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Thread: Dexter Machine Company Lathe?
12-11-2008, 09:04 PM #1
Dexter Machine Company Lathe?
Cany anyone offer any info on an old lathe I saw the other day? It was a Dexter, maybe 9"X36". It's drive was from above hanging from the ceiling.
Was this made in Dexter ME? Any idea what time frame it was made? Just curious
12-11-2008, 09:23 PM #2
Fay & Scott lathes were made in Dexter Maine.
12-12-2008, 12:32 PM #3
Dexter Machine Company had their shop in Orange, Massachusetts. I was in Orange in June of 1985, seeing a job go through the shops at Rodney-Hunt. The folks at Rodney Hunt knew I liked old machinery, so told me to stick my head into Chase Turbine. Chase Trubine was best known for building shingle mils, and was still building sawmill equipment in their original shop. Accross the street from Chase Turbine was Dexter Machine. It was a long wooden building. The fellows at Chase Turbine told me that Dexter built portable machine tools for reseating valves in place (globe and gate valves). I did not get a chance to go see what was going on at Dexter on that trip.
I suspect that the Dexter lathe likely was built in the Orange, Massachusetts shop.
12-12-2008, 02:05 PM #4
That was the other place I thought of
They are now something like Leavit-Dextor. Any Idea when they opened. This Lathe operated on an over-head line drive and seemed very old. Again I'm just curious if I never find out I'm sure the sun will still rise.
12-12-2008, 02:18 PM #5
Cope says Dexter Machine Co., Dexter, ME was formed 1887 from Dustin Mfg. Co. to make engine lathes and drilling machines, as made by Dustin. It became Dexter Tool Co. in 1892 and was probably controlled by Fay & Scott of Dexter, ME.
That would make the time frame of a Dexter Machine Co. nameplate 1887-1892.
Cope does not mention an Orange, MA address.
12-12-2008, 02:40 PM #6
Yep, the two Dexters are different, the lathe is from Maine.
12-12-2008, 08:43 PM #7
All that makes sense.
12-21-2008, 03:38 PM #8
Here it is in all it's glory
Thanks for the information guys. Here it is;
I decided that I would like to care for this lathe. The clincher was that it came from a factory in the town next to mine. I've kind of "brought it home".
I'll try to get a restoration underway this spring. I have it in storage now.
One question, is this some type of taper tool? The saddle hinges at the apron side and indexes up with a lead screw on the far side.
12-21-2008, 04:24 PM #9
Not a taper tool......called a "rise and fall" tool rest. Designed to allow changing the height of the cutting tool edge at will and I think it lost favor with the coming of the lantern style tool post. I have one on my Putnam 14" lathe. Someone correct me if I'm in error here.
12-21-2008, 07:27 PM #10
George Andreasen is correct on the rise and fall tool rest!
Do you have a line shaft to run it? Or you going to make a back shaft? Gary P. Hansen
12-24-2008, 05:04 PM #11
I have the line shaft as well
Sorry Gary, just noticed your post. The line shaft was included as well. I'll need to do a bit of thinking before I can figure out how all the pieces fit together though.
12-28-2008, 01:10 PM #12
Line Shaft Question
Good morning gentlemen/ladies,
I've just been playing with the line shaft that came with this old Dexter lathe. I wish I had my camera but I left it at my sisters house on Thursday. The shaft and pulley assembly are very close to this one I found on the American Artifacts site.
I have all the pieces. The assembly operates with a hand lever shifter like the one pictures, but I also have a mystery. A hand wheel also was included. The bore makes it fit on the shaft that I'll call the "shifter control". The wheel has a groove around it for a drive cord as well. Any help ID'ing the use of this wheel would be appreciated.
12-28-2008, 04:14 PM #13
I have one of those No. 5 lathes AND it's overhead countershaft identical to the AA site item (which sold a while ago but still makes a good online reference - kudos) I can't imagine what you're describing EXCEPT that a lot of those shifter levers had a cast iron washer where it attached to the shifter bar link. A single bolt went through the washer, and kept the wooden rod attached to the metal block on the shifter bar.
We're patient. Can you get us a better pix?
