Early Ames Mfg Co Chicopee lathe
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    Default Early Ames Mfg Co Chicopee lathe

    This is a pretty interesting early lathe with a great connection to Ames swords. Tony has a good write up.
    It's funny, CL lathe and Tony's both have broken carriage hand wheels.


    CL ad text: Pictures below.
    "Very old Ames Lathe, civil war era. Make me an offer"
    CL link:
    Ames MFG co. Lathe - antiques - by owner - collectibles sale

    Tony's link:
    Ames of Chicopee Lathe
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ames-manf-lathe-1.jpg   ames-manf-lathe-2.jpg   ames-manf-lathe-3.jpg   ames-manf-lathe-4.jpg  

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    I think those three Ames lathes are the only examples I have seen with the maker name hand engraved into the tailstock. With that gun-making connection, it would be a natural for the Precision Museum collection, but they say they do not want any more artifacts for their collection.

    One type of watch lathe had the name in script on the front of the bed, but I am pretty sure it was stamped.

    Larry

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    The engraving on all three lathes is very different with the CL lathe being very crude compared to the others.
    Would point to being the earliest or the engraver was just out sick that day?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ames-manf-lathe-4.jpg   ames-tonys-22.jpg   tonys-ames1.jpg  
    Last edited by maynah; 12-14-2019 at 09:14 PM.

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    Both of mine (The first one at Tony's site which I purchased from a NJ seller in 2010 and the second purchased for VERY small money from a "Modern" Machine Interest person in Western MA) have the later block style Ames Script on the tailstock.

    Another seen on Craigslist in Abelene, Kansas also had the "block style" Ames Script





    Tony's site does differentiate between Ames Toolmaker lathes with "helical" gears in the headstock and "straight" gears which he assumes are "later." Also square tailstock quill which he also attributes "earlier."

    I think Ames may have started these lathes pre-Civil War, but possibly made them for a considerable time after.

    Although the market for shop-made tooling (and thus this tradition of lathe making) was possibly dwindling after the 1876 Exhibition and the availability of "store bought" tooling much as we have today.

    Possibly more than we have today?

    This style of lathe and particularly tailstock was not unknown in the era. The "1850 Machine Shop" in the Smithsonian Exhibition (now stored away pending renewal of the US Arts & Industries Building to make it more "socially relevant" no doubt) included a Robbins & Lawrence lathe which was painted green (of course) and which likely came out of the Harwinton, CT Hopkins & Allen Clock Shop that Ed Battison "captured" for the Smith.

    Harwinton Historian





    I later met Ed at the Orange, MA Gas & Steam Engine Show where he had purchased and on a two wheeler ANOTHER Robbins & Lawrence lathe of only slightly smaller stature. IIRC it was a very close copy of the Ames-Chicopee in size and appointments. As is the "Houghton Lathe" of perhaps earlier origin - although this is not certain.



    Joseph Houghton - History | VintageMachinery.org

    Joe in NHAttachment 272495
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 00h0h_5ej4bwfb501_1200x900.jpg   00i0i_g8qf8tjohcd_1200x900.jpg  

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    Joe, I never would have guessed that these Ames lathes are so common. I guess the small size is an important factor, making them easy to drag home and put in the living room.

    So how big are they? Tony said the swing is 7.25 inches and there are concrete blocks behind the CL lathe, but no indication of overall length or weight.

    Larry

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    My NJ lathe was minus the legs (see Tony's pix) and is otherwise as Tony describes it. It is a 43 inch bed. Weight about 150lbs.

    My Western MA lathe HAD the legs (now I have a model to have more cast) and is 48" bed. The lathes are "near identical," although the condition of the shorter one is a bit better. The longer a little heavier as befits the length.

    Curious is that both lathes appear to be Morse Taper No. 1 in the tailstock/headstock - which to my thought puts them POST Civil War. Another respondent to the board disagreed and considered they (both?) had been modified. An earlier lathe probably would not be made this way, although it might be modified. Absence of Morse Taper might be a point of price negotiation on the Dartmouth, MA Lathe. (Non-morse taper ARE harder to use - ask me about Barnes No. 5 lathes!)

    Of the extant Ames Toolmaker lathes probably Hit&Miss of this board has the most complete Ames Toolmaker lathe including the unusual steady rest, follow rest and other original appointments. He scanned, sent to me, and I have transcribed and figured out the thread/gear options for this lathe (need a HP32S program to figure gear trains for this? I have it.)

    I will leave it to him to give you pix of his "block-letter" lathe (A spoiler here.) Below the thread chart.



    12 gears brings you to a full set. Between 2 lathes I have five original gears. (No repeats) They are 20DP and 1/2 inch width.

    The NJ lathe will be restored as best I can. The Western MA lathe will be kept as I found it. A model for missing parts for the NJ lathe certainly. Meanwhile, it will wait its turn for restoration probably by another hobbyist (this is the "custodial" part of old machinery I guess.)

    Joe in NH
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails index-lathe.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe in NH View Post
    I think Ames may have started these lathes pre-Civil War, but possibly made them for a considerable time after.
    Still shown in the 1872 catalog.

    Rob

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    Just as an aside (and something that someone might check in an 1872 Ames-Chicopee Catalog)

    Before finding the second Ames lathe I sought out replacement legs for the NJ (shorter) Toolmaker lathe. There are several pix online of complete Ames Toolmaker Lathe legs, varying a little but pretty consistent in form/function.

    I do follow Craigslist and I'm not above buying a lathe as "parts" simply to complete a lathe for my own use (as most here probably do likewise.)

    So I watch, and compare, and not infrequently see.

    Like the following woodworking lathe I saw for sale on Cape Cod.



    Note the legs are the same pattern? Yes the bed is connected "differently" - but who knows what lurks within the connection.

    I've seen this lathe pattern a couple of times from different sellers. It may well be one of Ames-Chicopee's other productions. So far nothing on Craigslist or anywhere else on the 'net reveals the manufacturer.

    Just a curious aside. My leg needs are "half-met" as we speak.

    Joe in NH
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails wood-lathe-same-legs.jpg  

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    I will try and grab some pictures of my lathe and the accessories this evening .. I have to lay thanks to maltesehunter for giving me the heads up on My Ames lathe when it came available. My Ames is very complete and in very nice condition... the gentleman I purchased it from claims it came from the Waltham Watch Company.

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    I have wanted to do a study on the various styles of writing that Ames used in marking its machines. There seems to be a good start on that here. I wonder if it followed an evolution that might be useful in dating the machines or if it depended more on the individuals that were doing the engraving. Here is a not-so-great picture of the beautiful script engraved on the ram of my Ames combination drill and slotter that I believe to be from the early 1870s.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ames-slotter-script.jpg  
    Last edited by esbutler; 12-14-2019 at 09:34 PM. Reason: rotate picture

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    Dennis Turk, here in Oregon, was nearing completion of his Ames nearly a year ago.img_2243.jpgimg_2245.jpgimg_2243.jpg

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