Famous for their range of gear-hobbing machines, the Rockford, Illinois-based Barber-Colman Company also manufactured limited numbers of a small range of very high quality, heavily-built lathes. Their connection with lathes began in 1952 when Frederick W. Richmond (a corporate raider) obtained control of the Hendey stock. His claimed intention was to help the company by an infusion of cash to improve its position in the market place. However, he did just the opposite, selling off the product lines, the buildings, the land and any other assets. The Barber Colman Company, of Rockford, Ill. bought the Hendey line of lathes and shapers. While accepted wisdom is that this took place at the beginning of 1955, evidence has come to light that BC may have had an interest in the 2E lathes as early as the end of 1953. On the 2nd. February, 1955, a meeting was held at Barber-Coleman to determine how a new serial number system could be set up and which models would be kept in production. It was decided that lathe serial numbers would began at 40,001 (and shaper at 4001) with the models chosen to remain in production (and their designations) being: 9" Tool and Gauge Makers lathe (aHL); #2 General Purpose lathe (bHL); 12" geared head lathe (12cHL); 14" geared head lathe (14cHL); 16" geared-head lathe (16cHL) with 8 speeds; 12" Shaper (aHK) and the 16"-20" Shaper (bHK). Serial numbers would indicate just the number produced in each group, not the total number made - whilst Hendey serial numbers had always represented the total production of a particular machine type, regardless of the various sizes. In 1956, Barber Colman decided to develop a line of lathes of their design and these were subsequently introduced over a two year period. The models, with factor type symbols, were:
2013 and 2516 (DHL) Geared-head Lathe
1307 x 24 (HHL) Toolroom lathe
1610 T (GHL) Toolroom lathe
1610 (THL) Facing, turning and boring lathe.
When introduced, the DHL series had 32 spindle speeds, increased after a year to 36 - with the HHL, GHL and THL all having variable-speed drive. Although production of complete machines ceased in 1962, parts continued to be manufactured 1978. The numbers of these late models produced from 1955 to 1962. was limited, never reaching three figures, and being:
AHL = 82
BHL = 102
12CHL = 49
14CHL = 24
16CHL = 20
AHK = 30
BHK = 12
DHL = 58
GHL = 49
HHL = 26
THL = 20.
Production having started, concentrated of effort appears to have focused on four models that were listed in the sales literature as: the 1610 production; three toolroom-class machines, the 1610T, 2013T and 2516T toolroom - and a super-precision lathe, the 1307T.
Barber-Colman 1610 and 1610T
Given a model number reflecting the nominal swing over the bed - 16.5 inches - and the swing over the cross slide - 10.25 - the 1610 was also manufactured with its swing increased to 20 inches. The lathe had a capacity between centres of 30 inches and could be had as a standard model, intended for production turning and facing work, or to a proper toolroom specification with screwcutting. The former model, to aid repetition working on length turning was fitted as standard with a carriage stop of the multi-head, rotating type.
Running on high-precision taper roller bearings (with automatic thermal compensation to maintain a constant bearing load) the 1.5-inch bore headstock spindle was offered with the option of either a D1-6" Camlock or an American long-nose taper in a size L1. Both types were driven by a 6.5 h.p. motor that provided, by electronic control, an infinitely-variable speed range that spanned, on the 1610, 50 to 1500 r.p.m. (optionally, 65 to 2000 r.p.m.) and on the 1610T from 11 to 1500 r.p.m. or, again optionally, 15 to 2000 r.p.m. Power sliding and surfacing feeds were also infinitely variable, with feed rates on the standard model varying from a slow of 0.0001" to a fast of 0.488" - and on the toolroom version from 0.00277" to 0.1666". Selection of the feed rate - it was identical for both sliding and surfacing - was by the simple means of turning a dial on the face of the headstock. The 1610T was equipped with a totally-enclosed, sump-lubricated, quick-change gearbox that gave 48 changes of feed and 48 threads from 1.5 to 92 t.p.i.
Occupying a floor space of 103.5" x 43 " when equipped with the optional hydraulic tracer equipment) the lathe weighed approximately 4125 lbs.
Barber-Colman 2013T and 2516T
Varying only in their capacity - a swing of 21 inches (13" over the cross slide) for the 2013T and 25 inches (16" over the cross slide) for the 2516T - both lathes were of identical mechanical construction and intended for serious, commercial work. In addition to a massive bed of great depth and width, the general specification was impressive. No fewer that 36 spindle speeds were available that could be ordered on a new machine as 9 to 1000 r.p.m; 13 to 1500 r.p.m or 18 to 2000 r.p.m on the 2013T - and with a choice between the two slower ranges on the 2516T. A choice of motors was also offered, the customer being able to select either a 10 or 15 h.p. unit for general work, or 20 h.p. if the lathe was going to tackle work of the heaviest kind. The headstock was very robust, with the 2-inch bore spindle running in high-class, super-precision bearings and fitted with either a D1-6" Camlock or L1 taper nose to the customer's choice. Simple rotary controls on the face of the headstock were used to select the spindle speeds and automatic pressure lubrication was provided for the hardened and ground gears. Completely enclosed against the ingress of dirt and chippings, the screwcutting and feeds gearbox offered 66 pitches (from 2 to 120 t.p.i.) and 66 feeds (0.0015" to 0.091") - the latter able to be disengaged on the longitudinal feed by automatic, pre-set micrometer-equipped stops.
To assist with screwcutting a built-in thread-dial indicator was standard and the hardened and ground cross-feed screw was equipped with a ball-type thread-chasing stop. In anticipation of much production work involving threads, the leadscrew clasp nuts were fed automatically with a supply of oil. Occupying a floor space of 103.5" x 43 " when fitted with the optional hydraulic tracer equipment) the 2013T the weighed approximately 4125 lbs and the 2516T 9000 lbs and an area 129" x 52".
Barber Colman 1307T
A very modern-looking lathe with crisp, angular styling, the 1307T was described by the makers as being intended for super-precision machining. With a swing of 13 inches, a clearance over the cross slide of 7 inches and admitting 30 inches between centres, the 1307T was fitted with an infinitely-variable drive (powered by a 2-speed 4/5 h.p. motor controlled by a static silicon rectifier) that gave a most useful spread of revolutions - 4 to 3000 r.p.m. However, with a large chuck mounted on the end of the 1.5-inch bore, D1-4" spindle nose, the operator would have been cautioned against running at top speed, 3000 r.p.m. being reserved for chucks of 6-inch diameter, or less. The rest of the specification was similar to that of the 2013T: a screwcutting and feeds gearbox offering 66 pitches from 2 to 120 t.p.i. and feeds from 0.001" to 0.120", automatic micrometer stops on the longitudinal feed, a hardened and ground cross-feed screw and automatic lubrication of the leadscrew half-nuts.
Occupying a floor space of 70" x 38" when fitted with the optional hydraulic tracer equipment) the lathe weighed approximately 3200 lbs..