Okay, so this is not construction equipment. But machine tools are tools and a machine shop is a shop—and who doesn’t like to see what’s inside someone else’s shop?

The video below was shot on the grounds of the White River Valley Antique Association, a sort of open air museum in Elnora, Indiana. Belt-driven machinery was the norm until well into the 20th century. The first overhead line shafts would have been powered by waterwheels. Later came steam engines and after that huge electric motors that could power every machine in the shop. Now we put motors on every machine but in those days motors were too bulky and expensive to do that.

I’ve worked in a couple of shops where some of the machinery was originally powered from overhead line shafts. By the time I got to use the equipment it had been converted to modern v-belts run to individual motors bolted to the floor.

This is quite possibly the largest lathe you will ever see—unless you search for “giant lathe” on YouTube, in which case you will find several that are bigger. I chose this video because it provides a decent look at how the operator controls the cutting tool. I have no idea what he’s machining; whatever it is it’s plenty big.

The video below was produced by public affairs department of the U.S. Army and features a mobile machine shop at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. It’s used to produce critical aviation parts that are out of stock or that would take too long to get if they had to be sent from the U.S.