R.L. Carter Router

It is remarkably similar to todayís.

SHOP OWNER: Bill Hylton
LOCATION: New Tripoli, PA

    R. L. Carter invented the router around the time of World War I. He set up a manufacturing business in Syracuse, New York, then moved it to New Britain, Connecticut. According to Sandorís book,Power Tools: An Electrifying Celebration and Grounded Guide, Carter sold the business to Stanley in 1929, which later sold it to Bosch. If you accept that 1929 date, this router is pre-1929, since it sports an R. L. Carter Company nameplate.
    It is remarkably similar to todayís routers. That big, easy-to-grip knob on the front loosens the base so you can adjust the cutting depth. The ring on the threaded motor can functions just like the one on the new DeWalt 618. Spin it up or down the threads to make micro-adjustments. (Did they call Ďem micro-adjustments in the 1920s?) Also, note the mounting holes for an edge guide.
R.L. Carter Router

    On the right, just above the handle, you can see a shiny bulge with a black power cord. Thatís the switch! Itís a substantial toggle, which while grasping the handle, you can easily flick with one finger. In addition, it has shades of todayís D-handle routers, a pigtail from the motor plugs into a receptacle on that switch. R.L. Carter Router

    On the very top is a grease cap (have to keep the bearings greased). Thereís also one on the bottom end. Those handles are Brazilian rosewood, and thereís a third one - a tote, really - on the back. The base is also fitted with a template guide.
R.L. Carter Router

    If it looks big, be assured it is. The base is 11 inches in diameter. With the bit bottomed, itís between 15 and 16 inches tall. If I can believe my bathroom scale, it weighs between 35 and 40 pounds.
    In case you're wondering, yes, it runs. I just made a test cut with it. Thereís no startup jerk, which really isnít surprising, considering the mass and the probable power output of a 1920ís electric motor. After killing the power, sounding like a jet engine, it winds down for close to 20 seconds.
    Andy Bukowski, who bought it at a flea market or a yard sale or something, owns the router.

. . . Bill Hylton



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