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1870s Baldwin Lathe restoration

rivett608

Diamond
Joined
Oct 25, 2002
Location
Kansas City, Mo.
I have been working on the cleaning of the 1870s Baldwin/Shultz lathe. This is the tail stock side leg when I picked it up on a sunny day and in my shop after cleaning. It is painted a warm reddish brown color with black trim on the outside edges of the legs. All this is decorated with orange pin striping and decorations. This color scheme was described in a 1879 issue of Scientific American” as contrasting handsomely. In real it is not as dark as it looks in the photo. The other photo is the decoration in the middle of the front of the 5 foot bed.

I mentioned in an earlier post this lathe came from the workshop of Charles S. Shultz (1839-1924) in Montclair, NJ. The amazing thing is this shop was set up in 1896 and stayed totally intact until this past summer, a 125 years! From what I have learned so far it appears Mr. Shultz bought this lathe made by Nathan H. Baldwin of Laconia, NH. about 1870 and used it for a few years for amateur type work. I think after a short time his family and business interests distracted him from his workshop while he made his fortune. In 1896 he built a mansion named Evergreens and set up an attic workshop. From all the evidence he may never have done much other than putter around in this shop and looked out the window at the NYC skyline.

So this lathe survived not only intact with all its original tooling but in nearly perfect original condition. It retains about 98% of its original paint under a 150 years of dried oil and dirt.

There will be a lot more to come on this project as I clean it and learn more. It very well may be the best preserved example of an original lathe of its type to survive.
 

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MCritchley

Hot Rolled
Joined
Mar 22, 2007
Location
Milwaukee
Congrats on the lathe, glad its in your hands. Do you have any period photos of Schultz's shop? Was this time capsule shop widely known about, perhaps there was an article somewhere discussing it that I read years ago?
 

rivett608

Diamond
Joined
Oct 25, 2002
Location
Kansas City, Mo.
After much testing and consulting with museum conservators it was decided to use odorless mineral spirits or naphtha if something a little stronger was needed. Since this sort of blanched the paint surface a very light coat of Starrett instrument oil was put on, maybe a tablespoon per leg.

To my knowledge there are no period photos of the workshop, the article you read was possibly written by me as I was taken to see the shop in the mid 1990s. You can fine photos of the house and shop if you google the Slutz estate sale.
 

Tom A

Hot Rolled
Joined
Apr 26, 2009
Location
NW Florida
After much testing and consulting with museum conservators it was decided to use odorless mineral spirits or naphtha if something a little stronger was needed. Since this sort of blanched the paint surface a very light coat of Starrett instrument oil was put on, maybe a tablespoon per leg.

Thanks - I was wondering if you used something exotic :~)
I've found that a light coat of Flood "Penetrol" is also good for that - Brightening old paint. Also works great to freshen up wrinkle paint after cleaning.
 

DeSelle

Cast Iron
Joined
Oct 23, 2006
Location
Midlothian, TX
It’s great this made it into your hands. I can’t wait to see it when you’re done. Maybe you can make a replica in mini of his workshop
 








 
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