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Allen Electric & Equipment Lathe

Identical to the "Acme Power Equipment" lathe, the Allen Electric & Equipment Company of Kalamazoo were known for their automobile testing equipment, but nothing has yet been gleaned about their lathes. The only surviving type appears to date from the early 1920s and was of around 8-inch swing and able to take 24 inches between centres. Flat topped with V-edges (probably with a 60 angle) the bed had a central slot with vertical slides used to guide the set-over tailstock. Running in simple plain bearings, secured by 2-bolts caps, the spindle carried a 3-step cone pulley for drive by a flat belt. No backgear was fitted but a leadscrew drive was, this appearing to be connected to the spindle by a compact, double worm-and-wheel gear system carried in a cylindrical casting held on a length of leadscrew protruding beyond the headstock-end hanger bracket (exactly the same idea being employed on some versions of the English Flexispeed lathe of the 1940s and early 1950s). With a worm gear at the top and another at the bottom the speed reduction obtained have given the leadscrew a reasonably slow, if not ultra slow, rate of feed. As the apron carried a full nut around the leadscrew some means of disconnecting the feed drive was required - and it might be that a castellated handwheel, at the headstock end of the leadscrew, was used to either slacken the boss holding the gearing and allow it to be swung out of the way (hardly an instant way of stopping the drive) or to operate, by sliding, a dog clutch built into the support bracket. However, immediately below the headstock the leadscrew ran through two bearing - and it would have been usual, on a lathe of this type, for a dog clutch to have been positioned there.
Equipped with long wings to the right of the non-swivelling single tool slide the saddle was unusual in having the apron secured by horizontal instead of vertical screws. The lack of a proper compound slide rest had two consequences: the cross slide had to be built up in order to get the single cutting tool to centre height and the cross-feed screw was caused to run above the cross slide ways, being supported in a bracket that appears to have been formed as part of the saddle casting.
Driven by what appears at first glance to be a simple home-made countershaft using a single tubular or bar support, a system closer examination reveals that its appearance (and the shape of the boss supporting the top bearing bracket) mirrors that of the leadscrew drive-gear housing and so could be factory-made. With a single central bearing holding a shaft with the driven pulley at one side and the drive at the other, this was a good example of economical if rather prosaic engineering. If any reader has another machine, or paperwork concerning by the Allen or Acme Electric & Equipment Company, the writer would be interested to hear from you.

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Allen Electric & Equipment Lathe