A CAM Operated Davenport in a CNC World

Last month I wrote an article about the death of Automatic Machining, in which I ended the piece with a reference to the magazine being a CAM operated Davenport in a CNC world.
Bob Brinkman, owner of Davenport, took umbrage at my comment. I am taking a moment to answer him.

I love you and I love your product. My father made a lot of money running Davenports in World War II with the assistance of your father, Earl.
But sadly, today, the world of machining tends to look at your and my beloved Davenport automatic as a noisy representative of a bygone era. Right or wrong, the market for used Davenports, the world I live in, is in shambles. My brother Jim, my partner in our used machinery firm, Graff-Pinkert, attended an auction last week in Rhode Island and saw nice, operable, used Davenports with attachments sell for $250 each—and he passed on them. We recently traded our stock of 21 used Davenports for Maglites because we could not find a cash buyer. I know that your machines are still wonderfully productive pieces of equipment, but the market today is telling us bluntly that they are no longer valued by many buyers.

As always, I wish you all the best.



Letter from Bob Brinkman

August 11, 2009

Dear Lloyd,

To quote President Ronald Reagan, “There you go again.”

In your article on the demise of Automatic Machining you imply that Davenport is going the way of Automatic Machining.  “A cam operated magazine (machine) in a CNC world.  The comparison could not be farther from the truth.

In spite of my repeated advice, Wayne Wood could not quite understand that he had to get engaged in the business, develop new perspectives and improve his product.

In comparison, we at Davenport have constantly improved the machine, the parts and our customer service to the point that we are now considered the only alternative for spare parts.  Lower prices, highest quality, and extensive inventory continue to provide our customers with a superior customer experience.  Not only that, our machines continue to produce millions of parts a day because the Davenport is the most economical, efficient and cost effective way to produce these parts.

Sure, CNC has its place and is very effective for many applications.  But the thousands of Davenports running out there prove that the machine is still viable and will continue to be.  Our HP servo driven machines can do many of the things a CNC machine can do at a fraction of the cost.

We intend to continue to support our customers with the best in parts, service, and support.  When I took over in 2003 our motto became, “Davenport, Another 100 Years”.  As the only remaining American made screw machine builder we would appreciate your support instead of your repeated derision.

R. J. Brinkman


Davenport Machine

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0 thoughts on “A CAM Operated Davenport in a CNC World

  1. Jerry Roraback

    Davenports and the family of these type machines are a thing of the past. The ones we see at auctions are headed to the bone yard. If there are some now being used, it is only because the manufacturer is way behind the times or can’t get his business on the “p” side of his ledger to purchase better equipment. It is a shame but they are now considered dinosaurs of the machining world.

  2. Chuck Fluharty

    Dear Lloyd,
    You may recall me telling you around five years ago at the PMPA show that you could give me a screw machine and I wouldn’t make room in the shop for it. That comment has stood the test of time. I understood your comments and can appreciate Mr. Brinkman’s comments as well. You are both right. The issue is that the US market has moved on and our government’s policies force manufacturers to go overseas for high volume parts. For example, we reviewed a government project in 2007 for green ammo that was perfect for screw machines – high volume and low cost. It could only be done on CNC Swiss equipment due to the .0004″ tolerances. Your magazine is the absolute best. In fact, I’ll check into the Davenport HP servo driven products after reading your article. I trust that you and Mr. Brinkman won’t let the facts of two, exchanged and factually correct letters separate two families with a great legacy in our industry. Best personal regards, Chuck Fluharty, APEX CNC Swiss, Inc.