Originally Posted by Nicola
If the same ideas had been used for space probes they would never have left the ground.
1) Every machine left has been fixed over and over again. To the point some are more like George Washington's axe then the machine that was first built.
2) All the crappy old machines died . Yes they used to make crap.
3) The main reason many of these old machines are still around is nobody has the money to replace them.
I'm all in favour of old tools but there were plenty of people building crap in the old days. There are people building good stuff today.
I agree that the designs may have improved in many areas. Also this may be a case of the test of time erasing all the cheap stuff.
All machines require maintenance but alot of the old stuff was just built with the philosophy that too strong doesn't break. Yes tolerances may have decrease (tighter) for alot of the factory mass produced items but certainly not universally. Also there are some drastic improvements in metallurgy but alot of this never seems to find itself in most newly produced items.
TBH there are still some great machines being made. There is this company called General (don't confuse with the international line) that still makes wood working machinery to old specs. These machines will outperform and outlive anything in comparison. These are heavy beasts deigned for continuous production. They are not light and not made of sheet metal stampings. The parts are very tight and properly hardenned.
The best example is with hand guns. There simply is no current production hand gun that is built as tight and with as much finesse as a Parrabellum (luger). The parabellum will continue (if protected from corrosion) when the Glock has died a thousand deaths. Now of course it is a nightmare to build properly and complicated.
Also everywhere now you see plastics replace metal components. Why? because plastics can be cast very cheaply and NO, virtually all plastics have inferior strength to wieght ratioscompared to metals. If manufactures were seriously concerned with corrosion (reason often used to justify plastics) then there are a vast array of corrosion resistent alloys.
Sorry I have just used enough machines to know that longevity no longer matters and production cost is #1 one.