Edwin R. Fellows

Machine Tool Builder

Machine Tool Hall of Fame

Edwin R. Fellows (1865-1945)

One of the original classic original machine designs is the Fellows gear shaper. Several machines of the molding-generating type had been developing a rack tooth as a cutter. Fellows used a complete gear as a cutter, solving all the problems that had made such cutters impractical before. This was a gear that was cut oversize, hardened, and then ground accurately to shape with back and side clearance and top rake. The key to the process lay in the grinding machine Fellows designed to produce these cutters, a machine that foreshadowed production gear grinding machines.

Previously a window dresser, untrained in engineering, Fellows started with Jones & Lamson in 1889 and became a draftsman working on designs for the Hartness flat turret lathe. But Fellows became interested in gearing and was soon working nights on gear-cutting ideas. Within a few years, he had worked out the idea for the gear shaper, overcome the derision that the experts heaped on his idea, and in 1896 formed the Fellows Gear Shaper Co. He delivered the first machine the following year and in 1899 received the Franklin Institute’s John Scott medal for the design.

Elected 1990