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Mark McGrath
07-11-2011, 04:33 PM
I have heard that Myfords have ceased trading.There is apparently a closing down sale this coming Saturday and Sunday.
I don`t expect there will be any bargains but you never know.
I would also imagine the business has been hawked round the trade in the hope of finding a buyer but again you never know.
It won`t be a company I`ll miss but I feel for the people losing their jobs.

John Stevenson
07-11-2011, 05:02 PM
Mark, Lot of unanswered questions here.

For a starter and I don't think it has anything to do with it because of the timing is that Mr John Moore senior, died on Saturday.

Last week Myford registered 4 new companies at company's house.

Their new operation manager who has been there only a short while has gone down the road.

Some of the workforce have been made redundant, reportedly in a move that forced management to make them redundant as they were pushing for it.

Website is down.

According to records at Companies house their property division has been propping the lathe business up to the tune of 300,000 for the last 4 years [ no earlier records on view ]

The closing down sale is actually a restructuring sale and is limited to stock and spares, no production machinery.

Mark McGrath
07-11-2011, 05:20 PM
Very interesting John.
I wondered why there had been nothing in the trade press as the spares business at least has to be worth something.
Looks more like getting rid of dead stock before a restucturing.
I had read about the property business being the mainstay of the company a while back,it may even have been you that said it.

Dennis WA
07-11-2011, 06:10 PM
John...Thank you for an informed update on Myfords. An email I received earlier implied total closure. Restructuring appears more logical if there is a business case.


Cheers
Dennis

.RC.
07-11-2011, 06:23 PM
The last UK buggy whip manufacturer...

oil mac
07-11-2011, 06:31 PM
Mark,
The Myford lathe is somewhat of a "must Have" machine for an awful lot of the home shop guys In fact the super 7 &ML7 are an icon, Somewhat in my estimation a little workshop machine with a lot of snob value attached to it.

Some fifteen years ago, i was fortunate, to be able to acquire a nice Super 7 in good condition, It has served me well, As a machine it has a nice feel to it, and on smaller work is a fine machine, Somehow i feel Myfords missed the boat, Why did they not survive when other importers of machine tools are surviving And how will this effect the resale value of these little machines ?

I wonder what machine will take the place of the Myford in the Model making market, It is a great shame, how they have gone the way of the South Bend and the Boxford.

Are we by and large in this modern times seeing a lessening of the pusuits of making things in our spare time as a nation

I think again, it is a sad day for British engineering
Dan.

oil mac
07-11-2011, 06:40 PM
Just had a thought -- This is brilliant, If Sir John loaned some enterprising souls his POS Bridgeport, And i back this up, with my damned Elliot 00 Milling machine, Would we find a new British lathe being born ? It could be called The Elliobridge:eek:

John Stevenson
07-11-2011, 06:43 PM
I wonder what machine will take the place of the Myford in the Model making market, It is a great shame, how they have gone the way of the South Bend and the Boxford.


Dan.

Boxford is still going but they made the jump into CNC for training a few years ago, ironically a move Myfords turned down when given the chance.

The machine to take the place of the Myford is the Sieg C3 mini lathe, although not as big as the Myford and lacking many of the refinement it's low cost means that it has outsold the Myford in only a few years and probably introduced more people world wide to home shop machining than any other lathe.

Mark McGrath
07-11-2011, 08:02 PM
I`ve always found Myford a strange company.They have a major industrial success with the MG grinder yet never seemed to expand on it.
I could never understand how a company on one hand could turn out machines of the quality of the grinders and on the other produce the lathes.
I used to see their lathes in research establishments,toolrooms and maintenance shops and again they let that market go too.
Surely they could have done what a lot of other companies have done and gone to eastern Europe for the machine carcase and finished and rebadged it themselves.A lot of quality British and German built manual and cnc lathes came from other manufacturers.Harrison,Churchill and Gildemeisters all rebadged machines made by a well known eastern European machine builder.

doctor demo
07-11-2011, 09:15 PM
Just had a thought -- This is brilliant, If Sir John loaned some enterprising souls his POS Bridgeport, And i back this up, with my damned Elliot 00 Milling machine, Would we find a new British lathe being born ? It could be called The Elliobridge:eek:
Or better yet call it the MacStevenson:)
Steve

John Stevenson
07-12-2011, 04:08 AM
A bit of insight here and this was very typical of British engineering in the 50's and even up to the 80's. by that time most had folded or been taken over.

Myfords old development manager Glynn Jones was a personal friend and he used to call in odd times for a coffee whilst his wife was out shopping. He used to regale me with stories and problems from work.

In 1953 the Super 7 was introduced as an upmarket partner to the basic ML7, more a refinement exercise than offering more capacity as it actually lost 1" between centres. The stumbling block was still the small bore of 9/16" in the headstock which was controlled by the use of MT2 taper.

