This 19th century mortising-machine is solid cast-iron, and "weighs a tonne."
Melbourne has a long industrial heritage, and relics like this still turn up from time to time. I found this at the Waverley Antique Bazaar, where we have a showroom at stall number D11.
This join requires no screws or nails; just glue and interlocking sections of timber.
Carpenters have been using this form of joinery for centuries. Japanese craftsmen used the join not just for structural integrity, but also as an art-form.
This may be the only one left in Melbourne. During my 20-odd years of fossicking I have never come across anything like this. The mechanical parts still work. All it needs is a motor.
It could still be used. But really it belongs in a museum.