Just saw this, but beautiful lathe you got there. I have nearly its twin, a 1965 1030F. Did you get a steady rest for it perchance?
I was playing around with all of the back gears, threading etc after an oil change. I thought I did something bad because Forward “quit” working.
After about an hour of trouble shooting in the electrical cab, and cleaning all of the electrical contacts on the contactors, it lead me back up to the main switch panel.
This is where I found out that if you have the thread selection set to left hand, it won’t let the Lathe run in forward hahaha.
This behavior indicates one of the microswitches on the threading circuit is stuck or engaged; it should be an easy fix to repair this. There should be three rods along the front length of the bed; the leadscrew, the feedrod, and one bottom rod which is ~7/16" (from memory, it might be slightly different) square, with two small clamps on it. This is a stoprod for carriage feed during threading. This rod is springloaded to the center. If you remove the serial number nameplate at the right end of the bed (on the leadscrew support casting), you should see two microswitches with rollers inside the casting that engage with this rod. I would expect the stop rod to be jammed or stuck at one limit of its travel, although it's also possible one of the switches is broken or there is a wiring problem. On my lathe the rod was bent by a prior owner so I had to replace it, but it's a pretty simple turning job.
Be careful if you run the carriage all the way to the right end of the bed. There's a small gear on the apron supporting the leadscrew, and the gear will crash into the end of the leadscrew threads before the carriage hits a stop. The leadscrew is not hardened so I removed mine and chased the thread an inch farther.
I second the advice to open up the apron. On mine the lube pump was seized because the small leaf spring protecting the pump piston from sideload transmitted by the hexagonal pump cam was broken. That might explain the wear on your machine. The sightglass on my machine was also fully clouded over.
As for lathe comparisons, I don't remember where but I've written up comparisons between my Rivett 1030F, Monarch 10ees (I've run several and owned a few), and a Nebel Microturn. The summary is they're all similar enough that condition would matter to me more than brand. The Monarch is a little better engineered than the Rivett, but the Rivett is stouter.
I made way wipers for the crossfeed on my Rivett (one area where the factory Monarch is superior). I made mine out of aluminum but would have used brass if I'd known better. Modifying the crossfeed to use way wipers (and for DRO brackets) was nice and easy due to the boxy machined design.