In 1954 the development department brought out a big bore lathe with D1-3 spindle nose and 1"+ thru the spindle. They were told to scrap it as it would have meant a new casting [ true but they would have dropped the old one ] and in any case they could sell all they made.

Jobs such as this were always done in secret, then shown to management as if they had prior knowledge they just shelved the project.

In 1955 they had a super7 with all geared head, again not followed thru as too expensive and yes you have guest it, " We can sell all we make "

Later on in the 1970's three guys led by Alan Timmins a famous watchmaker in this area approached Myford with an idea to do a CNC trainer lathe. Between them they had the expertise to do the development, electronic and funding, all they lacked was a basic lathe.

They wanted Myford to supply a ML10 carcase, bed, headstock, carriage and tailstock and they would fit the electronics and ballscrews etc and it would be returned to Myfords for them to sell it given they had a very lucrative educational arm at the time. They even had government backing and funding.

Myfords refused on the grounds that they couldn't see any future in it. The three guys who were now calling themselves Conect CNC decided to go it alone and approached Myford again to buy the carcass ML10.
Myfords refused to supply a carcass machine and insisted on complete machines so Conect had to throw all the unwanted parts away !!

They went on to become quite popular and sold many into schools and colleges but they could have sold far more if they had obtained the full Myford backing. This was prior to Denfords and Boxford getting into the market, two companies who are still there.

EVguru
07-12-2011, 04:36 AM
The machine to take the place of the Myford is the Sieg C3 mini lathe, although not as big as the Myford and lacking many of the refinement it's low cost means that it has outsold the Myford in only a few years and probably introduced more people world wide to home shop machining than any other lathe.

At the higher end of the market, those who would have bought a new Myford for their hobby despite the cost, how about the Ceriani? The machine I looked at was very nice and the cost less than 2/3rds of the Myford.

form_change
07-12-2011, 07:50 AM
I would guess there are a number of factors at play here. I was speaking to my local tooling supplier here in Adelaide about taking on the Australian Aloris distributorship and he was saying that despite the reputation there would not be much in it - people would usually buy the cheapest, so they would not sell enough to make it worth their while.

Myford were probably their own worst enemy in this respect, having a reputation for a high quality machine with a significantly higher price.

Strangely enough I don't think they were helped by the (UK) model engineering magazines implying that Myford was the lathe to have. You looked at one, looked at the price and decided that you were not in the league of people producing gold medal scale models of working nuclear power plants solely on a Myford lathe with 57 accessories, and so as a first machine should go for something cheaper like the Sieg. Industrial and school closures would have supplied a raft of second hand machines that would also have cut into their market.

I must admit I'd love to know the proportion of people who have home machine shops and whether that has increased or declined over the years. In this disposable age people don't seem interested in making things themselves.

Michael

For people new to machines, it's as much about knowing the name of a reasonable brand to buy as anything else. I'm sure a number of people here want to get a Bridgeport primarily because they have heard of them, know of their reputation and know what they are. Yet if you spoke to some of our European members they could probably name a handful of other machines of equal or better quality that because they come from a country with a different first language are not widely known in the English speaking world.

John Stevenson
07-12-2011, 08:03 AM
For people new to machines, it's as much about knowing the name of a reasonable brand to buy as anything else. I'm sure a number of people here want to get a Bridgeport primarily because they have heard of them, know of their reputation and know what they are. Yet if you spoke to some of our European members they could probably name a handful of other machines of equal or better quality that because they come from a country with a different first language are not widely known in the English speaking world.

Anything other than a Bridgeport.

oil mac
07-12-2011, 05:15 PM
I did not realise boxfords were still to the fore John, Although i like my Myford, for what it does for me on light , one offs or small batches, I always think the Boxford is the better machine, with its ball race headstock, power feed being stronger and better and a far superior topslide, All in, More going for it , I always thought the Boxford was a take off in some ways from the South Bend

It is most sad that to see the demise of the Myford lathe, but i do believe if Boxford jumped back into manufacturing a competative priced conventional Boxford, its come back would be welcome

I wonder if people nowadays though, are too sophisticated to make things When i see todays attitudes to manual skills i despair.

Dan.

John Stevenson
07-12-2011, 05:32 PM
Boxfords were a direct copy of the South bend and this came about during WWII to supply a decent small lathe.

After the war they gradually improved on the design wheras South Bend stayed with the design they had and continued with the old flat belt until their demise.

A bit like Myfords but reversed.

The modern Boxfords are far eastern imports but the last of the old series the VSl variable speed machines are very nice.

http://www.lathes.co.uk/boxford/img14.gif

You can still see the South Bends design in then in the apron etc but they made real improvements.

Alistair Hosie
07-12-2011, 05:50 PM
Southbend and boxford are very similar.I can't quite get your staement John whats this about 300.000. that doesn't seem much money for myfords what was this sum for. Alistair