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Howell-N-Mann

4-bar Smith Special, Version A Smith Special, Version B Smith Special, Version C Smith Special, Version D
4-bar Smith Special,
Version A
Smith Special,
Version B
Smith Special,
Version C
Smith Special,
Version D
 
New Eye Prototype Speleo, Version A Speleo, Version B Rescue, Version A Rescue, Version B
New Eye
Prototype
Speleo,
Version A
Speleo,
Version B
Rescue,
Version A
Rescue,
Version B

Overview


Note: Sam Howell and Larry Howell are the same person. He answers to Sam now.


4-bar
(#375)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Larry Howell of Howell-N-Mann in at the 1993 Old Timers Reunion.

This rack is 257 mm. tall, 82 mm. wide, 19 mm. thick, and weighs 360 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. ASTM grade 6 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into shape, with an internal width of 20 mm. The milled aluminum alloy eye is 29 mm. diameter. The eye is threaded to the frame, and locked in place with a lock nut. It is not free to rotate. The four bars are titanium tubing (same type as the frame) with hollow aluminum inserts to absorb and dissipate heat. The bars are each 19 mm. in diameter. The top bar is an 82 mm. long double hyperbar, the next two are 49 mm. long standard bars, and the fourth bar is a 69 mm. long bar with two horns. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 41 mm. range for spreading the bars.

There are no markings on this rack.

Comments

The top hyperbar allows looping the rope over the top for a temporary lock-off, or permits more secure lock-offs by tying the rope in any of several ways. The fourth bar has horns that also facilitate locking off. In addition, they allow pivoting the bar as an added means of braking - a method I can't recommend. With only four bars, this is a fast rack, and one should view it as a constant friction device.


Smith Special, Version A
(#374, 1235)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Larry Howell of Howell-N-Mann in at the 1993 Old Timers Reunion. I got a second one used from Mike Moser at the 2009 UIS/NSS Convention. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

My Howell-N-Mann Smith Special rack is 372 mm. tall, 80 mm. wide, 19 mm. thick, and weighs 462 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. ASTM grade 6 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into shape, with an internal width of 21 mm. The milled aluminum alloy eye is 29 mm. diameter. The eye is threaded to the frame, and locked in place with a lock nut. It is not free to rotate. The bars are titanium tubing (same type as the frame) with hollow aluminum inserts to absorb and dissipate heat. The bars are each 19 mm. in diameter. The top bar is a 79 mm. long double hyperbar, and the remaining bars are 49 mm. long standard bars. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 105 mm. for spreading the bars.

There are no markings on this rack.

Comments

This rack is narrower than some others on this page. Bruce Smith had Larry Howell produce this narrow rack to save weight (mainly in the bars), but the resulting rack is not as well suited for the rare occasion where a double rope rappel is needed.


Smith Special, Version B
(#1404)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Sam Gardner in 2013.

Version B rack is 367 mm. tall, 53 mm. wide, 19 mm. thick, and weighs 416 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into shape, with an internal width of 20 mm. and a 29 mm. diameter milled aluminum alloy eye. There are six brake bars. The bars are 6Al/4V titanium tubing with hollow aluminum inserts to absorb and dissipate heat. The bars are 19 mm. in diameter and 50 mm. long. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 80 mm. for spreading the bars.

There are no markings on this rack.

Comments

This reduces the size by eliminating the hyperbar. Hyperbars are not necessary on racks of this size.


Smith Special, Version C
(#1417)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Mary Luoto in 2014.

Version C rack is 326 mm. tall, 85 mm. wide, 27 mm. thick, and weighs 390 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into shape, with an internal width of 19 mm. and a 17 mm. diameter eye. There is one double hyperbar at the top, and four standard bars below. The bars are 19 mm. diameter 6Al/4V titanium tubing with hollow aluminum inserts. The ends of the hyperbar are filled with body filler. The hyperbar is 90 mm. long and the others are 50 mm. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 65 mm. for spreading the bars. The eye is a simple bend capped by a machined aluminum block. The eye is angled 45° to the bars.

There are no markings on this rack.

Comments

I like the eye design on this rack far more than the milled eyes held by nuts. This is a cleaner design. I would refine it by making the aluminum piece smaller; i.e., not as tall. With only one bend, this design is easier to manufacture than the eyes on the custom racks Larry made for me. On the other hand, I do not like the 45° angle. While it can be used with either the horizontal or vertical seat maillon arrangements, it really is not ideal for either.


Smith Special, Version D
(#1493)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Alabama Pickers in 2016.

