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Bembi LC50 and LC105 Lathes
Si vous avez un tour Bembi ou des publications ce sujet,
veuillez contacter Tony Griffiths. Je vous remercie.


Unknown outside their native France, the Bembi Company made a range of backgeared and screwcutting lathes, some with twin-bar beds and others of more conventional design with their beds in cast iron. Every Bembi so far discovered has exhibited what might be called typical French "Citroenesq" design features i.e. some styling elements winning out over substance but, perhaps at the same time, as with the cars, clever original thinking leading to some real-life improvements in performance. The company's location, given as 9 Rue Labie, Paris - on a site now redeveloped - is near the centre of the city and probably just an accommodation address.
Bembi LC50
Almost certainly the smallest of Bembi range was the little LC50, a sturdily-built little lathe that was almost certainly offered in a basic, plain-turning form bereft of a slow-speed backgear and screwcutting. However, rather like the similar-sized Sheffield-made Faircut Junior, screwcutting would have been offered an extra, though possibly not backgear, the enclosed design of the headstock making this highly unlikely.
Flange-mounted against the back of the headstock was a simple but effective countershaft unit, the section carrying the 3-step pulley being held within an eccentric mount that allowed the belt to be slackened for changes of speed. Economically constructed, the headstock spindle was driven by an overhung pulley, a method that was to become, on less expensive machines, increasingly popular from the 1950s onwards
Fitted with a handy T-slotted cross slide, it appears that a swivelling top slide was an extra, as was a fixed steady and extra changewheels.
Of a most distinctive "streamlined" appearance - the design appears to have been shared with other Bembi lathes - the tailstock would have had a No. Morse taper spindle. Sadly, this was locked not by a proper compression fitting clamping around the barrel, but a crude, direct-acting screw.
While aimed at the amateur market, the Bembi LC50 was not especially cheap, being listed at around 600 French francs in the early 1960s an amount, today (2019) equal to around 850.
Bembi LC105
A quite different Bembi - perhaps more common than the LC50 if today's advertisements are any guide - was the LC105, a backgeared and screwcutting lathe of robust-looking proportions. From its appearance - and model number - centre height would have been 105 mm (4 inches) with a capacity between centres of perhaps 500 mm (20 inches). Cast as-one with the headstock, the bed was formed with a small, permanent gap and used two widely-spaced, flat-topped ways with, as employed on Series 7 Myford lathes, narrow vertical guides for the carriage.
Screwcutting was by a dual metric and English Whitworth gearbox, with a separate power shaft used to drive the sliding and surfacing feeds - both selection and engagement of these being by a single lever on the face of the massively-built apron.
Of the full-length type that fully shielded its feed screw, the cross slide was fitted with a good-sized micrometer dial and a "semi-cranked" handle of unusual design tipped, like most of the other levers on the lathe, with a red plastic knob in the shape of an acorn. The top slide used a rather old-fashioned handle, two short bar stubs exactly as used on the Drummond M-type from 1930 to the early 1950s.
Probably driven by a 2-speed motor, the eighteen spindle speeds spanned an impressive 64 to 2800 r.p.m. - though for the moment, details of how the drive was arranged is unknown.
Has any lathe ever been fitted, before since or since, with such an odd tailstock? Held to the bed, not by its full length, but just two short sections in the middle, it also had a long extension to its outer end formed into what appears to have been a small anvil. Can that have been the designer's intention? Had he spent a night in the local hostelry imbibing quantities of under-the-counter Absinthe - leaving him semi-comatose over his drawing board the next day?
Si vous avez un tour Bembi ou des publications ce sujet, veuillez contacter Tony Griffiths. Je vous remercie.



A quite different Bembi - perhaps more common than the LC50 if today's advertisements are any guide - was the LC105, a backgeared and screwcutting lathe of robust-looking proportions. From its appearance - and model number - centre height would have been 105 mm (4 inches) with a capacity between centres of perhaps 500 mm (20 inches). Cast as-one with the headstock, the bed was formed with a small, permanent gap and used two widely-spaced, flat-topped ways with, as employed on Series 7 Myford lathes, narrow vertical guides for the carriage.

The very distinctive
Bembi fixed steady