Hmm, your hand wheel may be the bottom plate used underneath the seat post supporting the underarm on the Barnes lathes? Some have this still: a lot are missing this part including mine. Should have a 7/16" hole in it I believe? Does the hole go all the way through?
Joe in NH
12-28-2008, 04:46 PM #14
Thanks Joe, the shifter handle on this one will attach to the shifting rod via a decorative little casting. The wheel I'm talking about is about 12-13" on dia. The bore does go through. You might be right though, perhaps the wheel actually belongs to the lathe, I never thought of that. I'll have my camera back on Tuesday. See you then.
01-04-2009, 12:43 PM #15
Photo Explanation Finally!
I finally managed to pry my camera away from my sister. Sorry for the delay.
In the mean time I've convinced myself that the wheel I talked about earlier does not belong to the line shaft. However as my journey to the bottom of the mystery crate continues I found yet another device I cannot figure out. Below are the photos. The last one seems to be a tool (fits into a lantern tool post). There are no markings I can read. If I had to guess....some sort of "speed of revolution" gauge?
01-04-2009, 12:54 PM #16
[QUOTE=stnecut;1032524]The last one seems to be a tool (fits into a lantern tool post). There are no markings I can read. If I had to guess....some sort of "speed of revolution" gauge?
I think this one is a precursor to a "tool post grinder" which you put into your tool post, use the cross slide to set a diameter close to the hole you're attempting to enlarge, and then a round section belt from an overhead countershaft drives the grindstone on this little baby. You use the knurled handhold on the RIGHT to move the grinding stone to left and right and then use the cross slide handwheel to move the grinding function to a larger radius.
This is a tool type which is more commonly seen on the small "watchmakers" lathes in the WW pattern. Those round cross section belts have a fair amount of give and you could have a stationary countershaft and still have a fair amount of "latitude" with your cross slide motion before the belt jumps off the sheeves.
Looking up to the pix above this, I see a pulley with "curved" spokes. Again, this looks like it's set up to drive a round section leather belt. (U-shaped belt groove.) This is likely the drive pulley for the grinding head.
The other two pix are of the standard lathe reversible countershaft and a "lay shaft" which might have somehow taken the curvy spoked pulley?
Just a thought.
Yup, I know it's a rare thing.
I'm kind of scaring myself here....
Joe in NH
Last edited by Joe in NH; 01-04-2009 at 01:31 PM. Reason: Need a rock in my right hand
01-04-2009, 01:16 PM #17
Well that was fast
The whole grinding wheel makes sense. I included the photos of the line shaft just so everyone could see it.
Years ago I ran a Limestone fab shop where we used planers made in Lincoln VT powered by flat belts. On those there was a control arm that encircled the belts and moved them from one stationary pulley to another. When putting this line shaft together I was thrown by the slightly different method.
01-05-2009, 01:30 AM #18
Stnecut, I lived for 26 years in little Lincoln, Vermont and nobody made planers there or ever did. I think you mean the Lincoln foundry in Rutland, Vermont, as a couple of Rutland firms made a lot of stone working machinery, as did a few plants in Barre.
I remeber years ago seeing a large planer work slate in Fair Haven, perhaps they still do or have started up again. In those old days they took the sludge and had a settling pond, but I think it went to the creek after that.
Yep, that's a grinder, and nicely made.
01-05-2009, 10:14 PM #19
I'm sure you're right
I'm sure you are correct. I took over the shop shortly after another manager.....well let's say he found himself on the wrong side of the law. The shop was in Arkansas, I was always amazed when imagining how many stories that machine had during it's many travels. It was old, but a very smooth running machine. Had a kick lever to reverse direction....talk about "instant reversable". I think it's shaving rock in Bedford IN now.
01-05-2009, 11:32 PM #20
Here's a catalog representation of a Lincoln planer, from K. Cope's book (in which he has a few stone workers as well as all the metal machines):
Here's a scan of a Patch stone working radius planer (from the Rutland Historical Society, Cope has a similar catalog cut of this):
You might notice that the drive mechanism--which is triple pulleys through bevel gears--is very similar on the two.
I don't recall the make of the planer I saw working slate way back when, but I think it was typical metal cutting machine used for a secondary purpose.