Version D rack is 377 mm. tall, 53 mm. wide, 22 mm. thick, and weighs 412 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into shape, with an internal width of 19 mm. and a 18 mm. diameter eye. This rack has seven standard bars. The bars are 50 mm. long, 19 mm. diameter 6Al/4V titanium tubing with hollow aluminum inserts. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 77 mm. for spreading the bars. The eye is a simple bend capped by a machined aluminum block.

There are no markings on this rack.

Comments

I prefer this eye to the one with the 45° angle. Once again, I would refine the design by reducing the height of the aluminum piece. I would remove one of the bars for normal use, as six bars are adequate for my weight and I would prefer having the additional space available for spreading the bars.


Speleo, Version A
(#373)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Larry Howell of Howell-N-Mann in at the 1993 Old Timers Reunion.

My Howell-N-Mann Speleo rack is 370 mm. tall, 101 mm. wide, 19 mm. thick, and weighs 552 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. ASTM grade 6 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into shape, with an internal width of 33 mm. The milled aluminum alloy eye is 29 mm. diameter. The eye is threaded to the frame, and locked in place with a lock nut. It is not free to rotate. The bars are titanium tubing (same type as the frame) with hollow aluminum inserts to absorb and dissipate heat. The bars are each 19 mm. in diameter. The top bar is a 101 mm. long double hyperbar, and the remaining bars are 62 mm. long standard bars. The rack has 26 mm. long spacers between the top two bars. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 85 mm. for spreading the bars.

There are no markings on this rack.

Comments

This rack is wide enough to allow rappelling on doubled rope.


Speleo, Version B
(#1288)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Sam Howell at the 2011 NSS Convention.

Version B is 370 mm. tall, 108 mm. wide, 19 mm. thick, and weighs 606 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into shape, with an internal width of 39 mm. and a 45 mm. diameter milled aluminum eye fastened to the frame with a lock nut. There is one dual hyperbar and five aluminum alloy core titanium alloy brake bars. The bars are 19 mm. in diameter and 108 (hyperbar) and 73 mm. (remainder) long. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 78 mm. for spreading the bars.

There are no markings on this rack

Comments

This rack is a hybrid. It is the length of the Howell-N-Mann Speleo racks, but has the larger eye of the Howell-N-Mann Rescue racks.


Rescue, Version A
(#372)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Larry Howell of Howell-N-Mann in at the 1993 Old Timers Reunion.

My Howell-N-Mann Rescue rack is 431 mm. tall, 108 mm. wide, 25 mm. thick, and weighs 674 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. ASTM grade 6 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into shape, with an internal width of 41 mm. The milled aluminum alloy eye is 45 mm. diameter. The eye is threaded to the frame, and locked in place with a lock nut. It is not free to rotate. The bars are titanium tubing (same type as the frame) with hollow aluminum inserts to absorb and dissipate heat. The top bar is a 108 mm. long, 25.4 mm. diameter double hyperbar, and the remaining five bars are 63 mm. long, 19 mm. in diameter standard bars. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope gives a 105 mm. for spreading the bars.

There are no markings on this rack.

Comments

This rack is larger than the others, presumably because many members of the rescue community believes that bigger is better.


Rescue, Version B
(#1289)

Front View Rear View Side View
Front View Rear View Side View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Sam Howell at the 2011 NSS Convention.

My Howell-N-Mann Rescue, Version B rack is 429 mm. tall, 108 mm. wide, 19 mm. thick, and weighs 649 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into shape, with an internal width of 40 mm. and a 44 mm. diameter milled aluminum alloy plate eye that is fastened to the frame by a lock nut. The top bar is a 108 mm. long, 19 mm. diameter double hyperbar, and the remaining five bars are 73 mm. long, 19 mm. in diameter standard bars. Allowing 45 mm. for the rope leaves 107 mm. for spreading the bars.

There are no markings on this rack.

Comments

This rack came from Sam's prototype collection. The hyperbar has a smaller diameter than the one on Version A.


New Eye Prototype
(#1294)

Front View Rear View
Front View Rear View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Sam Howell at the 2011 NSS Convention.

This frame is 300 mm. tall, 52 mm. wide, 13 mm. thick, and weighs 213 g. It is made from 9.5 mm. 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into shape. The 30 mm. tall, 15.6 mm. wide eye is formed by bending the frame into a "U", and then sliding it into a drilled aluminum block and pinning it into place.

There are no markings on this eye.

Comments

When Sam showed his racks to cavers in 1992-93, many of us suggested that he use a more standard eye design than the milled aluminum plates. This frame is one of the prototypes for his later designs.