Millers Falls Numbers 1, 3 and 5 Eggbeater Drills, a Type Study
George Langford, Sc.D.
November, 2002; Updated October 13, 2007
return to georgesbasement
Three of the models in this type study share a common origin in the No.1/No.3 frame design included in the first Millers Falls catalog to which I have access.  As shown dramatically and thoroughly by Randy Roeder in A Millers Falls Page, there were many later models added to the Millers Falls broad line of eggbeater drills (more properly termed, "bevel-geared hand drills," by the late Chuck Zitur in his former webpage, wisely archived by the WayBack Machine) some of which were framed with malleable cast iron and others of which had wrought steel frames, but these first three formed the core of the line side-by-side with the brilliant No.2 model which is treated in my earlier type study.  The No.4 drill, variously known as a jeweler's hand drill and a vocational school drill according to its chuck (collet or 3-jaw, respectively) never outgrew its humble beginnings.

a bench full of early Millers Falls eggbeater drills
Millers Falls made many varieties of bevel-geared drills based on the No.1, which was their earliest known design.  The series described on this page include the No.1, No.3 (my designation) and No.5.  Also shown jumbled in the background are a number of clones and spinoff designs.  At the far right is a lonely No.2 w. LRRCW whose type study is treated separately.  It's a great user.

drills made before my first catalog
Here are two drills in my collection that may predate the No.1 that is in my earliest Millers Falls catalog.  The upper drill below is a Whitney's Patent;the drill below it is unmarked, manufacturer unknown.  I now am certain that the lower drill was indeed manufactured, because I have five of them - all nearly identical.

early No.1 and No.3 eggbeater drills
The early Millers Falls catalogs eventually provided a basis for attributing the designs of these drills. At left is the earliest documented type of the No.1 drill, readily identified by the circumferential lines incised into the main handle and its screw cap.  Fifth from left is the first major variant in the design of the No.1, a longer hollow main handle, needed to accommodate the new, spiral-fluted twist drills.  The earliest eggbeater drills were used with first, diamond-pointed bits with a common shaft diameter that fit a collet chuck, and later, straight-fluted bits, the earliest of which also required a collet chuck.  Later straight-fluted bits were made with shanks the same size as the drilling diameter, necessitating chucks with wider ranges than collets provided.  The Jacobs chuck appeared abruptly in 1902 in its fully developed form and found its way (as a demonstration piece ?) onto the fourth drill from the left.  Actually, the geared chuck was invented by others; Jacobs merely figured out how to obtain a near-perfect fit between the two halves of the driven gear by fracturing the gear before tempering it.  The fracture surfaces fit together only one way, so the two halves go back together inside the shell of the chuck without causing a "hitch" at the pairs of teeth that bridge the fracture plane. Note that the fifth drill from the left has a longer crank, also necessitated by the new twist drill bits and by the larger capacity chuck (missing in this example). These early No.1 drills came with the two-jaw, springless chuck patented on August 14, 1877.

main sequence of No.1 eggbeater drills
With the introduction of the three-jaw, springless chuck (patented September 20, 1896) Millers Falls redesigned the No.1 drill as shown in the series below.  The Star pattern, protected-spring chuck was patented on October 23, 1900, but it would appear that this new pattern was not applied to the No.1 drills until well after the 1896 patent had run its course; the last two drills on the right below bear this long-bodied chuck.  Only some of the shorter bodied chucks below have the patent information stamped on the chuck shell.  After the patent had expired, there was no longer any need.  With the expiration of the 1896 patent, Millers Falls started stamping the cranks of these drills with the company name and logo.  Before that, the drills were marked only on the chucks.

