quality suffered or an indication that it was a much earlier piece when they were less experienced. Case and gears were configured the same as the Rapid No.1, appears I forgot to take a picture of it all assembled.


-> Gear ratios are the same as Rapid No.1 88-14, 88-12

-> Shafts and adjustment screws had round "ball bearing" ends, the point contact is sure to have helped with resistance.

-> The fan was again brass hub with steel fins, however the fins were straight

-> Handle was a single piece casting like the Rapid B




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And finally the Rapid B:


My most recent project, painted in Hammercoat Red for something different (though I'd call it more light red, not the colour the brochure promised)


-> Gear ratio remained the same 88-14, 88-12

-> However the different oil case configuration meant there was only one (instead of two) adjustment screws, the adjustment screw was brass with a flat end.

-> The oil case fits more tightly around the gears, but requires a gasket to seal properly. I cut one from rubberised cork, but the sheet I had was too thin, probably requires 1.5+mm thick to get a decent seal.

-> The fan in this unit was fully cast, I am suspicious that it might not be an original considering how different it is to the other two blowers.

-> It had the same single piece cast handle as the Rapid A, unfortunately looks like I forgot to take a picture of that too...









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  • 3 months later...

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