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Thread: Seneca Falls Star Lathe

  1. #1
    cretedog is offline Cast Iron
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    Default Seneca Falls Star Lathe

    Just came home with another 'new' lathe. Does anyone have any catalogs or manuals available to scan or copy? Seneca Falls Star. Looks to be a 12" x 48"
    No. 40 cast in bed. Last Patent date 1910. Any help would be appreciated. Serial # 110551 Thank you.

    Last edited by cretedog; 04-12-2009 at 02:59 PM. Reason: Add Serial #
    GP15-1 likes this.

  2. #2
    Andy FitzGibbon is offline Titanium
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    There is a catalog download available at OWWM.com, though I think it might be older than your machine.
    I had a very similar lathe, just a bit older (three step cone, no back gear guards).
    Andy

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    daabamatic is offline Aluminum
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    Cretedog, saw your message for info on your Star.I have the exact same lathe but the 10in Model.Im can see your lathe has the gear bracket that fits on the lead screw and holds the gears between the lead and stud shaft.could you possibly send a pic or dimension to -tinman4@optonline.net. The tony lathe site has a lot of info on the Star as well as other lathes.Thank you, George

  4. #4
    Xunil Ung's Avatar
    Xunil Ung is offline Aluminum
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    That brings back some good memories, as my first lathe was a Star. I spent many happy hours using it, and it did much good work, despite its antiquity. I can't help with any information, but thanks for posting the photo.

  5. #5
    cretedog is offline Cast Iron
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    Default The New Look

    Finally got to the Seneca Falls No. 40 that followed me home in 2009.

    img_0609.jpgimg_0610.jpgimg_0611.jpgimg_0612.jpgimg_0613.jpg

  6. #6
    cretedog is offline Cast Iron
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    More pics

    img_0617.jpgimg_0615.jpgimg_0614.jpg

  7. #7
    zachary is offline Aluminum
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    I think you'll really like it. A lot of people scoff at these older lightweight lathes, but they are reasonably accurate, many accessories are available since so many were made. Easy to maintain and easy to adapt accessories to. Mine made hundreds of parts for my Triumph race bikes over the years. Wish I hadn't sold it.

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    Bret Rochotte is offline Cast Iron
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    I like your paint job it looks great. Mind telling us how you did it? Did you fill, sand, prime and then spray? What brand? In the pictures it looks a lot like Jappan as used on old tools and machinery.

    Bret

  9. #9
    cretedog is offline Cast Iron
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    Van Sickle Tractor, Equipment & Industrial Enamel, Bret. From the local farm store. Sprayed with the hardener and Naptha as reducer. Not auto paint, but very reasonably priced and, I hope, will be OK in this application.

    Lots of scraping and wire brushing, sandblasted a few pieces. Filled, sanded, primed, sanded,... most of it. Had the able help of a great young man in my shop.


    Seneca Falls Star No 40 pictures by cretedog - Photobucket

  10. #10
    Milacron's Avatar
    Milacron is offline Diamond
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    My impression is that the Seneca Falls Star was the most popular engine lathe that has survived from the early 20th century, by far. I wonder why ? Nothing special about them....maybe they were the least expensive for their capacity and just sold the most ? Or maybe they advertised the most ? I remember my parents in the 1980's had some wallpaper in a bathroom that was a reproduction of a general old 1900 or so catalog and even that had an ad for Seneca lathes !

  11. #11
    toag is offline Aluminum
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    @Crete- nice work!

    @milacon-seeing those add while you were "concetrating" definitely had an influence on you.

  12. #12
    jim rozen is offline Diamond
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    They probably just made a million of them! That's why there's so many remaining.
    My 'work in progress:'












  13. #13
    cretedog is offline Cast Iron
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    Nice little lathe Jim. Looks to be in great shape. Pic of the tailstock is also of my first project to be when I get it belted up. My tailstock has an empty hole where your nice ornate cap or plug resides.

