How long do you expect manufactured products to last?

Is “Almost 100 years and still going strong” enough?

I found this bench grinder in a trash pile about thirty years ago. Took it home, reassembled it, and it worked fine. Have used it ever since. It was probably built in 1926.

This brass plate is generally excellent information design; clear, readable, complete.
Over the last 30 years I’ve replaced the belt and added an idler wheel. Which is off a 1976 Dodge Coronet engine when the inoperative A/C was removed. The bracket it’s on… I don’t know what that was. Four-inch grinding wheels are hard to find nowadays, but fortunately I can just stack a couple angle grinder disks with a 3D printed core adapter. it also works great with wire wheel and buffing wheel.

Several things about that nameplate:

  1. This motor patented 22 December, 1925. It is number 520 of the production run of that design, so probably it was built that year, or in January of 1926.
  2. It runs just fine. I put a drop of oil in the motor bearings and arbor bearings a couple times a year.
  3. Notes that the motor is built for continuous operation.
  4. The motor is of a brushless design invented by Nikola Tesla. You probably have 20 of them in your house, of different sizes. Vacuum cleaner, furnace fan, garbage disposal, ceiling fan, etc
  5. Full technical specs, including the expected temperature rise (in Celsius!) when operating continuously.
  6. The nameplate mentions ordering repair parts. Wonder what would happen if I wrote the GE company and asked for a new bearing set or something?

And… I bet if you walked up to one of the guys on the production line in 1925 and told them; “This motor will still be in use in the year 2022” they wouldn’t be surprised.