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What does “Old” mean anyway?

Machine sales, manufacturing technology, production increase, upgrade manufacturing process, used equipment

What does “Old” mean anyway when it comes to machinery?

During a conversation with someone yesterday, something was said to me that I have heard countless times. “That is a very old machine.” In fact, I have even employed this tactic myself when purchasing used vehicles or lawn equipment for instance. However, I take issue with this thinking when it comes to machinery, because old iron has the potential to earn money for its owner. So, when I hear someone say to me a 1940’s or 50’s machine is old and that should automatically render it of little value is a silly argument. I have learned from the used machine industry there are thousands of machines, older than I am that continue to survive and earn profits. The manufacturers are long gone like E.W. Bliss, Bullard, Bridgeport, and Waterbury Farrel to name a few. I can go on and on and you know the names as well.


Ask yourself, why do they survive? Simple, they were extremely well engineered and purposely built to last a long time. So much so this became the demise of several machine builders, but it also gave birth to new industries. Rebuilding these old machines to original specs and/or Retrofitting them with CNC controls is highly popular. Many times it is more cost effective than purchasing a new machine, costs less and will continue to serve their owners another 40, 50, 60 years.


I had another recent conversation with a person who is electing to rebuild a machine that was originally purchased by his father some 40 years ago. His logic, have it rebuilt to original and it will long out last him.


I’m not knocking new machines, they have their place. Just don’t overlook “Old Iron” with out doing your ROI homework. Please share your opinion.