Nelson Pioneer Farm Curator Kelly Halbert has done some research on the artifact. She wrote: “Post Drill Press
This artifact hangs in the wood working shop in the Nelson Barn. Called a Post drill or Wall drill, these are a modification of the drill press for use by the small workshop. Manufactured around the end of the 19th century through the 1940s, these hand-powered tools were manufactured by many tool companies: Champion Blower and Forge, Rockwell Manufacturing, Silver Manufacturing, Canady & Otto, and Acme all built post drills for sale to farmers across America. There is no manufactures name on the drill in the Nelson Barn.
Post drills are basically hand cranked drill presses that resemble modern drill presses without a floor stand. These drills were very popular because a drill press has a number of advantages over the hand-held tool. Both were powered by hand, but the post drill was easier to use. Many small improvements resulted in the post drill being more convenient that both the floor press and the hand held press. Size was a factor, the first requiring floor space, the second was too small to use efficiently. Technological improvements lessened the work load - a fly wheel to maintain momentum from the hand crank and ball bearings to reduce friction. In addition the drill had a fixed position which allowed the worker to drill holes accurately and consistently. Purchased through a catalog at the general store and shipped to shop or farmer, it was easy to set them up on a board and bolt them to a post or beam in the barn.
Rural power meant electricity to the barns and the end of the post drill. Some were adapted with pulleys and belts to be run from a small engine. Eventually corded power tools and hand drills replaced the post drill.