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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 types appear to date from the early 1920s and were of around 8-inch swing and able to take 24 inches between centres. Two models have been identified, both with the same headstock, carriage and tailstock but with different bed castings and countershafts. Flat-topped with V-edges (probably with a 60° angle), both beds 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 would 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.
What must be the earlier of the two lathes discovered was driven by what, at first, appears to be a simple home-made countershaft using a single tubular or bar support. However, a 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 is a proper factory-made job. 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. The second lathe was fitted with a more conventional arrangement with the short, final-drive flat belt running from a countershaft immediately behind the headstock. Like the South Bend 9-inch "Workshop" lathe the initial drive from motor to countershaft was by a V-belt from a V-pulley on the motor to a flat pulley on the countershaft. However, as the countershaft flat pulley is rather small in diameter (and needs to be much larger for an effective drive), it is doubtful whether this was an original arrangement. 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.