Notable as the world's first lathe with an integrated all-V-belt drive system, the Atlas manufactured but Craftsman-badged 9-inch "compound-drive" has also been discovered as the "Metalcraft " and "Metalmaster". A U.S. patent, number 1909522, was granted on May 16th 1933 to one Mr. James G. Collins - but assigned to the Atlas Press Company of which, presumably, he was an employee. Sold through the Sears mail-order company, both lathes had straight-sided box-type bed feet identical to those shown in the patent drawings - and quite different to the splayed feet on the examples used in the first Atlas catalogue. If any reader has details of how these machines were marketed - especially the "Metalcraft" for which separate catalogs and advertisements must have been prepared - the writer would be very interested to hear from you..
A remarkably fine and original early Atlas 9-inch Atlas--only the ball on the belt-tensioning lever appears to have been modified
A tailstock-end view showing the very light leadscrew bearing-support bracket. So fragile was this component that it often snapped off - in a usefully sacrificial way - when the carriage was accidentally run into the chuck or tailstock
On its introduction in 1932 the lathe caused a sensation - instead of flat-belt drive from a clumsy wall-or ceiling mounted countershaft and motor, here was the world's first with a neat, built-on countershaft unit and all-V-belt drive - a basic arrangement much copied since and still in use today
Simple but effect screw-down grease caps lubricated the countershaft bearings
Semi-circular finger grip ring to engage the high/low pulley drive setting
Be responsible for your own safety: changewheel guarding was perfunctory - and non-existent over the belts
The complete cross slide was in ZAMAX - and the cast-in degree marks for the top-slide swivel can just be made out
Micrometer dials were fitted to both cross and top-slide screws - a rare combination on an inexpensive small lathe in 1932
Typical ZAMAK parts--leadscrew clasp nuts and engagement parts
Leadscrew reversing gearbox comparison: instead of face dogs on the outside of the ZAMAK bevel gears (as on later machines and shown in the gearbox at the top of the picture and the gear in the right of the foreground), this early lathe had a "half-the-circumference" dog cast onto the inside of the bevel gears - with a matching dog on the slider - so giving (because of its single location in/out setting) a "dog-clutch" that could be used to exactly pick up the thread-engagement point when screwcutting. The disadvantage would have been a reluctance to engage quickly - and hence the change to a multi-dog arrangement that was much faster to operate.