View Full Version : Lathe Identification

09-01-2017, 07:16 PM
I saw this little guy at a local pawn shop, but couldn't find anything that would identify it. It is about a six inch swing with 10 or 12 between centers. I'm guessing some kind of watch makers lathe since it doesn't have a carriage traversing mechanism I could decern. It has a bunch of collets and other accessories with it as well. I don't think the drive is original, since it wouldn't let you swivel the head very far. Any one have an idea of the manufacturer and value?https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20170901/c576fabe7ef7798db1a42eda9f41bd7b.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20170901/6b64d135c9386303cc2660814462b94b.jpg

Hello, my name is Brian and I'm a toolaholic.

J Tiers
09-01-2017, 08:19 PM
It appears to be made from various other types of parts, actually.

The headstock looks more like an old grinder head than a lathe headtock. Possibly the workhead, not the wheel head.

The bed looks like the swivel bed from a T&C grinder. The crosslide looks to be shop made, and I don't know why that tailstock would be used on a grinder, so it may have come from elsewhere.

09-01-2017, 08:35 PM
Cute lathe though!

09-02-2017, 07:13 AM
Yeah, that's grinder parts, though I don't recognize which brand.


09-02-2017, 10:31 AM
It is a lathe, the parts are all of one, not an assemblage of parts. It is more on the order of a clock maker's lathe or an upsized version of a watchmaker's lathe.

The bed appears to have beveled edges similar to watchmaker's lathes, but it could be double V-ways. It is difficult to tell from the photos. The headstock is one piece, with a swivel base conforming to the bed. The tailstock matches the center height of the headstock. The cross slide appears to be of matching construction to the rest of the machine.

There were dozens, if not scores of makers of small, purpose built machines in the early 1900's that did not survive, and may have produced only very small quantity of machines.

You can try to troll through this list of similar machines and might find one like it, or not.


old mart
09-02-2017, 03:07 PM
What would happen to the drivebelt if you swivelled the head? And if that could be resolved, it would certainly be a novel method of taper turning.

The Artful Bodger
09-02-2017, 03:49 PM
My Drummond flat bed of 1908 has a swivelling head. I assume the belt didn't get phutzed about being twisted a little in relation to the treadle flywheel.

I am not convinced this is an 'authentic lathe' as there are some features that make me think it might be a clever shop job. For example look at how the bed is constructed.

BTW, what is that piece on the bench to the right which looks like it would match the head stock swivel base?

09-02-2017, 03:52 PM
What would happen to the drivebelt if you swivelled the head? And if that could be resolved, it would certainly be a novel method of taper turning.

novel perhaps when that was made, Unimats have been doing so since the '50's or whenever they came out

09-02-2017, 04:01 PM
The item to the right appears to be a bench vise, retained to the bench by the large wing nut visible beneath it. The vise appears to have a swiveling "fixed" jaw.

These lathes were typically powered by a series of pulleys with a round belt and an overhead drive that would accommodate the swiveling head. The pivot point of the swivel and the drive pulley are approximately on the same centerline to facilitate this.

J Tiers
09-02-2017, 05:30 PM
If it were a real intended" lathe, the crosslide would look different, and it would mount to the table/bed by means of a "shoe" that fits the bevel edge.

I still say it is grinder parts re-purposed. Cleverly re-purposed, yes... with additions. It just screams "grinder" to me.

09-03-2017, 12:26 AM
It is very interesting. My guess is some kind of watch or clock makers lathe. I don't think it was made from parts, although I won't rule that out either. If more pictures would help let me know and I will stop again next time I'm in town. I should have taken pictures of all the accessories that are there with it. Seems to be quite well tooled for clock making.

Hello, my name is Brian and I'm a toolaholic.