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Aero Lathe - France
Discovered in Switzerland in 2012, and about to be rebuilt, this previously unknown lathe was manufactured in Lyon, France. Of absolutely conventional arrangement, and almost certainly dating from the late 1930 into the 1940s, the centre height was about 4-inch (100 mm) and the capacity between centres 18 inches (457 mm). Backgear was fitted (seemingly with a higher than normal reduction ratio) a proper tumble-reverse mechanism incorporated in the changewheel drive and the separate headstock-end bed foot extended rearwards to form a mounting for a heavily-built, flat-belt countershaft unit. The lathe was mounted on the usual type of cast-iron stand with a heavy chip tray joining the two legs
Of English appearance, with its flat top and V-edge ways, the bed was gapless and mounted a carriage whose saddle had its rather short cross slide mounted centrally (so saddle the wings were of equal length) with a top slide able to be rotated through 360°. Both slides were fitted with micrometer dials of a decent size (an unusual luxury on this class of machine) with the cross slide screw's end support tube of sufficient length to allows the slide some extra travel towards the operator
Instead of the cheap single-split headstock bearings found on many small English lathes of the period, the Aero had proper 2-bolt caps, an arrangement that not only promised a longer life but rather easier replacement when worn and, perhaps more important, no risk of splitting the casting when over-tightening.
Unusually for the period, the leadscrew was not a square or Acme thread but an ordinary metric type - though the clasp nuts appear to have been rather more substantial than might be expected.
Another Aero has also been found in the Ho Chi Minh War Museum in Hanoi, Vietnam - a rather damaged example left behind by the French. Pictures are at the bottom of the page.
If you have an Aero lathe, the writer would be interested to hear from you