Brown lathe from Chicago
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  1. #1
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    Default Brown lathe from Chicago

    Dennis Turk recently found evidence that the "Brown Machine Company" of 14-16 North May street, Chicago Illinois had a line of metal lathes for sale between 1937 and 1940 at least. The line included 9" and 10" engine lathes and also a turret lathe.
    "Designing and building the best precision lathes that skilled labor and the best materials can produce, has developed an increasing number of satisfied users."

    The company started in 1889 but it's not clear to me if they started out building lathes. The example I have has Timken headstock bearings which a plate on the front proudly mentions. Mine has a quick change threading and feed box and is otherwise very similar to other better known brands of the time, like South Bend and Flather.

    I've had the lathe for a few years and haven't gotten around to restoring it, in part because I thought it may have been a high school shop project. Now we have two catalogs from 1937 and 1940 that indicate to us that there should be a good number of them left.

    So my question is, have any of the readers seen or heard of a Brown lathe? Do any of you own one?
    Thanks
    partsimg_0062.jpg

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    Trying to post the catalogs of the Brown Machine Company, they are in pdf format.

    Hmm, no luck. Is there a way to insert pdf's?

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    Do you believe they were a proprietary builder or did they re-badge? My first impression from the picture was SB.

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    I agree with your impression, but many lathes of that period looked similar. The 8 position Norton selection divided by a three position lever looks unique in it's layout to me.
    Remember that before WW2 lathe manufacturers were very numerous, and even more so before the depression. Much of what they offered looked very similar to the then current styling.

    Anyone know how I can post the catalog pdf's?

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    Quote Originally Posted by partsproduction View Post
    Anyone know how I can post the catalog pdf's?
    I believe you'didn't have to host them somewhere, and link to them. You could also convert each page to a .jpg file, and then post it here, but you'll lose a lot of resolution.

    Andy

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    You can upload the catalog pdfs to the Vintage Machinery site and then post a link to them. That has turned into a very nice repository for documentation on the old machines.

    Craig

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    I'd like to see more pics of the machine details.

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    I tried to download the pdf's to Vintage Machinery, and was able to login, but to send the pdf's I was sent to "OWW" website or something like that, and they didn't like my attempts to remember my password from long ago.
    If anyone knows someone there who is a moderator maybe they could help me remember my old password, my email changed a few years ago and that could be the problem.
    Dennis Turk said Tony at Lathes.uk has reinstalled a bunch of photos under Brown lathe.

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    First 5 pages of Caltalog 1, converted to .jpg:
    brown1_001-1.jpgbrown1_001-2.jpgbrown1_001-3.jpgbrown1_001-4.jpgbrown1_001-5.jpg

    More to come...

    Dan

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    Second 5 pages:
    brown1_001-6.jpgbrown1_001-7.jpgbrown1_001-8.jpg3901_001-10.jpg

    Dan

    brown1_001-9.jpg
    Last edited by DanLinsch; 07-14-2018 at 12:43 AM. Reason: OOPS, tired, lost count

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    Tony's absolutely Wonderful website, particularly about the Brown machinery company's offerings; "Brown" and "Dandy" Lathes

    We are so indebted to Mr. Tony Griffiths for his archives which are available for anyone who wishes to see the history of the machinery that "Made" what we all enjoy today. I know it sounds overdone but think about what little we would know about the machines of the past were it not for his selfless efforts?
    The lathe in this URL is the one awaiting my attention. One day I looked at it and saw that a tooth had been broken out of the bull gear, likely while the former owner tried to force the chuck off after locking up the back gear.
    "Well that won't do" I said to myself so I replaced the tooth using the dovetail method, and when done I was admiring my work and happened that moment to see a crack in the bore at the key that I hadn't seen.

    It now has a new bull gear.

    Unfortunately I have other responsibilities or it would have been restored by now. The discovery of these advertisements is encouragement for me to get it done.

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    More Brown Catalog #1 converted from pdf....

    3901_001-11.jpg3901_001-12.jpg3901_001-13.jpg3901_001-14.jpg3901_001-15.jpg

    More tomorrow...

    Dan

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    Thank you Dan for converting the images. Perhaps now we will see many more unknown Brown and Dandy lathes just exactly as Dalton lathes were unknown before Dennis Turk restored one, which opened communications that showed many more.
    Maybe there are more brands of lathes of that period most have never heard of, maybe even many more unacknowledged makers, the names of which time has erased.

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    Very close SB copy, other than the headstock, gearbox, and shape of the pedestal. The apron/saddle/compounds and tailstock are dead ringers for late 20's, early 30's South bend. By 1937, however, SB had moved on to different aprons in particular, making these machines look somewhat dated.

    allan

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    It looks like they would have had trouble gaining market share, since it appears that they were a direct competitor to the A-word lathes..........who had Sears and Roebuck (in their heyday) to help promote them. I assume the Brown lathes had real gearing, vs the Zamak crap?

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    More images, last 3 from Cat. #1:

    Dan3901_001-16.jpg3901_001-17.jpg3901_001-18.jpg

    I'll try to upload Cat. #2 images today.

    Dan

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    they were a direct competitor to the A-word lathes
    Not hardly, there is no zinc alloy anything in these and they have prismatic ways like South Bends instead of flat ways. The bed on the Brown is much stiffer than any Atlas I've ever seen.
    But you're right about having a poor chance gaining market share, SB had name recognition, and also, in the teens through thirties there were dozens of small shops trying to take away customers.

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    1st 5 images of Catalog 2:
    brown2_001-1.jpgbrown2_001-2.jpgbrown2_001-3.jpgbrown2_001-4.jpgbrown2_001-5.jpg

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    2nd group of 5 images from Catalog 2:
    brown2_001-6.jpgbrown2_001-7.jpgbrown2_001-8.jpgbrown2_001-9.jpgbrown2_001-10.jpg

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    3rd group of 5 images from Catalog 2:
    brown2_001-11.jpgbrown2_001-12.jpgbrown2_001-13.jpgbrown2_001-14.jpgbrown2_001-15.jpg


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