ASME-Landmark:American Precision Museum


The American Precision Museum, founded in 1966, is housed in the original 1846 Robbins & Lawrence Armory (National Engineering Landmark #120). The firm Robbins and Lawrence, which fulfilled a contract for 25,000 U.S. Army rifles and a like quantity for the British government, was the first to achieve interchangeability of parts on a fully practical level. This was made possible by the systematic improvement and refinement of existing standard and special-purpose machine tools, enabling them to perform with the close-limit precision essential for repeatability and then interchangeability. The firm simultaneously introduced the milling machine and the turret lathe into routine commercial usage for production manufacturing.

The American Precision Museum holds the largest collection of historically significant machine tools in the nation and preserves the heritage of the mechanical arts, celebrates the ingenuity of our mechanical forebears, and explores the effects of their work on our everyday lives. The Museum's machine tool collection is one of the most extensive collections in the world. Included are single and multiple spindle lathes, shapers, planers, milling machines, single and multi-spindle drills and grinding machines. The highlight of the machine tool collection is the machines developed by Robbins and Lawrence to mass produce firearms with interchangeable parts. The remainder of the collection spans over two hundred years, representing the major advances in precision manufacturing from the earliest uses of the slide rest up to the introduction of CNC (computerized numerical controls) control, powered by foot, water and electricity. See ASME website for more information