No.3 eggbeater drills
In the earliest Millers Falls catalogs, the No.1 drill could be purchased with either a single drive pinion or with two pinions, one acting to help keep the main gears in mesh.  I have termed the two-pinion No.1's the earliest No.3's in this type study.  These early No.3 drills also underwent a change in handle and crank length with the advent of the twist drill bit as shown below.  I do not know of a physical example of the earliest, circumferentially scribed handle on a No.3 model drill, except that I do have a reprint of an early Jackson & Tyler catalog dated 1880 that shows a drill in exactly that configuration.
My collection of No.4 drills
Early on, Millers Falls made a line of eggbeater drills for limited applications, namely, (1) Hobbyists who were part of the scroll saw craze making puzzles and fretwork; and (2) Manual training students in public schools who presumably couldn't be trusted with bigger and more powerful drills like the No.'s 1, 2, 3 & 5.  These drills never graduated beyond cast-to-shape main gear teeth and chucks intended for small bits only, having capacities no larger than about 1/16th inch.

No.5 Types 4, 6 & 10 eggbeater drills
Here are three examples of the early No.5 model, with the earliest known Type 4 No.5 at left, below.  This drill was found at the New Egypt flea market in New Jersey; it wasn't recognized until its image was found in an undated Montgomery & Company hardware catalog, printed about 1900, mixed in amongst some Goodell-Pratt models. The two drills at right (Type 10 at far right, Type 6 in the center) were the first two dedicated No.5 types that had their own frame design.

Eventually the No.5 model replaced the cast iron frame No.3 model, which was transformed into a wrought-steel-frame design that is not covered in this type study but is shown in a page linked on the last line of the table below. 
No.1 - The earliest No.1 had no support for the main gear, other than the good fit between the gear wheel and the shaft upon which it rotated.  Except for the new models which sprang from the No.1's plain design, the only significant change in the design of the No.1 was the addition of a screw-adjusting wiper at the rear of the main gear that bears on a flat shoulder made integral with the gear.  This was done at about the same time as the No.2 Millers Falls eggbeater drill (the subject of another type study on this website) sprouted a small, flanged roller that bears on the outside rim of the main gear.  The No.2's "Little Rail Road Car Wheel" (as I have termed it) provides a means of obtaining nearly exact coincidence between the pitch lines of the main gear and pinion.  On the other hand, the No.1's behind-the-main-gear wiper allows the gears' mesh to be adjusted "close enough" in engineering terms.  The No.'s 105, 85 and 77 are included with the No.1 because they share most of the later features of the No.1.
No.2- This model has a unique technological development of its own.  Many improvements (at first) were followed by many changes to reduce cost.  The drills may even be still manufactured for the US military in order to maintain an onshore capability.  The No.2 Type Study is treated separately in this domain.
No.3- At first, extra support for heavy drilling was added to the No.1 by simply extending the main spindle towards the handle and using it to hold a conical roller.  Later, the roller was replaced by a second pinion.  This may have seemed clever at the time, but the positive effects of the extra support for the main gear were negated by the extra friction caused by the opposing rotations of the roller/second pinion and spindle shaft.  This two-pinion No.1 eventually became the No.3 and then the No.5 with a proper mounting for the second pinion, so I have split the No.3 from the No.1 sooner than did Millers Falls.  The No.3 was eventually given a wrought steel bar main frame, which removed the No.3 from this type study, leaving but two types with malleable iron frames in the 1-3-5 series.
No.4- This model was never intended for serious use, and so only a few versions have been found.  I have shoehorned them into the present study so they won't be lost.
No.5 - Quite early on, someone had the bright idea of making the No.1/No.3 more versatile by widening the rim of the main gear so that it could be grasped with the thumb and forefinger for delicate drilling tasks.  The new main gear was added to the No.1's frame, and the gear ratio was changed at the same time.  Later, a stronger frame was substituted, making the No.3 into the No.5 and heavier as well.  I would term the No.5 a machinist's drill and the No.'s 1 & 3, woodworker's drills.
What's new," you might ask, "that justifies the transition from one stated type to the next ?"  Rather than force you to wade through endless mug shots and overly detailed tables summarizing the features of all the proposed types of the No.'s 1, 3 and 5 eggbeater drills and their offshoots, the 105, 85 and 77, here's a narrative explanation of the transitions.  Click on the image numbers to see the actual drills; then use your browser's "BACK" button to return here.  The "Return to Main Page" link on the subsidiary pages of this study should bring you back to the group of drills on this page where you started.

