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07-29-2008, 05:49 PM #1
need help identifying old watchmaker's lathe
I don't have a picture, but if you've seen one of these things, you've likely seen them all. The description should suffice .
cast on single pedestal unit
single-step chrome plated headstock pulley (crowned, for a flat belt presumably. On each side of crown is a *disk* if you will (to keep the belt from slipping off?). These are not separate to the pulley - the *disks* are integral to it.).
yukky remnants of green paint on headstock and bed too (I think)
brass plate riveted to far end of bed, w/a # (can't remember it offhand).
not your typical 3.5" swing, closer to 4.5" (I actually haven't looked at this thing in a while)
something tells me it may take 10mm collets instead of the usual 8mm
I am not in possession of the compound (if there ever was one) nor the tailstock - I sure could use both though.
I'll try and furnish a picture in the next week or so.
07-29-2008, 07:05 PM #2
"I don't have a picture, but if you've seen one of these things, you've likely seen them all."
I have seen them all, but I have not seen yours. Maybe when you provide a picture...
07-29-2008, 07:39 PM #3
then chances are you won't even know what it is. I do plan to provide a picture of it, but I described it pretty accurately. The pulley *arrangement* should be a giveaway. I certainly am no expert, but I have yet to see another one just like this.
07-29-2008, 07:45 PM #4
crazy long shot - did Bulova ever make a watchmaker's lathe?
this is going to sound really dopey, but I was looking at this item:
and it reminds me of the lathe. Sounds dopey I know. I know I know THE PICTURE! Dag nab it! LOL
07-29-2008, 08:21 PM #5
Wouldn't it be a whole lot easier to wait until you have a picture to post before starting all this confusion??
07-29-2008, 08:33 PM #6
The single flat belt pulley suggests a factory use machine. Many of the factories that made small parts, like for watches, sewing machines, typewriters and guns, had very specialized machines. The machines were either made in the factory or ordered from a specialist machine tool maker. Several such makers were in Waltham, Mass., founded by men who had started their careers designing machines at the watch factories. Of course, many machines of this type were made in Switzerland once they saw the American watch companies beating their products on the American and other markets in the 19th century. The machines themselves were only made in small quantities. They seldom turn up, but some are in museums and others were bought by collectors at the auctions when the various American watch factories went out of business. These special machines do not lend themselves to modern practical work. If they still have their tooling, the tooling will only make one part. As years went by, the machines were fitted with new tooling, so there are often lots of extra holes in the machines. The old factory lathes usually used collets that are no longer available. If they had a tailstock it would be a turret or the half-open type, for use with interchangeable spindles, each with its own drill or cutter. Rather than a cranked slide rest they had lever feed slides, sometimes with belt driven rotary tooling.
You would not find a "standard" watchmaker's lathe in a big watch factory, making batches of thousands of identical parts. The factory would have had a repair/rework department that could use a general purpose machine. The common watchmaker's lathes we see were meant for use in jewelry stores for repair work. That is why there are many thousands of them still around. Some of these lathes were adapted for light industrial use. For instance, I have a Derbyshire Magnus lathe that came from a carburetor company's engineering department. It was used to machine experimental tapers on carburetor needles. The slide rest is fitted with a large radius extension on the angle scale, with a vernier.
07-29-2008, 09:09 PM #7
"...then chances are you won't even know what it is."
Chances are, you'd be wrong.
I know which side of the line I'd put my money on.
07-29-2008, 11:20 PM #8
Let's review what we know so far:
-no collets, cross slide or tailstock
-possible one-off or custom pulley
-single foot, peeling green paint
I think I know what it is - Scrap!
(unless it's got a 3c spindle, then I can scrap it for you)
07-31-2008, 01:40 PM #9
Those of us who have NOT examined dozens of machines of this class are eagerly anticipating the photos! (History of precision manufacture, and all that.)
As far as being incomplete is concerned, people, perhaps misguided people, have been known to make lathes from scratch. They weren't entirely misguided if they developed new skills in the process.
And, like Jim, I'm inclined to think that some expert on this board can ID it unless it is truly a one-off.
07-31-2008, 09:55 PM #10
BTW, "German green" paint seems to be a characteristic of the more recent "Boley" lathes made, I believe, in the DDR, as well as the much more clearly marked genuine Boley machines.
Flat belts are well represented, as are production machines.
However, most any Boley or DDR copy is pretty clearly marked, on the end of the bed, if nowhere else.