Lathe & Watchmakers' Tools Catalogue
Surprisingly common - well, two turned up within a month of each other during 2009 and a third in 2012 - this G.Boley watchmakers' lathe of a design introduced in the 1890s, is believed to have been made in versions to take both 6.5 and 8 mm collets. Stamped with the insignia "Patent G.Leinen", the bed had a semi-circular base but a triangulated "bevelled" top section, this locating the headstock, slide rest and tailstock. Advertised alongside the contemporary and already very successful WW (Webster Whitcombe) and "Geneva" versions by Boley, it was not a design that caught on and would vanish from later Boley publicity material. However, it must have excited some interest, for the lathe has also been found in badge-engineered form with one example confirmed as the Rawco and the other as the "Telco", the latter by Bannister Bros. of Hockley Hill in Birmingham. At least two others are believed to have been made (or re-branded) in Europe, but details are uncertain. It's likely that the British-made Telco was produced during WW1 when, obviously, supplies of German-made equipment were unavailable - indeed, another example of the lathe has been found marked "T. C. & M. Co. Ld.London" (with what may have been a serial number, "210") and another (showing what the initials stand for) stamped Telegraph Construction & Maintenance Co. Ltd. and marked with that give-away symbol of Government ownership, a broad, vertical arrow. Although the Telco was almost identical to the Boley, there are reported to be several as-yet un-catalogued, minor modifications. One example of the lathe has been found equipped with a beautifully made dividing head which, though not of the horological pattern, was perhaps intended for the engraving of radial lines on the faces of mechanical instruments. The overall length including the headstock draw-bar thumb wheel was 320 mm, the bed length 273 mm, the centre height 42 mm (with a second bed, equipped with a gap able to take work 144 mm in diameter) and the capacity between centres approximately 156 mm. The spindle accepted standard G.Boley 6.5 mm collets and all threads - with the exception of those on the various clamps (holding parts to the bed) and the tool post - were a mixture of fine and coarse metric. Oddly, the clamp screws appear to have been either 10 x 24 UNC or 3/16" x 24 t.p.i. Whitworth.
Like the Boley (and many other lathes of this type) the Telco had the face of its largest headstock pulley drilled with 4 rings of holes, a spring-loaded indent arm allowing the spindle to be indexed through a large number of divisions.
Interestingly, the headstock and tailstock on the G.Boley "Bevelled-bed" lathe are both offset slightly from the bed centre line by the same amount. One intended advantage of this arrangement might have been to allow a pivot burnishing fixture to become a more easily-used device if the offset could be obtained by simply reversing the tailstock on the bed.
If any reader has an example of the lathe below, or a similar type re-branded, the writer would be interested to hear from you. Continued on Page 2, Page 3 (Telco) and Page 4 (T.C. & M)