The type numbers in this study were selected according to the common features between the different models, so models with the same type number share many characteristics in spite of the differences in the numbers of teeth in their gears, in the method of gear support, and in the design of the main gear.

Whenever you have a question about the various types of parts, click on one of the following links:
1. Chucks  2. Frames - Early - Late  3. Handles - Main - Side - Crank  4. Crank markings

Millers Falls
drill model

Descriptions of the new features
No.1 0 595, 605 Starting point, with a single pinion and a gear ratio of 52/12; collet chuck.  No Millers Falls markings anywhere.  Main gear has plain, flat exterior.  Nice magazine handle; cap has too strong of a helical spring.  Since these two were found, three more have surfaced; clearly, these are manufactured items.
Like the No.1, Type 0 drills listed above, this one has an unknown maker.  However, its 44/14 gear ratio matches that of the other No.4 drills in this short series.  This example's chuck may not be complete ... or it was intended for use with bits of a special shape.  The main gear has a flat casting with unmachined teeth like the No.1, Type 000 below.
No.1  00
ChuckZ Here's the original of the drill that Art DeKalb found below.  Before his untimely death in November, 2005, Chuck Zitur noticed a similarity of outline between his drill and a patent granted to Jonathan Hammond on October 11, 1875.  I am indebted to Chuck's memory for permission to display these images in competition with his former fine webpage,, now archived by the Wayback Machine.
No.1  00 ArtDeK Immediate precursor to the Type 1, using an unmarked two-jaw chuck later patented as for Type 1 below.  Unique frame.  Images & permission to publish by Art DeKalb; edited for this format.  Randy Roeder has reproduced an illustration of this drill, found in Scientific American, June 23, 1877.
The very first No.1 clearly made by Millers Falls, this one had an impractical flat main gear casting which would have been troublesome in the foundry and during machining of its teeth, if the teeth had been machined.  Later main gear castings have a conical or dished shape that makes them much stronger & stiffer.  Gear ratio 68/17; the tooth count was later reduced, albeit at the same integral 4:1 ratio, not good from the point of view of wear.  The main handle is solid & unlined.
This is the first No.4 shown explicitly in the Millers falls catalogs.  It was intended for the many hobbyists who were doing fretwork with those little treadle-operated cast iron scroll saws, as piercing of the thin wood required drilled holes through which to thread the saws' tiny blades.  Gear ratio 44/14.
No.1 1 601, 562,
567, 577
Lined rosewood handle with lined lignum screwcap, two-jaw chuck patented on August 14, 1877. Gear ratio now 56/14.  Millers Falls, Mass. marked on the chuck. 
T. Ralph Stump found & photographed this smooth-roller No.3 drill; edited to fit this format. This example has a solid, unlined handle like that of the Type 000 above.  Thanks, Ralph, for permission to present your pictures of this rare drill.
No.3 1A RandyR
First No.3 model, with a smooth idler added to the handle the side thrust of the main gear.  This is one of five such drills of which I am aware.  Later supplanted by the toothed idler, of course.  Lined rosewood handle & lignum cap.  Found & photographed by Randy Roeder; edited to fit the present format.  Thanks, Randy, for permission to publish here. 
Another example of the first No.3 model, with a smooth idler added to the handle the side thrust of the main gear.  Lined rosewood handle & lignum cap.  T. Ralph Stumpe found and photographed this fine example; images edited to fit this format.  Thanks, Ralph, for permission to publish.
By now it must be clear that these aren't user-made smooth idlers.  This one came to me by way of Sandy Moss, whose braces study is becoming legendary.  The short, lined rosewood handle with its lined lignum vitae cap, plain main gear, riveted side handle, and 56/14 gear ratio firmly fix this example among the first commercial models of the of small eggbeater drills Millers Falls marketed.
Now here comes a fifth example, this one showing substantial wear, which is even more evidence that these aren't user-made smooth idlers.  This one was in the collection of Mike Urness, who graciously allowed me to capture and edit the images in his eBay listing for the drill.
No.3 1B ScottG Second, 14-tooth pinion added to the Type 1A, No.3.  Gear ratio still 56/14.  Flat main gear rim.  Lined main handle & lignum cap.  Replacement jaws from pieces of file.  Images &permission to publish by Scott Grandstaff; edited to fit the present format.  It's now in my personal collection; thanks again, Scott !
No.1 2 605, 357
037, 587
Lining dropped from the handle and screwcap.  Gear ratio increased to 56/12.  Main gear now has a thin bead on the outer rim.
No.3 2 628, 361 Second pinion added; Millers Falls listed this as an option of the No.1 model.  Ratio: 56/12.
No.1 3 616 Probably a prototype made to show off the Jacobs chuck, patented in 1902.  Gear ratio 61/13.  Brass main gear and fancy steel crank handle.  Maker of the new parts unknown.
No.1 4 622 Longer main handle & a tapered crank arm added to deal with longer & larger drill bits.  Gear ratio back to 56/12.
No.3 4 638, 051 As for the No.1, now has a longer handle and tapered crank arm.  Gear ratio 56/12.
