There is a new Samco 60 ton 60” full beam press at MMS

Remember last week when we told you that there was a new press at MMS and we would give you photos and videos this week?

First, we have to tell you why having this press is so great.


A donor – Kapco Metal Stamping, cut a bunch of visors for us for the face shields we are making and donating. A BUNCH. You know this is kind of a pain in the neck for a company – they have to set up their machines and they have to send their people to work on the project and it’s not something that makes money for them. It’s just a really nice, generous, wonderful thing for them to do. But we cannot ask them to do it forever.

We had to find a longer-term solution.


We needed our own die. Apple Die made it for us. It’s pretty! It’s so simple and elegant.

Here’s some detail – this is where it punches the holes where the visor attaches to the frame.

But you can’t just use your hands to mash a piece of plastic on top of a die to make a visor unless you want a lot of blood on the visor, which you do not because then you can’t see out of the visor, which defeats the whole purpose.

Temporary press

So Markus rigged up a small press thingy. But, as you can probably tell, it’s kind of a pain in the neck to operate.

New press

So Markus bought a real press.

He bought a press at auction.

And paid only ELEVEN DOLLARS FOR IT because – well, this is Wisconsin and here, we do not waste.

And now we have power – more power – to stamp out visors and there will not be blood. We can stamp our own visors and make more face shields and donate more face shields and help save more lives and who can argue with that mission?


The mystery

You may stop reading here if you want. You have the basics of the story. We needed a way to make visors at the shop and now we have it.

But there is more to this story. And it’s a bit of a mystery.

How did this press end up in Milwaukee?

It started in England over 50 years ago.

We know this because Markus is an awesome detective. He found documents stuck inside the cabinet.

The British United Shoe Machinery Company Limited

Who is The British United Shoe Machinery Company Limited (BUSM)?

Who is Samco?

Did Samco sell a machine to BUSM?

Here’s what wikipedia, citing what appear to be reliable sources, says about BUSM:

British United Shoe Machinery (BUSM) Ltd. was the head office in Leicester, England of a company which for most of the 20th century was the world’s largest manufacturer of footwear machinery and materials, exporting shoe machinery to more than 50 countries.[1] In the 1960s and 1970s, it was Leicester’s biggest employer employing more than 4,500 locally and 9500 worldwide.[1] Most of the workforce was recruited via an apprentice scheme which trained a large proportion of Leicester’s engineers.[1][2] The company had “a respected reputation for technical innovation and excellence”,[1] between 1898 and 1960, it developed and marketed nearly 800 new and improved shoe machines and patented more than 9,000 inventions, at one time employing 5% of the UK’s patent agents.[3]

The collapse of the company in October 2000 destroyed the pensions of the workers. Their story became “one of the most vivid examples of what can go wrong with..Private Equity”[4] and brought “shame on Apax.”[5] The company subsequently went into administrative receivership and was the subject of a management buyout. This new company itself went into administration in September 2006. In November 2006 a new independent company, Advent Technologies Ltd, was formed by former workers of BUSM providing technical support, advice and spare parts for the range of BUSM machinery.

I can’t find a website for Samco-Strong, but there are other websites that refer to the company and describe them:

Samco Strong Ltd is supplier of Cutting Presses and other types of machinery to all the Leather Industries, they also operate a fast and reliable Press Knife service.Located in UK.

Samco press cutting systems are cutting time and costs across a wide variety of industries including: gaskets, automotive trim, plastics, foam, rubber, packaging, woodworking and furniture, garment manufacture and textile cutting, carpets and floor covering.

They have the following cutting press: Swing Beam cutting machine, Beam Press,Traveling Head press etc.

“Indeed, virtually every fabric or material die cut process can be – and generally is being – carried out on Samco presses.”

So maybe Samco sold a press to BUSM.

James Brighouse, Ltd

Who is James Brighouse, Ltd? The only thing I can find online about them is a story in the May 8 1964 London Gazette about factories exempt from the “Employment of Women and Young Persons” section of the Factories Act 1961.

Did the press go to Scotland first? To a manufacturer of bobbins and discs? And trawl nets?

That seems to fall along the lines of “Bait, beer, and prom dresses,” but perhaps there are manufacturing overlaps I am not seeing.

Or maybe that envelope on top held parts that the original press owners ordered?

More Samco – the mystery continues

And then there’s this label. It appears to be a shipping label from Samco in Leicester, which is also where BUSM was headquartered, to Boston. Which must be Boston USA, not Boston House, Abbey Park Road, Leicester, which is very confusing.

I don’t know this because I am psychic but because we also have this clue:

We have a packing slip from 1966 with the destination of “Boston,” not “Boston House.” And we know that somehow, this machine ended up in the US. (Deduction.)

We know we got it at auction. And that it appears to have been owned by a plastics company before. But what were they making? And where were  they? In Boston? Or has the machine had other owners since it was shipped to Massachusetts in 1966?

Unless Markus finds more papers stuck somewhere, we are left here: a machine that was built in England before 1966. And it still works.