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What Lathe Is This?

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  • What Lathe Is This?

    I am trying to identify an old lathe. I bought it, to save it, at the Cabin Fever Expo. "Interior decorators" had taken the legs. I neglected to read the legs. Here is a link to my Photobucket account. When the first picture comes up, hit "slideshow".

    Anyone have a clue as to brand name, model, and year? There are NO stampings on the ways or the headstock. ALL brass plaques are long gone, but you can see where one was mounted.

    Bed, over six feet. 6-1/2" between spindle center and nearest part of the bed. Headstock and tailstock taper somewhere between MT-2 and MT-3. Spindle thread 1-1/4 x 10. Rise and fall cross slide. Gear teeth 16 dp, and gear faces 3/4" wide. Hole through gears 5/8". Definitely powered by line shaft, only. What is MOST striking is the apron. The dearth of controls. The vertical, not curved, sides.

    Been to OWWM's site, no luck, wrote Worcester History Museum. Nothing yet. Haunted Ebay. Close, but no cigar. My library no help. helpful, but no answer, yet.

    Any more info I can get you to help identify this?I am trying to identify an old lathe.

  • #2
    You could have a trawl through , the largest machine tool archive in the world!
    Man who say it cannot be done should not disturb man doing it!


    • #3
      Originally posted by hermetic View Post
      You could have a trawl through , the largest machine tool archive in the world!

      Finished looking in No luck. Checked all Brit, Canadian, and US.

      Some real beauties. And such documentation!


      • #4
        Are you the legendary John buffum of rally fame?


        • #5
          Originally posted by Royldean View Post
          Are you the legendary John buffum of rally fame?
          No. I understand he's quite a character!

          No, my Dad taught at the Naval Academy, and I did 20 years Army. Way different paths.

          The legs are installed! She stands! "She's Got Legs!"

          Next, comes the countershaft and motor.
          Last edited by John Buffum; 05-06-2014, 07:20 PM.


          • #6
            Hmmmm. A bit TALL. Going to spend a few days deciding how much to cut off the legs.


            • #7
              Just wear high heels. ;-)
              Looks like a nice score.


              • #8
                Ok I'll display my ignorance here. I've never seen a "rise and fall" cross slide before. Whats the purpose of that? The only thing I can think of is for easy tool height adjustment but there must be another reason for it as I can't imagine why the manufacturer would go to all that trouble to make an easy tool height adjustment. Not when there are several other, cheaper and easier to make methods.



                • #9
                  John I am sure to positive ; I have a friend that has the exact lathe. I wrote the name down and serial (I cant find it now)
                  and I tried all over the net with no avail. Its "Robbie, Robby, Roby, something like that If I remember, the small brass plate is
                  around the gear box area so look around there for some holes for this plate. I'm also tempted to say Springfield or Worcester
                  Mass. Problem is he is an engineer on a ship and is gone for three months at sea so I dont know when I will see him. I tend
                  to beleive that its a special operation lathe with a crosslide like that.

                  edit leave the legs high, its good for ya back


                  • #10
                    The general arrangement looks similar to a Seneca Falls "Star" lathe, early maybe even treadle operated.
                    But that cross slide is an odd one. That looks more like a New Haven lathe part.

                    Seneca did make a milling attachment so maybe the raising cross slide is for that?

           has a bit of info on Seneca Falls lathes but not New Haven.

                    Few pics of a very early New Haven here
                    shows that distinctive cross slide set up.
                    Last edited by Hopper; 05-08-2014, 07:16 AM.


                    • #11
                      I was thinking Star as well.
                      Last edited by Forestgnome; 05-08-2014, 10:07 AM.


                      • #12
                        The apron has a second knob mine does not have.

                        Thinking dropping 8" off the height.

                        On another forum,

                        You have on this lathe what is known as a "rise & fall" tool rest.

                        Back in the day - machining of carbon steel was done with carbon steel tools. Albiet, the tools were higher carbon and hardened, but still CS on CS. And cutting metal of any kind was a challenge. One of the "tricks" used then was to change the angle of attack or other attributes of the cut to try to "force" the cut to occur.

                        Materials were not as consistent then as they are now. And cast iron or bronze/brasses were also their own singular challenge in turning.

                        It was found that adjusting the tool height affected the angle of attack - and this could allow one to nurse through and machine what might otherwise be a difficult cut - and a rise & fall tool rest allowed this change to be done "on the fly."

                        Also, most of the lathes of the period also had a step gear at the lefthand (as you stand in front) corner. Usually driven by a round or flat leather belt. Using a stick, this belt could be "jumped" between pulley steps and thereby increase or decrease the feeding rate per turn of the main lathe. A rudamentary "variable feed" if you will. This was the big improvement in 1853 when Thayer & Houghton showed up at Worcester Mechanics Exhibition with a lathe so fitted - and everyone went OOOH and AAAH.

                        Between these two improvements, most of the machining of the latter 19th century was done.

                        A machinist from 1853 could stand in front of our modern gear head lathes and with little training likely be able to use it - the improvements of 1853 became that universal. Granted the handles and positions of all the controls may be in different but similar places, but most of the entities of an 1853 lathe are present on today's machine tools.

                        The 1853 machinist would be fascinated with a "thread dial" though. These were not common until the 1890s IIRC.

                        Joe in NH

                        So, that was a rise and fall rest.

                        I'll be removing and preserving it. In its place, I'll have a T-slot equipped, with a compound from another lathe.

                        The cross slide feed will be automated with an electronic actuator, as is found on some X-Axis power feeds.

                        I'm also going to equip it with iGaging DRO (cheapo). This lathe will do work.,