No.5 4
Gear rim widened and tapered crank let into gear rim; first No.5, designed for delicate drilling; not seen in catalogs; August 14, 1877, two-jaw, no-springs, chuck patent. Gear ratio: 56/12.
Wide main gear rim as for 533 above; gear ratio still  56/12.  New, three-jaw, reeded, spring-type chuck that conflicts with the Lanfair patent of August 13, 1895, used on the Goodell-Brothers and Goodell-Pratt drills.  Consequently, it was never patented.  Compare to the later reeded chuck of Type 4B with the September 29th, 1896, patent date.  This is a new chuck compared to Type 4. Images and permission to publish by Randy Roeder, author of  "A Millers Falls Page."
No.5 4B 659
Wide main gear rim as for 533 above; gear ratio still  56/12.  New design 3-jaw, springless chuck, marked with the patent date, September 29, 1896, with reeding; compare to later chucks with this patent having diamond knurling.  Millers Falls, Mass. marked on the chuck.  Note that this is a new chuck compared to Type 4A, even though it has the same shell outline.
No.5 4C 881 Wide main gear rim as for 533 above; gear ratio changed in this model to 54/12 and left that way through Type 14. New, three-jaw chuck, patented on September 29, 1896, added to all models.  This No.5 model is shown in my Montgomery &Co. catalog, ca. 1901.  Millers Falls, Mass. marked on the chuck.  Note the diamond knurling compared to Type 4B's chuck.
Now here we have a serious No.4, not just for hobbyists, but for ambitious trade-school students.  The two-jaw, "somewhat-protected-spring" chuck is well made (patented ?) but the gear ratio is still 44/14.  Also shown in Randy Roeder's catalog study.  Hard to fit into the types in this study because of the chuck design.  Maybe a patent will surface.
No.1 5 646, 549
New frame with screw-adjusted wiper on back of main gear.  Gear ratio changed to 56/13 and left that way through Type 15 for this model as well as for No.'s 105, 77 & 85.  Side handle added, with doorknob shape.  Second example has a long knob seen only in Montgomery & Co. catalogs.
Yet another new frame design as the screw-adjusted wiper model's development continued.  This example also uses the long side handle only seen in Montgomery & Co. catalogs.  Steve Richardson found this one near his home in Australia and helpfully sent me these images with permission to publish.  What's new is the beefier inboard spindle housing; Type 6's is even more robust.
No.1 6
653 New frame & fatter main handle.
No.5 6 055, 059 New, heavier frame for this double pinion (54/12) model.  Side handle added.
"No.5" stamped on machined portion of spindle housing. Shown with late no-springs, three-jaw chuck and with type 15 protected-springs chuck and either a new type of crank or a very old, well fitted user-made crank.
No.1 7A 659 "No.1" stamped on machined portion of spindle housing.
"No.5" stamped on machined oportion of spindle housing. Patent date & MF manufacturer's ID stamped on chuck only.  Ted Sodt found this drill and graciously allowed me to publish his images of the drill.
No.1 7B 670, 259 As for No.'s 1 & 3, Type 7A, but chuck no longer marked with patent date.
No.5 7B TRS
T. Ralph Stumpe found this drill and sent me the pictures. As for the No.1's directly above, but with the main gear painted red like Type 9 below. Thanks, Ralph, for permission to publish here.
No.5 7C TSodt02 "No.5" stamped on machined oportion of spindle housing. The patent date & MF manufacturer's ID are stamped, not on the out-of-patent-protection chuck, but instead on the straight-sided crank.  The triangular logo is the same as that on the Type 10 drills, below. Ted Sodt also found this drill and again graciously allowed me to publish his images of the drill.
No.1 8 665 Rough, unmachined spindle housing, but the patent date is still on the chuck.  Rounded flare on main handle.  This type is a mixture of various types, with an earlier chuck and a later main handle.
No.1 9 812, 077,
265, 365,
370, 375, 556
Star logo (Millers Falls, Mass) stamped on straight-sided crank; no patent information on chuck.  Five of these are among the first that have the main gear painted red; the rest, earlier ones, are all black.  This is the most common type of the No.1 drill.
No.5 9 904, 271 As for the No.1 model, Star logo on crank.  Ratio: Still 54/12.
No.01 9 070 Oddly, this drill has a hardwood main handle with the early shape.  O/W like Type 9.
No.1 10 676, 830 Triangular logo (still Millers Falls, Mass) on straight crank. 
No.5 10 892, 898 As for the No.1, Type 10, triangular logo, etc.  Ratio: Still 54/12.
No.105 11 820, 697 Early, protected-spring, three-jaw chuck w/o any patent information, but Star logo.
No.105 12 825 Triangular logo (Millers Falls, Mass) with the early protected-spring, three-jaw chuck, patented on October 23, 1900.
No.1 13 835, 099
Steel insert added where side handle attaches to frame; later, longer protected-spring chuck.
No.1 14 845, 276 Wiper omitted, but the frame is still ready for it. Smaller, rounded side handle.  Same main gear, but with machining of shoulder for wiper omitted.
No.77 14 316, 322 Solid main gear; one-pinion and two-pinion styles; the single-pinion style has a shorter crank than does the double-pinion one.  Frame different from the No.5 model. Plain, hardwood main handle and rounded crank knob.  Still uses the protected-spring, three jaw chuck.  Gear ratio 56/13 for all No.77's.
No.85 14A 282, 299

