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Howell-N-Mann Titan Racks

Titan I Titan II Titan Prototype Titan 4-Bar
Titan I Titan II Titan Prototype Titan 4-Bar

Overview


Titan I
(#393, 1292)

Front View Rear View Open for Rigging
Front View Rear View Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Larry (now Sam) Howell of Howell-N-Man at the 1993 Old Timers Reunion., and a second one at the 2011 NSS Convention.

My Titan I rack is 210 mm. tall, 105 mm. wide, 22 mm. thick, and weighs 457 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. ASTM grade 6 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into a C, with an internal width of 43 mm. A threaded 6061-T6 nut closes the frame. There are three brake bars, each made from 6Al/4V titanium tubing with a hollow 6061-T6 aluminum insert (the nut is made in two pieces, but the joint is hard to see). The bars are 19 mm. in diameter. The top bar is a double hyperbar that is 105 mm. long, and the other two are 73 mm. long standard bars. None of the bars are notched to let them swing open, so the frame opens much like a maillon rapide link does.

There are no markings on this rack.

Comments

The design and materials make the Titan racks incredibly strong. One disadvantage of this design is that the locking nut takes a lot of room, which means that the rack is long for the amount of available bar movement. Allowing 35 mm. for the rope gives a a completely insignificant 5 mm. range for spreading the bars. On this rack, with only three bars, that isn't a problem - the rack is too fast for my taste, and I wouldn't be spreading bars anyhow - I'd be using the hyperbar to add friction. Another disadvantage is that rigging and derigging takes too much time.

The titanium tubing gives the bars good wear resistance and the hollow aluminum inserts help to absorb and dissipate heat. Unfortunately, although titanium gives good wear resistance, the titanium portion of the bar is thin, so these bars tend to wear out fairly quickly when used on gritty rope.


Titan II
(#394)

Front View Rear View Open
Front View Rear View Open

Technical Details

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

My Titan II rack is 282 mm. tall, 105 mm. wide, 22 mm. thick, and weighs 334 g. The design is the same as the Titan I design, but the rack is longer so that it can accommodate five brake bars. The second and fourth bars are slotted, so there is no need to open the rack to rig it on the rope when bringing the tail out on the same side as the standing line.

There are no markings on this rack.

Comments

The Titan II is a larger version of the Titan I. As with the Titan I, the workmanship is superb. With five bars, the friction is greater and it is much easier to control. Allowing 35 mm. for the rope leaves 24 mm. range for spreading the bars, which still isn't much, so the Titan II is still essentially a constant friction device.


Titan Prototype
(#1290)

Front View Rear View
Front View Rear View
 
Open for Rigging Side View
Open for Rigging Side View

Technical Details

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

My Howell-N-Mann Titan Prototype is 305 mm. tall, 106 mm. wide, 29 mm. thick, and weighs 385 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. ASTM grade 6 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into a U, with an internal width of 40 mm. A threaded 6061-T6 nut closes the frame. The nut is made in two pieces. A pin through the nut acts as a stop to keep the nut from sliding too far down the frame when open. A second hole in the nut does not serve any obvious purpose, but it reveals a cross hole drilled in the lower frame and a pin inserted in this hole. The hole and pin serve no purpose; perhaps they had a function earlier in the prototype's life.

There are five brake bars. The bars are 19 and 25 mm. in diameter and 106 and 67 mm. long. Allowing 35 mm. for the rope leaves 27 mm. for spreading the bars. The top bar is made from 1.3 mm. wall titanium and has a hyperbar post bolted to the outboard end. The post is 9.4 mm. diameter stainless steel and 61 mm. long. It is turned and threaded, leaving 33 mm. extending above the horizontal bar, A shaped aluminum bushing under the horizontal bar provides a flat surface for the lock nut securing the hyperbar post. The second and fourth bars are made from 1.3 mm. wall titanium, and are slotted, allowing them to open for rigging. The third bar is the same material but with an aluminum insert and no slots. The bottom bar is a partially flattened piece of 1.1 mm. wall stainless steel tubing.

There are no markings on this rack.

Comments

This rack has significant historical value because it has the original hyperbar. Sam invented the hyperbar in October 1992, and showed it at the 1993 NSS Convention in Pendleton Oregon. Others saw the idea, and soon "everyone" was making hyperbars and/or adding them to their racks.


Titan 4-Bar
(#1291)

Front View Rear View Rear View
Front View Rear View Open for Rigging

Technical Details

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

This Titan Prototype rack is 305 mm. tall, 106 mm. wide, 29 mm. thick, and weighs 385 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. ASTM grade 6 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into a U, with an internal width of 40 mm. There are 4 brake bars. The bars are 19 and 25 mm. in diameter and 106 and 67 mm. long, respectively. Allowing 35 mm. for the rope leaves 27 mm. for spreading the bars.

There are no markings on this rack, but it has a nice anodized finish.

Comments

This rack is intermediate between the Titan I and II, both in size and in the friction that it provides. The frame really isn't long enough for four bars, but three wouldn't give me enough friction. The idea at right, demonstrated by Sam at the 1993 NSS Convention, shows one way to get another half bar's friction.