  14. #14
    jim rozen is offline Diamond
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    I have to confess here, when I purchased that machine, it too had an empty hole on the tailstock.
    The lube dauber that's in there, in the photo - the design is made up from whole cloth. I just
    turned it up one day when I was bored.

    I think it was the first project I did, after I made my over-the-top ball turner.

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    Milacron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim rozen View Post
    They probably just made a million of them! That's why there's so many remaining.
    Yes, Sherlock....but the question is WHY them and not someone else ?

  16. #16
    jim rozen is offline Diamond
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    Somebody else, what?

    I think that seneca falls machines are out there as much as they are - and honestly not
    as common as, say, southbend - simply because they were for the most part, not used
    in heavy production. Not used up and trashed out, simply because many of them really
    were sold with the treadle attachments.

    Tough to wear one out that way.

    Even those that were electrified, most were used for very light work as they really
    weren't suited for much else. It's a real lightweight of a machine.

    For example, the machine shown above was covered in a good coat of oily sawdust when
    I bought it. But under the mess was a totally unworn bed. The butterfly frosting was still
    there.

  17. #17
    Milacron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim rozen View Post
    Somebody else, what?

    I think that seneca falls machines are out there as much as they are - and honestly not
    as common as, say, southbend - simply because they were for the most part, not used
    in heavy production. Not used up and trashed out, simply because many of them really
    were sold with the treadle attachments.

    Tough to wear one out that way.

    Even those that were electrified, most were used for very light work as they really
    weren't suited for much else. It's a real lightweight of a machine.

    For example, the machine shown above was covered in a good coat of oily sawdust when
    I bought it. But under the mess was a totally unworn bed. The butterfly frosting was still
    there.
    Point is there were lots of other brands of small engine lathes in the early 20th century...why were Seneca Falls more sucessful than the other makes ? Ironic your mention of low use as the most worn out lathe I've ever owned in my entire career was a Seneca Falls Star ! Even the David Pond made in the 1870's I owned was in better condition ! Any lathe* could get worn out in certain situations but it's just ironic my worst ever was a Seneca Falls.


    ===========

    *Monarch 10ee's in the Kennametal plant near Spartanburg, SC had handwheels that looked like they were chrome plated...this due to all the carbide dust from turning carbide !

  18. #18
    jim rozen is offline Diamond
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    It's really not clear they were that much more successful than other contemporary brands.

    Southbend really stands out I guess. Atlas made a lot of machines and probably put more into production work
    than seneca falls ever did. Of the older firms, what - hardinge was another big seller with their cataract brand.

    It is oddly true though that, while I've often seen several of one kind of machine in an old shop, chances are when
    I come across machine tools one at a time, it's often seneca falls. It may be the "star" brand - they put the brand
    on all their machine tools so even though they made probably five different sizes and models of machines over the
    years, they're all lumped into the "star" brand during discussions.

    They have a lot of cool features, that possibly make them more prone to being saved.

    A bit of a mystery indeed.

  19. #19
    Milacron's Avatar
    Milacron is offline Diamond
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    I'd have to look back in some of my turn of the century magazines but I don't think South Bend was much of a factor back in the heyday of Seneca Falls lathes. My impression is that although South Bend might have been in business as early as 1905, they didn't come on strong until the 1930's and Atlas after WWII. There were other brands of similar ilk to the Seneca Falls Star back about 1905, but names escape me at the moment.

  20. #20
    Joe in NH is online now Titanium
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    Funny, I would have said the market was about split between Barnes and Seneca Falls. But maybe I'm looking only at the treadle lathe market? Ed Hobbs should be able to comment further on that.

    A general impression I might have is that while Seneca Falls offered a treadle lathe, they also offered "regular" lathes to a greater degree than Barnes. Certainly one can say that a Seneca Falls lathe has a little more umph than the rather lightly made Barnes.

    Barnes did attempt to sell to the agricultural non-industrial crowd though. The anomoly that Barnes Lathes are ALWAYS found in a chicken coop has some basis in fact. Their lathes were designed to be knocked down and shipped in two (or three?) boxes by railway. Not sure of this for Seneca Falls.

    Joe

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