Wiper omitted and main gear unmachined as for the No.1, Type 14, but there is no provision for any side handle.  Plain, hardwood main handle with two examples having the older style, sharply flared nose and mushroom-shaped crank knob and the other one having a rounded crank knob and rounded flare on the main handle.  Thanks to Jim Schmitt, who noticed the groove between the inner spindle housing and the central boss for the main gear's shaft.  Jim's example (below) has the groove, but it also has an unmachined rim cast into the inside of the main gear, formerly intended as the bearing for the No.1's adjustable wiper.  That marks it as an earlier version of the No.85, compared to the Type 14B's, which have neither that groove nor the extra space on the inside of the main gear rim.   
JimS Jim Schmitt's example deserves a row of its own because his crank has unique markings.  It is marked "No.85" in two places, and the Millers Falls company name is stamped directly above the triangular logo rather than being centered on the crank's affixing screw.  The triangular logo is stamped between that screw and the inner end of the crank.  Thanks are due to jim also for permission to publish his images of the drill.
288, 293 The A and B versions of the No.85 drill are intermixed.  The 282 example of Type 14A has features of both types.  The two examples in this row have the opposite combination of features - no groove, but rimmed main gear.  The main handles are also of mixed type - rounded flare vs. sharp flare. Gear ratio 56/13 for all No.85's.
No.1 15 088, 380 Triangular logo changed to Greenfield, Mass.  Hardwood handles.  Narrower main gear with no shoulder (for the omitted wiper to bear against).
No.77 15 327, 332 The hardwood main handle has a new, distinctive "No.77" shape.  A couple of new generic, coiled-springs, three-jaw chuck shapes in the two examples seen here.
No.85 15 840, 304 Triangular logo, Millers Falls again.  No wiper and narrower main gear as for the No.1 Type 15 drill; no provision for any side handle.  Crank has rounded hardwood knob.
No.5 15 015, 010 Triangular logo, back to Greenfield, Mass from here onwards.  Chef's hat side handle.  Gear ratio now 61/14 for this and subsequent No.5's.  "GB" cast into main gear of this type only.  New frame with steel insert as for the Type 13 No.1.



Marked Craftsman 1071, but identified as made by Millers Falls by the protected-springs chuck. The 64/14 gear ratio and the designs of the main gear and frame castings place it after the acquisition of the Goodell-Pratt Company.  The front of the main handle is fatter than usual.
No.5 16 003, 094 Die cast pot metal frame with steel insert at the hub.
No.77 16 352, 347 New, diecast pot metal frame partially encloses the two pinions.  Strangely, I've seen other Type 77's labelled No.77A with this enclosed frame type.
No.77A 16 337, 342 New die cast pot metal frame similar to that of the No.5, Type 16 drill.  There are pegs cast into the back of the main gear of this type only that have no obvious function; they might be intended to intercept a locking pin placed where the wiper screw once was threaded through the frame of the No.1 model.  In other words, a recycled gear design.
No.5A 17 020 Plain logo (Greenfield, Mass). Thinly lacquered hardwood main handle and round crank knob.  Plastic side handle.  Main gear has numerous characters cast into the rim.  Coil-spring, generic three-jaw chuck.  Main gear heavily chrome plated; still painted red on one side.
No.105 Untyped 027 This would be a Type 9 but for the early Type 7 main handle shape.
No.3 Untyped 309 Here is the "new" No.3 type that now has a wrought steel frame and a fancy main handle design, but only one pinion.  About a Type 9, judging from the Star logo and chuck type.


The development of the No.1 series (which in this study also includes the No.'s 3, 4, 5, 105, 85, and 77) proceeded rapidly from Type 1 until about Type 9.  From there on, economic factors dictated a gradual reduction in the number of desirable features.  The rosewood and lignum parts went first, then the carefully generated bevel gears, and then the cast iron frame.  Oddly, the superior, protected-springs, three-jaw chuck appeared in this series in Type 11 after its patent ran out and after the peak in quality at Type 9, as though someone insisted on maintaining mechanical performance after tropical hardwood was abandoned for the wooden parts.  However, the tropical hardwoods do affect performance; many of the later hardwood knobs and handles are now split or frozen in place by the rust whose formation they failed to inhibit.  It will be seen here that the early, two-jaw chuck tended to lose (or to break) its jaws; the no-springs, three-jaw chuck was quite rugged; and the protected-springs chucks are virtually indestructible.  Few gears exhibit chipped or missing teeth; the one example of a user repaired gear was omitted from this type study because too many other parts on that drill were also fixed or replaced.  Oddly, virtually no drills in this series have lost their main handles; that was a weakness of the No.2 drills.  The difference may lie in the greater capacity of the No.2's chucks and their longer crank handles.  The cause of the loosening of cranks and knobs in all of these styles was season cracking of the brass ferrules (see 533); metallurgists did not discover how to keep brass parts from cracking upon exposure to urea and other nitrogen compounds until the World War.  The solution was to anneal them at low temperature so as to relieve the residual stresses and strains generated by shaping of the metal.